Repertory Philippines, the premier producer of thought-provoking and entertaining straight plays and musicals, is launching its Theater for Young Audiences program for 2016, with child-friendly performances of Hansel and Gretel.
“Our children’s musicals are some of our most popular plays, and we enjoy staging performances for them,” shares Repertory’s artistic director Joy Virata. “The stage is a wonderful place for children to immerse themselves in with fantastic stories and wonderful characters.”
From August 13 to December 15, 2016, Repertory will stage Hansel and Gretel, adapted from the Brothers Grimm fairy tale, and adapted into opera by German composer Engelbert Humperdinck. The story follows two hungry children sent to the woods by their mother to find strawberries, and are lured into a gingerbread house owned by a wicked witch. It’s a story that many of us grew up with, and with the adaptation and direction by Joy Virata, she promises to transform the fantastic tale for a new generation to enjoy.
Bituin Escalante, Carla Guevara Laforteza, Ring Antonio, and Christine Flores will alternately play the witch, while Cara Barredo, Sweet Buchanan, and Christine Flores will alternately play the Dawn Fairy. The Hansel role will be divided between Joshua Nubla, Allen Orolfo, Mari Yapjoco, Tori Cortez and Nathan Flores, while Gretel will be portrayed by Ella Gonzalez, Ashlee Factor, Michelle Cornejo, and Rayne Cortez.
Other roles are the mother, essayed by Natalie Everett, Ayam Eckstein, and Buchanan; the father will be portrayed by Arnel Carrion, Hans Eckstein, Raymund Concepcion, and Raul Montesa; and the Sandman will be portrayed by Chino Veguillas, Vien Alen King, and Edu Briones.
Repertory’s Theater for Young Audineces, (RTYA) began in 1992 when Virata noticed that children would wait in the lobby for their parents to finish watching a play. She decided to create a show for them, and debuted with a short and simple version of Sleeping Beauty. It went on to become the biggest box office hit in Repertory history.
Since then, the company has produced children’s theater every year, in line with its mission of producing live theater that is excellent, resilient, and entertaining. Most importantly, it aims to make theater more accessible to Filipino audiences, especially children.
“We want children to grow up with the appreciation that theater can be delightful,” ends Virata. “Compared to films, stage plays have a sense of immediacy and intimacy that will draw the viewer in and make them part of the story. This would create an enjoyable experience for imaginative kids.”