The REP turns ‘gold’

Amadís Ma. Guerrero - The Philippine Star

MANILA, Philippines - In 1967, Repertory Philippines (REP) was founded by (the late) Zeneida Amador and Carmen Barredo, known respectively as Bibot and Baby to all and sundry. The first play was Strindberg’s tragedy Miss Julie, in which the woman kills herself for love of a butler. The story — which has since attained the status of a legend — is that there were more people on stage than in the audience.

Bibot, Baby and their colleagues persevered, however. And that year they presented a comedy, Luv; a classic, Antigone; a classic comedy, The Importance of Being Earnest; and a hit play, Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?, which became a film which starred Richard Burton and Elizabeth Taylor.

The REP trained so many young and promising talents who became big names in theater today. To name a few, Audie Gemora, Michael Williams, Menchu Lauchengco-Yulo, Miguel Faustmann, Jaime del Mundo, Bart Guingona, Lea Salonga, Monique Wilson, Jamie Wilson, Jeremy Domingo, Liesl Batucan and Ana Abad Santos.

These have left the REP for one reason or another but can be relied on, if they have the time, to return to their alma mater and appear in or direct a play.

Their first home was at the Insular Life Auditorium, Ayala Avenue, Makati, which once was struck by fire during a performance and cast, crew and audience had to dash through the fire escape for dear life. Then the company transferred to the Shangri-La Theater in Mandaluyong, which was unfortunately demolished.

Now the REP has found what seems to be a permanent home at OnStage, Greenbelt 1, thanks to the Makati City government. Its most successful endeavors — financially, marketing-wise — are the children’s musicals directed by Joy Virata, which attract hordes of young students accompanied by their parents or school supervisors.

For its 50th year, five plays, each special in its own way, will be presented, Vanya & Sonia & Masha & Spike (already staged); Agnes of God (is now playing until March 12; it is the 442nd production of the company); In the Next Room or the Vibrator Play (March to April); Beauty and the Beast (August); and Hair (November).

A laugh-out comedy which was a tribute to the great Russian playwright Anton Chekhov. An intense drama about a young nun accused of strangling her baby. A risqúe play “about orgasms.” A beloved fairy tale. And a famous musical about the dawning of the Age of Aquarius.

The best news of all, however, is that Repertory Philippines will be staging Come Home to Rep! on June 11 at the Solaire Resort. It will feature all the great talents that have passed through the REP stage “singing, dancing and acting at the same time.”

This will be something to look forward to. Kudos to the REP and also, of course, to that other icon in Philippine theater, PETA (which is also celebrating its golden anniversary).

vuukle comment


  • Latest
  • Trending
Are you sure you want to log out?

Philstar.com is one of the most vibrant, opinionated, discerning communities of readers on cyberspace. With your meaningful insights, help shape the stories that can shape the country. Sign up now!

Get Updated:

Signup for the News Round now

or sign in with