|Carlos Siguion-Reyna. Photo: Handout
MANILA, Philippines – Multi-awarded film director Carlos Siguion-Reyna is trying his hand at theater as he promises a ”darker” version of the 1898 sarswela ”Walang Sugat,” the banner production for Tanghalang Pilipino’s (TP) 26th season.
Siguion-Reyna, who has worked in theater on a small scale through ”Aawitan Kita, said he is excited to direct TP’s production of Severino Reyes’ ”subversive” literary masterpiece.
”Walang Sugat” is topbilled by his niece, Cris Villonco, and theater actors Noel Rayos and Antonio Ferrer.
Acclaimed soprano Noemi Manikan-Gomez, the original lady of TP’s ”Dalagang Bukid,” also plays a special role in the musical play, which will run from August 9 to 26 at the Tanghalang Aurelio V. Tolentino of the Cultural Center of the Philippines.
”It’s my first time working with a huge cast on stage,” said Siguion-Reyna, who has been teaching film in Singapore. ”I’ve acted before on stage, but I’m not yet sensitive to the directorial process.”
”Walang Sugat” tells the love story of Julia (Villonco) and Tenyong (Rayos with Ferrer as alternate) set against a backdrop of war and national struggle.
|The cast of "Walang Sugat." Photo: Handout
Siguion-Reyna said he wants to go beyond the romance and explore the dynamics of power in the musical play to make it more contemporary.
”I want to get to the darker side of the material, how you get freedom and how you stay in power,” he said.
Siguion-Reyna, who is known for his critically acclaimed films such as ”Azucena” and ”Ligaya ang Itawag Mo sa Akin,” said he is excited to work with the cast of ”Walang Sugat,” which he called ”a great artistic team.”
Cast members of ”Walang Sugat” said they are just as pleased to be directed by Siguion-Reyna, who they described as ”strict” yet ”very efficient.”
Asked about the challenges of directing a large-scale theater production for the first time, Siguion-Reyna said: ”The characters should take ownership and always be in the moment. The stage is theirs. The difference of stage with film is that the performance is responsive to any single audience at one point.”