Shakes-fear to Shakes-peer: Theater in Manila

Theatre In Manila When PETA showcases Shakespeare.




PETA or Philippine Educational Theater Association in Quezon City is an amazing performing arts environment. Its latest production, ‘WILLIAM’ is a re-invention of Shakespeare through Rap, Hip-hop and Flip-top beats. Anyone who has enjoyed watching ‘Glee’ or ‘high School Musical’ but dreaded |Shakespeare’s  difficult language is gonna have so much fun watching this When In Manila.

 HIGH ENERGY Iambic Pentameter 😉



(When In India) As a young mother I had wanted to own my own car and drive my twins around to events and exhibitions, exposing them to the best of performing and visual arts…It was a dream. There were many excuses…this dream got only half-fulfilled. I got a car Jbut the traffic was bad  and art too heavy for light entertainment, so kids refused to accompany me.


Then this weekend, something stirred in our artless routine. The planets shifted from their celestial path…our family’s joint horoscope came in conjunction with William Shakespeare’s within the geographical locales of a country neither his nor mine. Not only the children, now eleven and grappling with the iambic pentameter at school, but also their forty-something arty- but- turned- to- accountancy Dad accompanied me when I was going to review PETA’s latest production WILLIAM.


Sunday morning traffic was easy. The universe of  passions and high drama was giving small but significant welcome signals— traffic lights were green all the way! The driver knew the lanes to turn into. And though we had started from home late…the play also opened ‘ten minutes postponed’J as Filipinos say.


Kids gave me the ‘I came because I was bored at home’ and Mr Husband gave the neutral ‘Filipino performers are always great’ look. PETA’s ‘William’ opened to a packed hall of mostly Filipino audience and a few Americans and Asians. When In India, usually I see adults among theatre audience– a good percentage of them arty, eccentric,  Khadi Kurta ( a long dull version of a Barong) and Kolhapuri Chappal ( a beautifully intricate handcrafted leather version of flip-flops) clad and shorn. The crowd for WILLIAM here was really Regular– couples, friends, families and many, many children. This was like a regular movie-going; Time-zone frequenting audience come to watch Shakespeare!

 …close identification with Characters of WILLIAM

Just then the fun began! This is the funkiest review I am ever writing… My family did not know any much Tagalog and the play was mostly Tagalog dialog and even songs. I was actually wandering, how the hell am I gonna review this! What are they saying? How will I know what they are adding to the adaptation? PETA wants kids to move from Shakesfear to Shakespeare , but I am gonna flunk at the Editorial desk tomorrow….


But I enjoyed the play so much…I cannot stop talking about it. When I clap my mouth, and eat, I am still thinking about it. 




PETA’s ‘black box’ format theatre space is like a warm, friendly boxing ring.  One can get totally immersed in the action. Booming acoustics or soft whispers—each came to the audience with clarity.

And such well –rehearsed scenes! An absolutely immaculate show. If you don’t know any thing about Shakespeare…or even Tagalog language…you can still enjoy every minute of it! So each time someone broke into the Bard’s own words we began clapping in the sheer excitement of recognizing English…while the rest of them clapped at the recognition of distinctly Filipino traits belonging also to timeless, universal kitty of human nature…just as Mr Shakespeare would have intended.

 Immaculate Fun!


People who understood the language were guffawing. Suddenly there would be a wave of appreciation that’d make me look up from trying to guess at the meaning…and see that a point was already made!


 Muscles would relax as a new unit of theatre time would begin…an amazing interlude music began each time…Bang on with a great tempo….and a trio of rappers in bling n chains, pockets and yos would make their rapping, flip-topping entry: 


….whats in a name…Whats in a name..whaTS IN AANAME..GUESS IT…BREAK IT DOWN….bre-ak-It-Daa-ooon.”

 ….Discovering Heroes Within Their own Hearts…

The music, the moves,the high-powered energy and smooth transition from words to music, Tagalog to English to body language was a vintage vinos: smell. taste, vapour, texture…and a lingering intoxication thereafter…..


Isn’t this a crazy review? Guess what …these are the pictures of two PETA intoxicated beings after they got home from the play…..they raided the ignored book shelf…and wanted some more….vine from the old casks.

 …Is she actually pulling out a Shakerpeare!!!!!!





Director: Maribel Legarda

Rap Trainer: By ‘the true Tondo rapper’ Sheilbert Manuel aka OG.. Sacred

Writer: Ron Capinding

Upcoming Shows: August 26-28, September 2-4,9-11,16-18,23-25 2011.

Show Time: 10 am and 3 pm.

Venue: PETA Theater Center No.5 EYMARD DRIVE, New Manila, Quezon City.

Inquiries and Ticket Reservations: Barkada and early bird discounts are available. Tickets are Php350 (regular) and Php500 (vip). For inquiries and ticket reservations, contact PETA Marketing & PR Office at 725-6244 or 410-0821, 0917-5765400,

Shakes-fear to Shakes-peer: Theater in Manila


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