The show title "RAIN" was actually an acronym which meant "Reinventing Anthology of Individual Narrative." This 3-in-1 show was conceived to offer PSF fans a variety of straight one-act plays, much different from the historical or social musicals that they are known for. The first RAIN last year featured TULA NI VITO AT LIRA by Rachel Gianan, BAGYO BUROL BEKI by Sonny O Valencia and ALIMUONG by JP Lopez. Three new plays have been chosen to be presented this year.
Juvy Lee (Alex Baylon) does her radio show.
The first play was JUVY LEE'S ROMANCE, written and directed by Vince Tanada. Juvy Lee was a very popular radio deejay who hosted a top-rating love advice program. She was offered to transfer her show to television. Problem was she was not attractive and overweight, so she was rejected by the TV execs. Not even her manager Kenji Park could not do anything to help her, as her bitchy but pretty rival Cara MIl got the TV stint instead. Juvy's godmother, who just so happened to be a dermatologist and plastic surgeon, heard of Juvy's plight and came to her rescue.
Kenji (Kenneth Sadsad) and Penny (Bea Martin)
This play uses a lot of K-pop songs and dances to appeal to the young millennial crowd. I noted that these college students were very fond of romantic scenes, squealing with thrill everytime Kenji (a dashing Kenneth Sadsad) and Juvy Lee (Alex Baylon, in drag) or her alter ego Penny Woo (a flustered Bea Martin) have a close clinch together. Everybody was doing their campiest best to connect to their audience all in good fun, but delivering an important message about how inner beauty trumps outer beauty.
The second play was THE GALLERY, written by JP Lopez and directed by Vince Tanada. I had seen this play performed for the first time during the PSF Theater Festival just last summer in a much smaller venue. The truly Rated SPG stuff was tamed down a bit when it transitioned to the bigger SM cinema stage. This was an absurd, over-the-top story about a young drug addict gigolo Roy (Johnrey Rivas) who answered an ad by a bizarre intersex artist Dion (OJ Bacor) for a model.
Roy (Johnrey Rivas) and Dion (OJ Bacar)
get to know each other
The titular gallery was home to weird paintings that their artist claimed were alive so they should never be touched. Later on, what was real and what was hallucination about these paintings were blurred as the intake of illegal drugs entered the picture. As I described it the first time I watched it, "this wild play went in all directions, with diverse elements of various genre -- comedy, sexy, horror and even politics -- all rolled into one flamboyant and schizophrenic show. Its sense of the macabre simply went off the charts!" These words still express exactly what I thought about this play on second watching.
Lilibeth (Gerald Magallanes) talks to
Didith (Adelle Ibarrientos-Lim)
The third play was I DIDITH SHOW, also written by JP Lopez and again directed by Vince Tanada. I first saw this play just last summer as well, but it had a history of winning the grand PSF prize back in 2014. Didith Lorenzo was a superstar singer who has had been hosting a long-running TV variety show, on air for the past 20 years. In this latest episode of her show, her special guest was a pretty and popular new singer named Love Moreno. The two singers vie to get the upper hand over the other during the whole show. While Love had her boyfriend and her manager in her corner, it seemed like Didith only had her loyal gay PA Lilibeth in hers.
Didith (Adele Ibarrientos-Lim) and Love (Rachelle Mae Penaflor)
fighting for the camera
The play is very entertaining, frenetic and hilarious, roasting showbiz stereotypes, with some unexpectedly touching bittersweet moments. Adele Ibarreintos-Lim felt very right as aging bitter Didith, one of the best performances I had seen her play. Rachelle Mae Penaflor, still channeling Ariana Grande's spunk as she reprised her role as Love, much better than when I saw her perform last summer. Their duelling duet of "Tell Him" was like vocal fireworks, bravo! Gerald Magallanes extends his versatility further by playing the distraught gay fan Lilibeth. Vean Olmedo was also playing against her usual type by playing a loud lesbian who was Didith's ex-manager, now Love's.