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Tanghalang Pilipino's 36th season final offering is Guelan Varela-Luarca's 'Nekropolis' |

Arts and Culture

Tanghalang Pilipino's 36th season final offering is Guelan Varela-Luarca's 'Nekropolis'

Dolly Dy-Zulueta -
Tanghalang Pilipino's 36th season final offering is Guelan Varela-Luarca's 'Nekropolis'
Playwright Guelan Varela-Luarca
Photo release

MANILA, Philippines — Tanghalang Pilipino is ending its 36th season this month, and its final offering for this season is New York-based, acclaimed playwright-director-actor Guelan Varela-Luarca’s “Nekropolis.”

Directed by artist-educator Charles Yee, “Nekropolis” ran from April 20 to 23, at the Black Box Theater of the Cultural Center of the Philippines (CCP), with new playdates on the pipeline.

Its storyline: In a city where people slumber through the sound of gunshots and screens flicker with one breaking news after another, ten characters try to survive and make sense of their lives. Amid the chaos, they try to numb their senses with drugs, with sex, with God. This city seems to be oh-so-familiar, so close to home, so like our own.

Varela-Luarca, the playwright who breathed “Nekropolis” to life, is known for Palanca-winning plays such as “Mga Kuneho” and “Bait” that debuted in the annual Virgin Labfest at the CCP. He calls “Nekropolis” his departure from dystopian themes but, at its core, this new play is a love letter to his home country.

Antonette Go-Yadao as Inara

In the playwright’s note, he said that “Nekropolis” is a product of dulambayanihan, which is a coined term for dula (meaning play) and bayanihan (the cherished Filipino spirit of communal unity and shared responsibility). It is the result of collaboration and improvisation sessions involving Varela-Luarca, its director Yee, stage manager Soc Amon, and the Tanghalang Pilipino Actors Company.

An artist-educator, Yee recently completed an MFA in Directing at the California Institute of the Arts (CalArts) as a Fulbright Scholar and an Asian Cultural Council Grantee. “Fangirl,” “Ang Sugilanon ng Kabiguan ni Epifania,” “Chipline” and “Rosas” are among the directorial works he did for the CCP. 

In his directorial note, Yee said that they tried to experiment with finding familiar and unfamiliar nuances, scenes that may be far but not detached from reality. In the end, they found sense and meaning through the safe space that is theater.  

Backed by inspired acting by the TP Actors Company, Yee turned out an engaging production out of the Varela-Luarca masterpiece. Senior members Marco Viaña, Jonathan Tadioan, Lhorvie Nuevo, and Antonette Go-Yadao lead the ensemble, which is composed of TP scholars Mark Lorenz, Vince Macapobre, Mitzi Comia, Arjhay Babon, Heart Puyong, Aggy Mago, Sarah Monay, Edrick Alcontado, and Judie Dimayuga.

Marco Viana as Miggs

Serving as dramaturg (main job is to help the director and the production team make the best out of a play) is Dominique La-Victoria, who is known for her prize-winning plays that were stage in the Virgin Labfest like “Ang Bata sa Drum” and “Chipline.”

Choreographer JM Cabling, production designer Tata Tuviera, lighting designer D Cortezano, projection designer Joyce Garcia and sound designer-engineer Arvy Dimaculangan make up the rest of the artistic team of “Nekropolis.”

For inquiries or reservations, email or call 0956-9409430 or 0929-1087116.

Stay tuned for updates about new playdates!

RELATED: Bea Alonzo to debut as singer, theater actress in 'Ang Larawan' concert

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