Latest Stories

Ateneo’s ‘Sintang Dalisay’ gets warm reception in Europe


THE CAST with their diploma of participation. Kalil Almonte, Dan Liamco, Brian Sy, Joe-Nel Garcia. Back: Natasha Tañada, Ricky Abad (who doubles as a musician), Jacinda Lopez and Jayson Gildore.

In Faraway Minsk, capital city of Belarus, once part of the unlamented Soviet Union,  director Ricardo Abad was beside himself with excitement.

And he texted friends back home: “Show just finished. Whole house standing ovation for  ‘Sintang Dalisay’ at the Trade Union Palace. Success…! Thank you for your support.”

The event was the International Student Theater Festival, hosted by  Belarusian State University. It was part of the recent World Congress of the International University Theater Association (Iuta), which has a Philippine Center.

The reference was to the musical play Abad had just directed, “Sintang Dalisay” (Pure Love), an awit or metrical romance (“like the best of ‘Florante at Laura’”) which has four lines per stanza with each line having 12 syllables.

With text in Tagalog by National Artist Rolando Tinio, “Sintang Dalisay” is an adaptation of Shakespeare’s “Romeo and Juliet” in a Philippine setting. Abad further transported it into an imaginary Muslim country, fittingly it turned out, for Belarus is a Muslim state.

KALIL Almonte as Rashiddi

Thus, the Capulets of Shakespeare and the Capuletos of Tinio become Kalimuddin in Abad’s version; and the Montagues (Montescos in the Tinio translation) become Mustapha in the new reworking of the beloved classic.

“These are Badjao names,” says Abad.

Juliet is now Jamila (played by Natasha Tañada) and Romeo is Rashaddin (Kalil Almonte). And Friar Laurence becomes an imam!

Brian Sy as the Imam

“It is basically a love poem,” says the director. “We fashioned out a new script. The lines are very different. Rashaddin and Jamila keep talking about their love and problems. In the balcony scene, Rashaddin just gazes longingly at the balcony. But I needed Shakespeare to get a narrative structure. So there are fights, the parents… we cut some characters, like the nurse. But the plot is basically Romeo and Juliet.”

The cast numbered only five, with three actors and two actresses playing a multiplicity of roles.

Music was by Edru Abraham’s Kontra-Gapi, with the director himself (Abad) beating the drum and playing the tambourine. The indigenous sounds went over big with the audience, which represented 32 nations.

The props were right there on the stage, and the performers changed costume in front of everybody.

The Philippine production emerged the second favorite, after Lithuania, and besting France.

THE ATENEO Philippine delegation outside the Trade Union Palace where “Sintang Dalisay” was performed.

“There was high esteem for the show,” Abad says. “And this reflects on the country. They were amazed how we fused music and dance with Shakespeare and modern staging. Many of the productions did not do that.

“There was a lot of buzz about us even before the performance.  Ni-nerbiyos kami [we became nervous]. Mataas ang [high] expectations.”

There were invitations to bring the show to Lithuania, Serbia, Belgium, Canada, Mexico and Edinburgh, Scotland.

And the Russians and Koreans wanted to collaborate with the company on research and performance.

Tanghalang Ateneo will restage “Sintang Dalisay” for its 34th season, until Aug. 19, at the Rizal Mini-Theater, Ateneo de Manila University, Quezon City. Performances are at 7 p.m., Wednesday-Saturday; with 2:30 p.m. matinees for the first two Saturdays.

Follow Us

Follow us on Facebook Follow on Twitter Follow on Twitter

Recent Stories:

Complete stories on our Digital Edition newsstand for tablets, netbooks and mobile phones; 14-issue free trial. About to step out? Get breaking alerts on your mobile.phone. Text ON INQ BREAKING to 4467, for Globe, Smart and Sun subscribers in the Philippines.

