Children’s plays by DUP and TP start Nov. 23

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Dulaang UP (DUP) will stage “Umaaraw, Umuulan, Kinakasal ang Tikbalang,” a children’s play based on publisher-painter-theater producer and Inquirer contributing writer Gilda Cordero-Fernando’s children’s short story “The Magic Circle.”

“The Magic Circle” was serialized in the Inquirer’s Learning Section in 2009. Adapted by Rody Vera and directed by José Estrella, “Umaaraw” is about the adventures of a boy named Jepoy Baybayin and his pet dog Galis, as they go on a “magical journey bursting with fantastic characters and strange happenings.”

Jepoy and Galis are invited to a wedding underneath a balete tree in the middle of the dark forest. There they meet the Spanish-speaking dwarf maitre d’ Pacqui; the Tatlong Maria (Makiling, Sinukuan and Cacao); the enormous Doña Geronima with her clean and shiny plates; talking pythons and frogs, tiyanak debutantes, ballroom-dancing aswangs; the four musicians of San Roque; and a woeful kapre named Kap.

“Part of the play’s objectives is to remind audiences of the richness of our folk literature rendered nearly forgotten by foreign popular culture,” says Estrella.

“I had fun adapting the story because it is quirky in itself,” says Vera. “I met with Gilda and we decided to add a situation for Jepoy to experience, to add dimension to his characterization. That situation is lifted from another of her short stories for children. We’re happy with the results.”

Award-winning sculptor Leeroy New does costume design. Visual artist and Anino Shadowplay Collective member Don Salubayba creates shadow puppetry.

Lex Marcos is set designer and lighting designer. TJ Ramos handles music and sound design.

“Umaaraw” runs Nov. 23-Dec. 11 at Teatro Hermogenes Ylagan, University of the Philippines, QC. Contact 0917-7500107 or 9261349.

Pinocchio

Tanghalang Pilipino’s (TP) staging of “D’Emperor,” George de Jesus III’s Tagalog translation and adaptation of Hans Christian Andersen’s “The Emperor’s New Clothes,” originally slated for November, will be moved to Jan. 11-22, 2012.

Director Riki Benedicto says: “Tessa Prieto-Valdes, one of TP’s board members, has been onboard with this production, connecting us with Slims Fashion and Arts School and fashion designers.”

Joey Samson, Martin Bautista and James Reyes will do costume designs.

Meanwhile, TP is restaging “Pinocchio, Gusto Mo Bang Maging Tao?”

First staged in 2002, this children’s play is about the magical adventures of a wooden puppet whose quest to become a real boy leads him to learn about life, love and honesty.

This adaptation by George de Jesus of the well-loved classic tale of Carlo Collodi features Tanghalang Pilipino’s Actors Company, TP’s resident pool of actors.

“Through a fun-filled interactive staging, the production also tackles environmental awareness and addresses the urgent need to teach our children to be active participants in environmental protection,” says artistic director Fernando “Nanding” Josef.

With music by Nonong Buencamino; costume design by George de Jesus III; set design by Mel Fernando; and lighting design by Haia Castro.

“Pinocchio” runs until December at Tanghalang Aurelio Tolentino, Cultural Center of the Philippines. Shows are available for booking. Contact 8323661, 0908-8941384 and 0928-2754747.

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