PETA marks 50th year in 2017

Amadís Ma. Guerrero - The Philippine Star
PETA marks 50th year in 2017
Philippine Educational Theater Association president CB Garrucho

MANILA, Philippines – The ground-breaking Philippine Educational Theater Association (PETA) was founded by Cecile Guidote in 1967, the result of her vision of a National Theater as crafted in a 500-page tome while she was a Fulbright scholar in the US, where she underwent extensive training in acting, directing and other aspects of theater arts.

The first productions of PETA at the Rajah Sulayman Theater in Intramuros, Manila — Bayaning Huwad (Straw Patriot) by Virginia Moreno and Larawan (A Portrait of the Filipino as Artist) by Nick Joaquin — were remarkable successes, starring name stars like Lolita Rodriguez, Rita Gomez and Vic Silayan.

But martial law was imposed in 1972. Constitutional Convention delegate Heherson “Sonny” Alvarez, Cecile’s fiancé and husband-to-be; Secretary Juan Ponce Enrile and Cecile had to slip out of the country, aided by Fr. James Reuter and Alejandro Roces.

Lino Brocka took over PETA, giving it new directions and shaping it according to his own vision and perspectives.

And lo and behold, Grand Old PETA ([email protected]) is now (like Repertory Philippines) 50 years old and will celebrate its golden anniversary with a flurry of year-round activities and performances in 2017. This was announced in a press conference at the PETA Theater in Quezon City, presided over by PETA president CB Garrucho and resident director Maribel Legarda.

For starters, the monster hit Care Divas by Liza Magtoto and Vincent de Jesus will be brought back (Feb. 3 to March 19). It will be followed by the Manila Improv Festival (March 22 to 26); shadowy puppetry production (May 3 to 7); Rites at the Fort and PETA in Concert (April 7, Founding Day); Express Workshop (April 27 to May28); and a new children’s production, Tagu-Taguan, Maliwanag ang Buwan (Aug, 24 to Sept. 24)

From Oct 6 to 22 comes a Festival of Windows, followed by Ang Buhay ni Galileo (Nov. 9 to 26); Living Voices (Nov. 29 to Dec. 1); A Game of Trolls, about martial law, which will tour year-round; and finally a Grand Alumni Homecoming on Dec. 10.

During the press launch, the PETA Choir led by Jeff Hernandez performed songs from PETA musicals. There were excerpts from Tagu-Taguan… and Galileo, capped by a rousing dance number by a gaggle of transgender care divas.

Paul Holme reprised his role as a loveable but uncooperative Jewish patient while Jef Flores, fetchingly clad only in a tower, took over the show-stopping role made famous by Myke Salomon. Red Concepcion, a macho sailor in South Pacific, morphed into a sexy care diva dancing up a storm.

And Leo Rial was hilarious mimicking (with voiceover) a cranky old Pinay mother nagging her care diva daughter.

“Now is the time to pass on the torch to a new generation of young leaders, artists and cultural workers,” CB declared. “For the next 50 years. PETA will keep its feet on the ground.”

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