Tags: Ateneo , Europe , Lifestyle , Sintang Dalisay , Theater

Copyright © 2014, .
To subscribe to the Philippine Daily Inquirer newspaper in the Philippines, call +63 2 896-6000 for Metro Manila and Metro Cebu or email your subscription request here.
Factual errors? Contact the Philippine Daily Inquirer's day desk. Believe this article violates journalistic ethics? Contact the Inquirer's Reader's Advocate. Or write The Readers' Advocate:
c/o Philippine Daily Inquirer Chino Roces Avenue corner Yague and Mascardo Streets, Makati City, Metro Manila, Philippines Or fax nos. +63 2 8974793 to 94
  1. How to enjoy Buntod
  2. World bids Gabriel Garcia Marquez ‘Adios’
  3. How Zsa Zsa Padilla found Conrad Onglao; Sharon Cuneta played Cupid
  4. ‘Wild West’ Masbate’s pristine marine gems
  5. Kim Atienza: At home with art and design
  6. How Margie Moran-Floirendo keeps her dancer’s body
  7. Life lessons I want to teach my son
  8. Garcia Marquez left unpublished manuscript
  9. Historic Fort Bonifacio tunnel converted into a septic tank
  10. Wanted: Beauty queen with a heart that beats for the environment
  1. How Zsa Zsa Padilla found Conrad Onglao; Sharon Cuneta played Cupid
  2. Are your favorite malls open this Holy Week break?
  3. ‘Labahita a la bacalao’
  4. Miss America: Don’t suspend teen over prom invite
  5. Historic Fort Bonifacio tunnel converted into a septic tank
  6. This is not just a farm
  7. How Margie Moran-Floirendo keeps her dancer’s body
  8. Why is the lifestyle set now afraid to wear jewelry–before Kim Henares?
  9. 12 other things you can do at Pico de Loro Cove
  10. President Quezon was born here–and so was Philippine surfing
  1. How Zsa Zsa Padilla found Conrad Onglao; Sharon Cuneta played Cupid
  2. Mary Jean Lastimosa is new Miss Universe Philippines
  3. Did Angara ruin Pia Wurtzbach’s chances at Bb. Pilipinas?
  4. Dominique–Gretchen and Tonyboy Cojuangco’s daughter–now an endorser
  5. Vinegar test helpful vs cervical cancer
  6. From Jeannie to mom of suicide victim
  7. San Vicente beaches hidden but not for long
  8. Borgy and Georgina are back; others are off–again
  9. Why is the lifestyle set now afraid to wear jewelry–before Kim Henares?
  10. Sen. Angara: I thought Pia Wurtzbach gave a good answer


  • N. Korea finally offers condolences over ferry tragedy
  • 16 CADPI sugar refinery workers now out of danger after toxic shower in Batangas
  • PNP denies Purisima’s involvement in questionable deal with courier firm
  • Pro-Russian insurgents hold journalist hostage
  • UN heads say Syria aid needs ‘largely unanswered’
  • Sports

  • UP nips St. Benilde; Adamson blasts RTU in Filoil women’s caging
  • Kevin Garnett responds to Raptors’ GM F word
  • Albert Pujols hits 500th HR of major league career
  • UST posts twin kill in Filoil pre-season cup opening day
  • Wizards beat Bulls in OT to take 2-0 series lead
  • Lifestyle

  • Entering the monkhood a rite of passage
  • Haneda International Airport: A destination on its own
  • Wanted: Beauty queen with a heart that beats for the environment
  • Kim Atienza: At home with art and design
  • Life lessons I want to teach my son
  • Entertainment

  • Bollywood Oscars, film stars come to Florida
  • Ex-Fox exec denies allegations in sex abuse suit
  • Kris Aquino backtracks, says Herbert Bautista and her are ‘best friends’
  • Summer preview: Chris Pratt enters a new ‘Galaxy’
  • Bon Jovi helps open low-income housing in US
  • Business

  • SM to rebuild Tacloban hospital
  • PSEi slips after 4-day rally
  • Toyota sells 2.58 million vehicles, outselling GM
  • McDonald’s 1Q profit slips as US sales decline
  • SEC approves SM’s P15B retail bond offer
  • Technology

  • Viber releases new design for iPhone, comes to Blackberry 10 for the first time
  • Engineers create a world of difference
  • Bam Aquino becomes Master Splinter’s son after Wiki hack
  • Mark Caguioa lambasts Ginebra teammates on Twitter
  • Brazil passes trailblazing Internet privacy law
  • Opinion

  • One-dimensional diplomacy: A cost-benefit analysis of Manila’s security deal with Washington
  • No ordinary illness
  • Reforest mountains with fire trees and their kind
  • Day of the Earth
  • When will Chinese firm deliver new coaches?
  • Global Nation

  • US Secret Service in Manila ahead of Obama visit
  • Palace thanks Estrada for successful HK mission
  • Hong Kong accepts PH apology; sanctions also lifted
  • China won’t budge, wants PH gov’t to apologize to HK
  • Cha cha train to follow Obama visit?