Audie Gemora himself suggested that Repertory Philippines stage the play Equus, which had been revived at London’s West End and Broadway starring Daniel Radcliffe of Harry Potter fame.
Rep’s artistic director Baby Barredo then appointed Audie as the director of the play, which has been receiving a lot of good reviews since it opened last July 9. Equus will run until July 25 at Onstage, Greenbelt 1.
Under his direction, Audie managed to bring out the exceptional talents of the members of the cast while making Equus a truly different theatrical experience.
Audie, who’s a seasoned theater actor, works at the helm for the first time of a straight play. "I love doing straight plays," says Audie, a veteran of musical theater in the country, with credits like Man of La Mancha and Sweeney Todd.
"I have always considered musical theater as my expertise, but I am really overwhelmed that my work on this intellectual drama has been appreciated by critics and the public."
With Audie’s guidance, Miguel Faustmann, who played psychiatrist Martin Dysart, exhibited perhaps one of his best performances as an actor. Miguel held the whole show together and paved the way to make his co-actors shine as well.
Audie can also be lauded for choosing the best actors to play Alan Strang: resident Rep actor Red Concepcion and newcomer Marco Mañalac. Though Red’s and Marco’s attack on the role is quite different, both actors have successfully translated onstage their character’s core and tribulations.
Audie maximized having theater stalwarts in the powerhouse cast: Jaime Del Mundo (Frank Strang, father of Alan), Tami Monsod (Dora Strang, mother of Alan), Roselyn Perez (Magistrate Hester Salomon) and Dido Dela Paz (barn owner Harry Dalton) with fine young actors Pheona Barranda (Jill Mason), Katski Flores, James Stacey, among others.
In an interview with PEP (Philippine Entertainment Portal) right after the preview of the play, Audie pointed out that there is more to Equus than just the controversial nude scene. "It’s not about the nudity. It’s passion versus an ordinary, dead life."
In the play, a young stablehand named Alan Strang is confined in a medical facility to undergo treatment from Martin Dysart. The psychiatrist tries to unravel the reason why the British boy suddenly blinded six horses with a metal spike. Through their conversations, Dysart has come to realize the absence of passion in his own life.
Audie also revealed, "I almost did the role of Alan Strang for a CCP [Cultural Center of the Philippines] production in 1980 when I was twenty years old. Pero hindi natuloy ang production." In his director’s notes, he refers to this as his "unfulfilled dream."
Equus runs July 23, 24 and 25 at 8 p.m., with matinees at 3:30 p.m. on July 24 and 25. Venue is Onstage at Greenbelt 1 Makati City. For ticket inquiries, please call 887-0710 or call 0917-5420015.