Latest Stories

How Shakespeare’s ‘Twelfth Night’ became the twilight of old Pinoy cinema


SCENE from “DWonder Twins of Boac,” with Shamaine Centenera-Buencamino playing Donya Olivia. Photo by Amadís Ma. Guerrero

England’s Poet Laureate John Masefield once called “Twelfth Night” “the happiest and one of the loveliest of all Shakespeare’s plays. Mirth here is so mingled with romantic beauty that few can tire of it.”

Why, the Oscar-winning film “Shakespeare in Love”, starring Glyneth Paltrow and Joseph Fiennes, was “an imagined back story” to this celebrated tale.

The fable revolves around the twins Viola and Sebastian who are lost in a shipwreck and believe each other to be dead. Olivia disguises herself as a boy, calls herself “Cesario” and works for the Duke Orsino, who is in love with Lady Olivia (who, in turn, falls for “Cesario”).

Between Viola and Sebastian (who turns up later in the play) swirl a lot of colorful characters who are always up to some mischief or intrigue.

Lady Olivia’s uncle, Sir Toby Belch, who is angry at her steward Malvolio for the latter’s perceived insubordination, leads him to believe Olivia is in love with him, and causes him to act in a bizarre manner. As a result, poor Malvolio is imprisoned.

At the end, the twins are joyfully reunited; Malvolvio is released but vows vengeance.

Successful production

This is the bare plot (not in the least complete) which translator Rody Vera has adapted for the Philippine Educational Theater Association (Peta), inventively situating it within the Philippine movie industry during the late 1960s, just before the “bomba” (sex flicks) rage.

And the production succeeds, thanks to the audacity Peta is known for.

CRIS Villonco, Chrome Cosio, Maribel Legarda, Rody Vera, Shamaine Centenera and Lex Marcos at a post-show Q&A. Photo by Amadís Ma. Guerrero

“D Wonder Twins of Boac,” with music by Jeff Hernandez and direction by Maribel Legarda, is on at the Peta Theater Center (behind the Quezon City Sports Club;  call 7256244) until March 3.

It stars Cris Villonco and Chrome Cosio as the twins Viola and Bastian, Shamaine Centenera (alternating with Gail Billones) as Donya Nepomuceno, Bodjie Pascua (alternating with Lex Marcos) as Doc

Orsino Villar, and Gino Ramirez (alternating with Lao Rodriguez) as Malvolio.

The year is 1967. The fable this time casts Viola and Bastian as singer-dancers who want to make it big in Manila. Following the story line, they are shipwrecked on the way from Boac, Marinduque, to the Big Apple, and separated. Viola-Villonco disguises herself as a boy (Cesar) who becomes an assistant to the big-time studio mogul, Doc Orsino (Pascua), head of Campanilla Pictures.

Donya Olivia (Centenera) falls in love with “Cesar,” mistaking him for a boy. And so on.

Wicked satire

The play emerges as a wicked satire on the movie industry, with a lot of one-liners that went over big with the audience during the press preview. Any resemblance to real-life personalities is unintended (probably).

There are hilarious sequences, like regional Elvis Presley wannabes auditioning and dancing (with regional accents and expletives), and a wrestling match between two stunt men (hunks Cosio and Riki Benendicto) with homo-erotic overtones.

Playing against type, Centenera as the hotsy-patootsie Donya Olivia makes every scene count. Villonco is an appealing Cesar although she may not look masculine enough, and Cosio oozes with sex appeal.

At the end, Malvolio announces that, to end the movie industry’s problems of declining box-office receipts, the “bomba” era has arrived.

“‘Twelfth Night’ does not have a happy ending,” notes Vera.

So the coda has the characters turning serious and—in “American Graffiti”-style—predicting what they will become years from now. The one comic element has the prudish Malvolio announcing that he will become chair of Movie and Television Ratings and Classification Board!

