Thought-provoking questions raised in "Children's Letters to God"

by Jocelyn Dimaculangan
Sep 2, 2007
Children's Letters to God boasts of excellent performances from (L-R, clockwise) Aria Clemente, Tippy dos Santos, Marek Sison, Jaime Calabig, and Ruiz Sison.

Kids say the darndest things—and they ask the toughest questions as well.

Children's Letters to God is a no-frills musical—the set has a minimalist look and the only props used by the cast members are plastic chairs and other small items that are carried easily by the children. There are no adults cast in the play so all your attention will be focused on the young thespians whose ages range from 9 to 14 years old.

Actor's Actors Inc. (AAI) and Great.Events@Manila Inc. presented the Philippine premiere of this off-Broadway musical at the RCBC Plaza, Makati City, last August 30. PEP (Philippine Entertainment Portal) was able to watch the first production of Children's Letters to God that features five youngsters who bombard God with their incessant questioning.

Joanna (Tippy dos Santos) and Kicker (Ruiz Sison) are siblings who have a hard time dealing with each other, just like most brothers and sisters. Joanna often complains about her annoying brother but she is really fond of Kicker, whom she calls Munchkin.

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The two are friends with Iris (Aria Clemente), a young girl who never parts with her pet turtle Arnold. Brett (Marek Sison) is a young lad who undergoes a crisis when his parents decide to divorce. He is also the apple of Joanna's eye even though he might be clueless about girls. Theo (Jaime Calabig) has just celebrated his birthday and is keen to be accepted by his peers even though he is taunted as a geek.

This one-and-a-half-hour musical play shows children who lift up to God their joys, worries, fears, and everyday concerns—making it a reminder for kids and adults alike that the "Big G" is just a thought away.

Children's Letters to God is a Western play and it becomes apparent when the children don winter clothing and sing about Hannukah, a Jewish festival that some Filipino children might not be too familiar with.

Tippy dos Santos—with her mestiza looks and authentic American accent—really suits the role of Joanna. When she sings, you can only listen with rapt attention to her pure voice as it fills the RCBC Plaza. She definitely stands out in this youth-oriented play especially when she gets emotional over her childhood infatuation with Brett.

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Roberto Luis a.k.a. Ruiz Sison steals the limelight with his one-liners that leave the audience in stitches. His comedic antics come naturally, which is not surprising for a nine-year old boy, but he does have a tendency to mumble his lines.

Aria Clemente, named Over-all Champion of the World in the 2007 World Championships of Performing Arts (WCOPA), plays the eccentric yet lovable character Iris. She extols the advantages of having a pet turtle by asking, "How many pets can fit in your pocket?"

Sixteen tuneful songs and assorted scenes (some based on actual letters) will make you laugh our loud and ponder on universal issues such as sibling rivalry, divorce, holidays, the loss of a beloved pet, the trials of being not athletic and young love.

Children's Letters to God will be re-staged this October and will be toured in Cebu and Davao.

Click MORE PICTURES to view photos of the CL2G production.

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Children's Letters to God boasts of excellent performances from (L-R, clockwise) Aria Clemente, Tippy dos Santos, Marek Sison, Jaime Calabig, and Ruiz Sison.
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