Co-written by Precious Lee Cundangan
Manila, Philippines, February 14, 2012 – Philippine Educational Theater Association (PETA), together with the British Council and the National Commission for Culture and Arts, presents the first-ever Filipino adaptation of William Shakespeare's more renowned tragedy Haring Lear (King Lear) at PETA Theatre Center until Sunday, March 4. National Artist for Literature Bienvenido Lumbera (Noli Me Tangere, Tales of the Manuvu) does the text adaptation and veteran theater director Nonon Padilla (Noli Me Tangere, Pinoy Agonistes), who's known for employing visual flair throughout his stage productions, directs Haring Lear.
A cross between Ancient Greek theater and classical Japanese musical theater called Noh (both theatrical forms feature female roles played by male actors), PETA's Haring Lear, which also uses an all-male cast – with shaved heads except for King Lear (Teroy Guzman) – tells the story of an aging king whose greediness for recognition and love has made him make a rash choice that caused irrevocable, destructive consequences.
Guzman (Screen: Macbeth, Richard III) plays the title role. Abner Delina Jr. (Ang Post Office, Batibot) plays the king's youngest daughter Cordelia and Lakayo (The Fool) while Nor Domingo (Romulus D'Gryat, Pasaporte) and Gary Lim play the king's older daughters.
Haring Lear's supporting cast includes Renante Bustamante (Duke ng Albanya/Duke of Albania), Ernie Cloma (Matandang Lalaki/Old Man), George de Jesus III (Oswaldo/Oswald), Jay Gonzaga (Edmundo /Edmund), Fredyl Hernandez (Duke ng Bergonia/Duke of Burgundy), Jeff Hernandez (Duke of Cornualles/Duke of Cornwall), Angelo Moratilla (Hari ng Francia/King of France), Josel Reyes (the loyal Kent), Myke Salomon (Edgardo/Edgar), and Jack Yabut (Gloster/Gloucester).
Shakespeare wrote the Tragedy of King Lear in 1605. King Lear's most notable productions include Henry Irving's 1892 London production, which featured antiquarian sets and costume pieces; George Devine's 1955 production, which starred John Gielgud, and had sets and costumes made of blocks of contrasting shapes and colors designed by Isamu Nogachu; Peter Brook's 1962 production at Stratford-upon-Avon, which had barely any set pieces; and Mabou Mines' controversial gender-switched 1990 production in Manhattan.
"The story is simple enough but the dramatic organization of the characters and events is rich in layers of meaning and insight. Shakespeare had the supreme ability to show the paradoxes of the human condition and the difficulties in personal dilemmas – from plain physical problems to metaphysical introspections and convolutions that prompt and lead his characters to acts of heroisms and human folly," Padilla says.
PETA's Haring Lear runs every Friday, Saturday, and Sunday until March 4 at PETA Theatre Center. For tickets, contact (632) 7256244, 4100821-22, (63) 917-5765400 or email email@example.com.
Photos by Jeffrey Aguiman