Manila, Philippines, July 12, 2012 – Imported Broadway shows do not enjoy the luxury of having long previews with test audiences. The Asian touring production of Yasmina Reza's 2009 Tony Award-winning play, "God of Carnage," a case in point, starring Tony winner Lea Salonga, which premieres in Manila this weekend, and tours Singapore in November, is no exception.
Atlantis Productions and Singapore Repertory Theatre open the doors of the Carlos P. Romulo Theater at RCBC Plaza in Makati City to "God of Carnage's" first and only set of preview audiences tonight, July 12 (July 11 in the United States). The play, which also stars Singaporean actor Adrian Pang, Philippine theater's favorite leading lady Menchu Lauchengco-Yulo, and multi-award winning theater, television, and film actor Art Acuña, officially opens in Manila on Friday, July 13, and runs until Sunday, July 22.
In Salonga's weekly newspaper column, titled "Backstory," in the Philippine Daily Inquirer today, she has shared her enthusiasm over her impending return to doing straight plays after her first starring role in a non-musical production via David Auburn's "Proof," which premiered in Manila 11 years ago, also produced by Altantis Productions.
"Tonight will be the only preview we'll have, our first crack at performing this piece in front of an audience. Until tonight, we've rehearsed the show in front of the production staff and a handful of colleagues whose feedback has been nothing short of invaluable.
But still, wonderful though it has been hearing them react and respond, it's not a full audience. None of us four in the cast (Menchu, Adrian, and Art) has any idea how a line reading will go in front of 450 or so people.
We don't know when to hold for a laugh if one comes, or for how long. This is one element that will, with every performance, change the way we do whatever it is that we'll be doing onstage. In every show, there will be an element of the unknown," Salonga wrote.
She added, "We know that script backwards and forwards … we've run through the whole play at least 10 times, its internal rhythms and tempos changing with each go (Bobby Garcia, our director, called one of the runs 'Kafkaesque,' coinciding with a particularly dark and dreary afternoon).
We've figured out just about everything, individually or collectively. We've discussed, argued, tried things, thrown things out, laughed, cried, given dirty looks and uttered dirtier words. But, until tonight, only with one another. Now, it's time to get the crowd in and see what happens.
Yup, my seatbelt is securely fastened. We're ready. Let the war games really begin."
Read Salonga's column HERE.
Directed by Garcia, featuring set design by Lawyn Cruz and lighting design by James Tan, "'God of Carnage' is a comedy of manners, without the manners: the play begins as two middle-income couples (Salonga and Pang, Yulo and Acuña) meet to amicably resolve a playground squabble between their kids. Lines are drawn, allegiances are made and broken, and the evening quickly turns into a laugh-out-loud train wreck – served up with clafouti, espresso, and a bottle of rum," so says the production notes.
For tickets to "God of Carnage," call Atlantis Productions at (632) 892-7078. The show on Saturday, July 14 at 8 p.m. is sold out.
Immediately after the Manila leg of "God of Carnage," Salonga will fly to San Diego, California to begin rehearsals for the Broadway-bound musical "Allegiance," which also stars George Takei ("Star Trek," "Celebrity Apprentice") and Telly Leung ("Godspell," "Rent"). "Allegiance," which tackles about Japanese-American internment during World War II, plays at Old Globe Theatre in San Diego from Friday, September 7 to Sunday, October 21.