JC Santos is one of the stars of the play Buwan at Baril sa Eb Major, which is set during the Martial Law period.
Written by Chris Millado, Buwan at Baril sa Eb Major is a series of five vignettes of seemingly separate lives of eight Filipinos bound by the narrative of oppression, struggle, and hope under a dictatorial regime.
Cherry Pie Picache, Jackie Lou Blanco, and Angeli Bayani are the other co-stars of JC in this theatrical production.
They are joined by theater actors Mayen Estañero, Crispin Pineda, Paolo O'Hara, Ross Pesigan, Danny Mandia, Mano Domingo, and Joel Saracho.
SUGID Productions Incorporated and the Bantayog ng mga Bayani Foundation are staging Buwan at Baril sa Eb Major until February 12, 2017, at the Ambassador Alfonso T. Yuchengco Auditorium of Bantayog ng mga Bayani Center, located in Quezon Ave., Diliman, Quezon City.
Directed by Andoy Ranay, this play collects the stories of various characters whose lives, seemingly separate, intersect at a crucial juncture in Philippine contemporary history: at the height of the anti-dictatorship struggle.
The schedule of performances are as follows: February 9, 10, 11, 12 (3 pm and 8 pm).
ORIGINS OF THE PLAY. Buwan at Baril sa Eb Major was written by Chris Millado in 1985, and was originally directed and designed by University of the Philippines professor Apo Chua.
It was first produced by the Philippine Educational Theater Association (PETA) at the famed Rajah Sulayman Theater, in Fort Santiago, Intramuros, Manila.
Chris Millado is currently Vice President and Artistic Director of the Cultural Center of the Philippines, Cinemalaya Festival Director, playwright, director and educator.
Fully aware that his aesthetic sensibilities have been shaped by his childhood experiences of provincial Catholic rites and Filipino folk pageantry, he plunged into street theater in 1982, energized by the student and youth protest against the 1982 Education Act.
Amidst the media censorship at the time, he and fellow UP theater majors offered the theater as alternative media, as "living newspaper."
Whether street rally or demonstration or maximum security prison, on either local or foreign stage, Millado maintains a truly Filipino perspective—reflective and relevant.
Among his noted works are Panata Sa Kalayaan / Oath to Freedom; Peregrinasyon, Pinaytok and Nikimalika/Li'l Brown Brothers.
Tim Cada, Poch Gutierrez, and Vincent de Jesus create the ambient music, using live cello and classical guitar accompaniment, to render the classical pieces required for tone and mood.
Gwyn Guanzon and Riza Romero’s costumes capture the silhouette of the period, with their minimalist set intent on highlighting human beings undergoing political struggle.
The minimal set production is also designed in anticipation of tours to colleges, universities, and local government units.
CHARACTERS IN THE PLAY. Here are the characters of the 2017 restaging of Buwan at Baril sa Eb Major:
The Manggagawa (Worker), in the first story, long estranged from his family, meets his brother, Magsasaka (Peasant), in one of the pit stops of the historic May 1984 Lakbayan (People’s March).
Their personal conditions and their reasons for joining the long march set the tone and theme of the entire play.
The Priest, in the second part, takes care of refugees, represented by the Babaeng Itawis, who were exiled from their ancestral lands following military operations.
The two talk with members of the media and a fact-finding team, where they reveal the cruelty experienced by indigenous people under militarization.
The Socialite, in the next segment, rehearses her part as a member of the negotiating panel as she prepares for a rally. This member of the bourgeoisie, awakened by prevalent injustice, illustrates how the middle class views the marginalized sectors of society and sympathizes with their need for change.
The Asawa (Wife) identifies the body of her husband, an NPA guerilla, and continues in a horrific narrative of capture and detention. She talks to his lifeless body, recalling their story of struggle and survival.
The Police Officer arrests and interrogates a Student in the final segment. Their exchange is intense as they struggle to outsmart each other.
The actors who play pivotal roles in this play are as follows:
THE ACTORS. Angeli Bayani (Babaeng Itawis).
