PETA's D' Wonder Twins of Boac

Shakespeare's Twelfth Night on a 1967 Philippine setting is brought to life on an arena stage by PETA.

"D' Wonder Twins of Boac" is a Philippine Educational Theater Association (PETA) production wherein once again we are treated with a unique experience of theater as we continue to understand that there is indeed no bigger screen than the stage.  Maribel Legarda, the director, defied all boundaries by giving life to this production on an arena set-up.  Yes, we marvelled in this story in all angles!

"D' Wonder Twins of Boac," written by Rody Vera, is set during the late 1960's surrounded by the then glitz and glamour of Philippine Cinema and as the glitters start to fade, the story starts to glimmer and ends on a light we can only decide what.  This is a "Twelfth Night" adaptation that we should all experience.  It reminds us of the glory of the past and hopefully gives us something to think about as we face the future.

"Twelfth Night" is close to my heart since this was the play assigned to us during my Stella Adler class back in 2011.  Thus, I know the story and irks and quirks of the lines, just how Shakespeare played with words on this one.  It's amazing how Vera managed to keep them but is still apt in the new setting he conjured.

I studied the role of Viola back then, thus, I was more than curious to see how Cris Villonco, who is almost always playing the role of the most feminine lead character of the production, will bring a girl-pretending-to-be-a-boy to life.  And I think she nailed it.  She was able to bring out the correct amount of masculinity and we can see the struggle of being herself (Viola) and being Cesar at the same time.

As I write this, I have already seen this production twice: during the Press Night last January 31 and with friends last February 16, 10:00 AM show.  Not much difference in the set of cast, though.  Although, I realized how difficult it is to absorb a play while taking pictures.  That's why it's always ideal to see it before taking them.  Also, that's why I was hesitant in doing this write-up before seeing it again without a camera on hand.  So, most, if not all, of what I write now is based on the February 16 show.

I fell in love with three members of the cast:

Riki Benedicto played the role of Antonio and he was the perfect blend of Antonio that the role required.  He is the main reason why my favorite song number was "Awit ng Mga Stuntman."

Gie Onida was very natural.  It was like he is Toma in real life.  He did not overdo the drunkenness of the character.  He was able to define the line of intoxication and sense.

Malvolio is my favorite character in Twelfth Night.  That's why I did not miss seing "I, Malvolio" last year.  Gino Ramirez was amazing!  He embodied what made me fell in love with Malvolio in the first place.  He was able to play Malvolio right, that his last words would have that effect on you as much as Shakespeare would want it.

Shamaine Buencamino was superb beyond expectation.  Chrome Cosio has the best reactions.  Lex Marcos was as usual.  This is the best I've seen of Eric dela Cruz.  Roi Calilong, Pat Liwanag and those who played Juvy were okay.  And Philip Lazaro did well as a first timer.

And some may say I'm saying this because we're friends, but Kiki Baento was fabulous in this production.  Well, I do love the role of Maria too and she was able to stage it fabulously.

It really is a challenge to act on an arena stage.  You would need to make every inch of you act.  Yes, even your behind.  That's why I applaud the direction and the whole cast for making every inch of the theater, experience this wonderful story.  I was able to see it at the VIP area the first time (where I took the pictures) and saw it again on the opposite side (where the stage usually is), and I would recommend either side, well, all sides would be good actually.  Although, you need to enter the leftmost door to the theater if you want to be seated on where the stage usually is.

The live band was the cherry on top of this delectable dose of art.  Sitting beside the band made us appreciate the singing more despite the proximity.  The voices were not drowned by the live music.  It was a perfect blend for me.

One of the things I loved about this production is the ending.  Don't worry, I won't spoil it for everyone, because I want this to be something you experience on your own.  This is where Rody Vera steps away from Shakespeare's Twelfth Night.  And you will look at this production on a totally new light.

As February 2013 slips away, don't let it end without celebrating the National Arts Month.  And the best way is to go inside the theater and experience the wonderful world of Philippine Theater.  D' Wonder Twins of Boac is something you should not miss!

Click this link to get your tickets now!

Remaining shows:
Feb 24, 10AM and 3PM;
March 1, 3PM and 8PM;
March 2, 3PM and 8PM and
March 3, 10AM and 3PM.

More photos here.

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The Jagged Barn

Your oblivious but observing blogger.

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