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: Peta , PETA Theater Center , Philippine Educational Theater Association , Pinoy cinema , Rody Vera , Shakespeare , stage play , Super , Theater , Twelfth Night , William Shakespeare , “D Wonder Twins of Boac"

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. 12 other things you can do at Pico de Loro Cove
  2. Lover’s quarrel linked to hunger – study
  3. Encounter with a ‘Mangkukulam’
  4. ‘Kamias’ for fever, ‘siling labuyo’ for headache–first aid in the kitchen
  5. How Vitamin B can be a remedy for ‘manhid’ and neuropathy
  6. Summer treat for your aspiring astronomers
  7. Sarah Geronimo and Matteo Giudicelli sing ‘All of Me’–and we all swoon
  8. Marcos grandson to wed beautiful Rocha scion
  9. 90 percent of Filipino households don’t practice proper toilet hygiene, sanitation
  10. ‘Heaven is for Real’: Nonfiction book on life after death reaches screen
  1. Dominique–Gretchen and Tonyboy Cojuangco’s daughter–now an endorser
  2. Why is the lifestyle set now afraid to wear jewelry–before Kim Henares?
  3. Marcos grandson to wed beautiful Rocha scion
  4. France makes work beyond 6 p.m. illegal
  5. Sarah Geronimo and Matteo Giudicelli sing ‘All of Me’–and we all swoon
  6. South Koreans crave Asia’s smelliest fish
  7. How Vitamin B can be a remedy for ‘manhid’ and neuropathy
  8. Ever heard of HydroBob?
  9. 90 percent of Filipino households don’t practice proper toilet hygiene, sanitation
  10. Boots Anson-Roa to wed in Eddie Baddeo
  1. Mary Jean Lastimosa is new Miss Universe Philippines
  2. Did Angara ruin Pia Wurtzbach’s chances at Bb. Pilipinas?
  3. Dominique–Gretchen and Tonyboy Cojuangco’s daughter–now an endorser
  4. Manila in shock over model Helena Belmonte’s death
  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. Sen. Angara: I thought Pia Wurtzbach gave a good answer
  10. Ex-Givenchy model fights for ‘Yolanda’ survivors


  • UN warns banana fungus spreading from Southeast Asia
  • Massive infra spending set
  • ‘No real progress in PH if dynasties not dismantled’
  • Cardinal Tagle to faithful: Join politics to clean it
  • Our Lady of Piat: Centerpiece of Cagayan’s gifts to Christianity
  • Sports

  • Federer would skip tennis to be with wife, newborn
  • Manny Pacquiao in PBA? If so, he’ll wear No. 17
  • PSC sets Blu Girls US training
  • Power Pinoys settle for 7th place
  • Successful coaches to get raise
  • Lifestyle

  • ‘Labahita a la bacalao’
  • This is not just a farm
  • Clams and garlic, softshell crab risotto–not your usual seafood fare for Holy Week
  • Moist, extra-tender blueberry muffins
  • The truffled mac ‘n’ cheese, eggs benedict, chicken leg confit are excellent
  • Entertainment

  • Why Lucky has not bought an engagement ring for Angel
  • Derek more private with new girlfriend
  • ‘Community’ star happy with return of show’s creator
  • Jealousy is kid stuff
  • Mommy-daughter adventure continues
  • Business

  • PH presses bid to keep rice import controls
  • PSEi continues to gain
  • Number of retrenched workers rose by 42% in ’13
  • PH seen to sustain rise in FDIs
  • Gov’t subsidies to state firms fell in first 2 months
  • Technology

  • Smart phone apps and sites perfect for the Holy Week
  • Tech company: Change passwords or suffer ‘Heartbleed’
  • Filling the digital talent gap
  • SSS to shut down website for Holy Week
  • Another reason to quit social media this Holy Week: your safety
  • Opinion

  • Editorial cartoon, April 17, 2014
  • A humbler Church
  • Deepest darkness
  • ‘Agnihotra’ for Earth’s health
  • It’s the Holy Week, time to think of others
  • Global Nation

  • First Fil-Am elected to Sierra Madre, Calif. city council
  • UC Irvine cultural night to dramatize clash of values in immigrant family
  • Filipino sweets and info served at UC Berkeley Spring Fest
  • Milpitas, California kids wrap up a successful run of ‘The Wiz’
  • Netizens welcome Japan’s visa-free travel plan