Noli Me Tangere is being staged at the CCP until August 28


Audie Gemora is being referred to as the King of Philippine Theater and he is happy with the tag.

"Nakaka-thrill siyempre. It only means one thing: ang tanda ko na sa business na ito. I am trying to be humble," sabi pa ni Audie sa PEP.ph (Philippine Entertainment Portal). Kinuwento rin ni Audie na nagkaroon sila ng standing ovation sa August 5 opening night ng Noli Me Tangere na pinagbidahan nina Mark Bautista and Cris Villongco. Pwedeng mapanood ang naturang play sa Cultural Center of the Philippines hanggang August 28, 2011.

"Pero nung second night ay nag-conk out ang light board ng CCP. Nawalan kami ng ilaw so I had to cancel the show. Wala rin naman palang generator ang CCP. And I have no shame telling people about kasi gusto kong ma-realized ng government na napabayaan ang CCP. It has very little government support. Konti lang ang budget na idinadaan lang sa NCCA (National Commission for Culture and the Arts). I believe the CCP should have its own budget," wika ni Audie who was celebrating his birthday on the night the lights conked out.

Matagal na raw ganito ang problema ng CCP. Kulang ito ng financial support during the time of former President Cory Aquino's term, same with Joseph Estrada's and Gloria Macapagal Arroyo. Nagkaroon lang daw ito ng konting support sa panahon ni President Fidel V. Ramos.

"Ikinagagalit ko to find out that PAGCOR spent one billion on coffee while our national theater is suffering. Iyong pag-conk out ng lighting board na iyon which is about 40 years old, older than most of the cast members, kung paano nila inayos, pinukpok lang. Nag-freak out lang ako," wika pa niya.

Nalaman pa ni Audie na it would take three months bago maayos ito kasi kailangan pa raw mag-bidding dahil government institution ito. Kaya ang worry ni Audie paano kung mag-conk out ulit ang lighting system in a middle of a performance?

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"It was so shocking for me to find and that's why I am talking about it, if it all it serves is mabigyan ng attention ang CCP. You know, kahit na anong country na may national theater, binibigyan nila ito ng importansiya. Yun ang soul ng country. Sa London, the national theater is supported by the lotto. May perang nakalaan from the lotto that is meant for the national theater. That's why it thrives. The center of culture and the arts, dapat libre iyan sa anumang commercial demands.

"Hindi ka magagawa ng art kung nape-pressure kang maging commercial. So dapat talaga may perang nakalaan para sa CCP so we could protect our culture arts para hindi ito mabahiran ng commercialism," pahayag pa ni Audie.

"Tignan mo ngayon dahil gusto nilang kumita, kung anu-anong mga foreign shows ang pumapasok sa CCP. Ang nangyayari tuloy ay nai-itsa-puwera ang resident companies ng CCP. Nadi-displace sila, Balita ko, next year papasok ang Mamma Mia, Phantom of the Opera. These are great shows and are entertaining for the Filipinos. Why is it international shows ang ipinapalabas sa CCP? Because they need to make money kasi walang government support."

Nanghihiyang si Audie sa show na Noli Me Tangere, which he directed, na hindi mapapanood dahil nawalan ng ilaw. Ayaw naman daw niya ilagay sa alanganin ang show. Gusto raw ni Audie na malaman ng gobyerno ang state of affairs sa CCP. Tumutulo na ang bubong ng Little Theater at ang carpet ay tila hindi na raw nalilinis at di maupuan dahil sa dumi.

Yung nangyari raw na pagpalpak ng ilaw ng CCP ay indication ng state of things sa national theater. Naawa nga raw siya sa CCP kahit naman hindi siya resident director kundi guest director lamang for Noli Me Tangere and Tanghalang Pilipino.

"I plead for them, for our national theater kasi napabayaan na talaga ito," malungkot na pahayag pa ng theater actor-director."Siguro may ibang matitinding pangangailangan ang bansa na dapat unahin pero still, the culture and the arts is the soul of any country.

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"Naintidihan ko kung walang pera pero I am just wondering kung magkano ang ginastos ng PAGCOR to bring the foreign shows na ipinalabas nila sa kanilang teatro. That had a cast of 200 people with full orchestra. Alam kong mahal ang bayad sa kanila. They probably spent a million per show and that show ran for two years yet they don't have budget for our national theater.

"Nagagalit ako not because of other priorities like nagugutom ang mga tao pero a huge amount of money went somewhere else [not in this administration] but I hope that the government of President Noynoy Aquino would realize the importance of the culture and the arts," wika pa ni Audie.


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