It’s been 7 years since the time I was supposed to graduate from the University of the Philippines-Diliman (not too long considering the fact that UP theater students are notorious for that), and it’s safe to say that it also has been 7 years since the last time I’ve set foot on the Wilfredo Ma. Guerrero Theater stage. Two words—-nostalgic and nerve-racking.
After I got married last June to my boyfriend of 9 years and fiancé of 2 years, Marco and I decided that it would be best for us to stay awhile and finally work on my thesis instead of flying back to Houston. I was hesitant partly because I wanted to start working on a routine for us as a newly married couple in Houston, my current comfort zone (get jobs, pay bills, save up for a house and maybe start our own family) and partly because I was anxious and scared as hell to be on stage again. So when the call for auditions came out, I was fretting like crazy but I went through it anyway. I decided to go on the first day of auditions to get it over with and it was strange seeing familiar faces, more or less the same people I’d bump into when I used to audition for plays a few years back. It was nice to see some good ‘ol friends also going through the audition process with me, we were handed a section of the script and we were asked to read some lines. I did my best to act like I wasn’t nervous… I might have failed miserably but I gave it my best shot. If I remember correctly, the number of auditionees reached 40 that day, but they might have cut down that number since Sir Tony had to leave early.
A week after auditions the results came out…I GOT IN!!!! Thank God!
Performance thesis, here I come.
You can only imagine how anxious I felt when I was handed a 162-page script for both the English and Filipino version. Sir Tony announced that he wanted us to learn both languages so we would be equipped to do both…now, that’s twice the challenge but when you’re in a Dulaang UP play under Sir Tony Mabesa, you never say never. The first day I walked in Teatro Hermogenes Ylagan (THY) for rehearsals, the first thing he asked me was…
“Sino Ka?” (Who are you?)
“Rhea, sir. I’m playing Lucy, sir.” I replied.
“O, hahawakan ka sa boobs ha…ok lang?” (Your boobs are going to get groped , is that okay?)
Yep, with Sir Tony you never say never. Thank God he changed his mind!
After that I decided to ask him if I could officially make this my performance thesis for my bachelors degree and he agreed with no hesitation. Before migrating to the US in 2007, I was set to do my performance thesis on a Shakespeare play also directed by Sir Tony but wasn’t able to push through with it because I had to leave right away. I left with a heavy heart thinking that I missed my chance to be mentored by the one and only Tony Mabesa, it’s funny how 7 years after I am back where I left off and I am extremely grateful for that. From what I hear this might be the first and last Restoration Comedy Sir Tony is doing, come to think of it, I made it just in time.
We rehearsed consistently on Tuesdays, Thursdays, Saturdays and Sundays and when one of us would miss rehearsals he/she would bring the cast and the staff something to eat. Boy, did we have a feast all the time. Haha. But rehearsals were not just about pigging out and making new friends, every single one of the cast and the staff gave this production their all. We all worked hard adjusting to the language (or languages for that matter), adjusting our schedules, adjusting to each other, adjusting to changes, adjusting to new lines, new blocking, new set, new rehearsal venue—It’s really amazing how the theater is capable of bringing wonderfully talented people with totally different backgrounds, different eccentricities and different quirks but one passion and that is what we have brought to the stage of the Guerrero Theater.
Here are the sensational actors and actresses that I get to work with in no particular order (unlike the promotional posters and the playbills, haha), the cast of Dulaang UP’s The Country Wife/ Ang Misis Kong Promdi, Directed by the one and only Tony Mabesa and Translation by the multi-awarded playwright Nicholas Pichay.
Sir Tony Mabesa
Sue Prado, Sari Estrada and Martha Comia as Margery Pinchwife
George de Jesus and Tarek El Tayech as Mr. Pinchwife
Neil Ryan Sese and Jay Gonzaga as Mr. Horner
RS Francisco, Shamaine Centenera-Buencamino and Arvin Trinidad as Sparkish
Issa Litton and Karen Gaerlan as Alithea
Ian Ignacio and Carlo Tarobal as Harcourt
Jacques Borlaza and Leo Rialp as Sir Jasper Fidget
Adriana Agcaoili and Dolly de Leon as Lady Fidget
Rizzy Alejandro and Bea Paloma as Dainty Fidget
Chona Fernando, Ron Biñas and Joanna Lerio as Mrs. Squeamish
Francis Mata and Ces Aldaba as Doctor Quack
Brian Arda and Sigmund Pecho as Dorilant
Ms. Aurora Yumul as Old Lady Squeamish
Giancarlo Patelo and Joseph Nabong as the Servant
..and last but not the least Regina Ramas – Mendezona (me!) and Yvonne Ricaro as Lucy.
Dulaang UP’s The Country Wife Rehearsal Clip
—-And now for my shameless plug!!!
Don’t forget to catch me as “Lucy” on these remaining dates:
The Country Wife:
November 22 SAT, 3 pm
November 27 THU, 7 pm
November 29 SAT, 10 am
December 6 SAT, 3 pm
Ang Misis Kong Promdi:
November 20 THU, 7 pm
November 23 SUN, 10 am
November 28 FRI, 7 pm GALA
November 30 SUN, 10 am
December 4 THU, 7 pm
December 6 SAT, 7 pm
December 7 SUN, 10 am
P.S. You might have heard reviews about our play to be a bit raunchy, vulgar or sexually explicit but as Sir Tony Mabesa would say … “The theater should disturb and excite” and that is precisely what we’re doing.
Now, pick a date, buy your tickets and catch us on stage! See you there!