She was once called a "Philippine treasure" by internationally acclaimed director Ang Lee for her role as nanny in the film Iloilo, which was a Palm d’Or winner in 2013 Cannes Film Festival.
She is also the 2013 Gawad Urian Best Actress for her role in Lav Diaz’s Melancholia.
Cherry Pie Picache (Asawa). Declared in 2011 by the Gawad Urian as the Best Actress of the Decade, she is a multi-awarded actress in the Philippines and international cinema.
She has been performing on television, in movies, and on stage, for various theater companies, since her debut role in Dulaang UP’s Supremo in 1993.
Crispin Pineda (Magsasaka). Hailing from the ranks of workers’ theater in the early '70s, he has become one of Philippine theater’s formidable actors.
He has played key roles in Kahapon, Ngayon at Bukas, Ang Paglilitis, and St. Louis Loves Dem Filipinos to name a few.
Danny Mandia (Manggagawa). Teaching theater at the Far Eastern University, he is one of the pioneers in dubbing animè and Mexican telenovelas in Filipino.
He was a stage manager and actor for the iconic Rolando Tinio’s Teatro Pilipino in the late '70s, and also went on to become lighting director and production designer.
Jackie Lou Blanco (Socialite). Frequently nominated in Philippine film and television acting, she has worked in theater almost as long as in motion pictures.
Most recently, she appeared in Tanghalang Pilipino’s Pangarap sa Isang Gabi ng Gitnang Tag-Araw, an adaptation of William Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream.
JC Santos (Pari). Now a popular actor, with most recent credits including his role as Ali in ABS-CBN's Till I Met You, he is a homegrown Dulaang UP actor.
For the company he has essayed the leads in Bilanggo ng Pag-ibig, Ibong Adarna, As You Like It, Hinabing Pakpak ng Ating mga Anak, and Orosman at Zafira, among others.
Joel Saracho (Pulis/Interogaytor). Busy traveling to represent Lav Diaz’s Hele Sa Hiwagang Hapis—a 2016 Berlinale Silver Bear—where he is in the cast, Joel's recent television role was in the now defunct but very successful ABS-CBN’s On the Wings of Love.
Mayen Estañero (Asawa). Mayen has been gracing the stage for more than a decade with her talents. A true triple threat, Mayen has been part of some of the most successful theater productions, such as Himala and Zsa Zsa Zaturnnah.
She was most recently seen in Virgin Labfest’s Mula sa Kulimliman and Tanghalang Ateneo’s Boy.
Paolo O’hara (Pulis/Interrogator). An freelance actor for television, film, and theater, he comes from a family of actors, but has long made his mark in the independent-film scene as director and writer.
He is formerly a Tanghalang Pilipino Actor’s Company member.
Reymund Domingo (Manggagawa). Has been a regular of Repertory Philippines’ Theater for Young Audiences since his debut in 2011's Peter Pan, which was co-produced by STAGES.
He also played Friar Lawrence in 2015's Manila Shakespeare Company's Romeo and Juliet, and Butete in 2015's CCP's Virgin Labfest’s Uod, Butete at Si Myrna, by Layeta Bucoy, under the direction of George de Jesus.
Ross Pesigan (Estudyante). Currently appearing in various independent film and television series, he is an alumnus of Dulaang UP, where he has played, among others, a central character in Ang Nawalang Kapatid, an adaptation of Mahabharata.
FUNDS RAISED FROM THIS PLAY. SUGID Productions Inc. bills itself as a company composed of directors, actors, designers and educators "with more than a hundred years of aggregated cultural work experience" among them.
It its words, it aims "to tell the stories of our land and people, of the unheard and untold, and listen to the stories of parallel communities with parallel paths—distinct stories that are relevant and responsive to our time."
In addition, SUGID says, "We mean to engage peers and audiences alike, and offer spaces of conversation and participation."
Funds raised from its performances are intended to finance this production's journey to colleges, universities, and local government units in Metro Manila and the provinces.
For ticket inquiries, please call or text Gian Viatka at 0917-8456200.