I was looking for a show to watch on the evening of Saturday October 28. I chanced upon an advertisement on FB about this Halloween-themed play by a new theater production company whimsically known as Theatre Titas. I had been trying to see a play in the horror genre in the past few Octobers but so far, this is the first time I actually had the best chance to go see one.
The Entrance to the Axon
The venue is called The Axon, a spacious ballroom in the lobby of the Green Sun Hotel along Don Chino Roces Extension in Makati. There were five groups of chairs arranged in a semi-circle around the performance space. Before the show, the two Theatre Titas themselves, Chesie Carino and Cheese Mendez, personally introduced themselves and their maiden production.
The Theatre Titas!
Claire is a 10-year old girl who could not find her beloved Mama nor her way back home. Saul is a mysterious man lurking in the dark -- not only because of his ugly face, but also because of his ugly sins. This play is a conversation when these two contrasting characters meet in the darkness one night. In all her blind innocence, Claire chose to trust the kindness of the voice she can only hear, oblivious that that voice belonged to a dangerous man who could cost her her very life.
Claire (Katie Bradshaw) consoles Saul (Epy Quizon)
In a simple two-hander play like this, the script and the acting need be able to grab the audience attention for the whole running time. With her masterful choice of words, writer Nicole Fuentes took a tense encounter between a serial child killer and his potential next victim and turned it into an intimate, moving study of loneliness and trust. Director Carl Carino effectively used his lights and the darkness to bring out and build the drama.
Young Katie Bradshaw was riveting as fearless Claire, very confident in her performance, yet never losing the vulnerability required of her character. (Natalia Abad alternates in this role.) Epy Quizon is well-known actor of film and TV and this is the first time I am seeing him perform live, and in English. His Saul is a psychotic killer, but here Quizon sensitively played him as a psychologically damaged man we could pity instead of hate.
Newton was a man teetering on the edge of insanity because of the shocking death of his 9 year old daughter Carol on what should have been a fun vacation at the beach. The day after Carol's burial, Newton forces his angry and horrified wife Jill to sit and witness him conjure up diabolical reanimation rites prescribed in an ancient book of black magic in a desperate effort to bring Carol back to life.
The tragic family of Ethan (Edgar Alan Zeta-Yap),
Jill (Sari Estrada) and Carol (Liv Gonzales)
The script alone of Juan Diego Gil was already very disturbing in itself. His words effectively depicted extreme despair and guilt pushing a man down a spiraling descent into madness. The loud verbal tussle between husband and wife further amped up the tension. Director Tinette Villanueva Miciano really played up the whole horror atmosphere with her ritual props and her lighting effects. Things do get over-the-top, but it worked!
You can clearly see the progression of raving insanity in the eyes of Edgar Alan Zeta-Yap as he portrayed the physically and psychologically exhausting role of the father Newton. (Javi Coromina alternates in this role.) Sari Estrada was hysterical (who wouldn't be?) as the mother Jill who had to sit captive to the whole crazy show. Young Liv Gonzales had a disturbing role as the living-dead girl Carol, a role she clearly relished to play.
With this auspicious debut of the Theater Titas, I'm looking forward to their next projects.
WHAT'S IN THE DARK runs from October 27 - 29 at The Axon at Green Sun Hotel. There are two more shows today October 29 at 3 pm and 8 pm. Each one act play runs for about 40 minutes, with a 15 minute intermission in between.
For tickets (@ P500 each walk-in, P450 if pre-ordered), contact Diandra at 0917 656 7293 for inquiries or reserve your tickets thru this LINK.