|Thank heaven for little girls|
CHASING TOFF By Christopher De Venecia (The Philippine Star) Updated October 18, 2010 12:00 AM Comments (0)
Laurie is Mr. Lawrence’s grandson and has a sense of displacement from the world because both his parents died when he was young. Jo is outspoken, daring, full of ambition, and one of four sisters of the March clan. Once Jo and Laurie meet, they easily become the best of friends. Their relationship becomes very “sibling-like” as they grow fond of each other’s company, exploring and embracing new adventures together. Sound familiar? This is of course part and parcel of the timeless classic and Repertory Philippines’ wonderful offering for the holiday season, Little Women.
But seeing as that “sibling-like,” family oriented-ness, and passion for life are common between the characters and the actors that play them in real life, I may as well have just described the stories of real-life pals and two of my personal favorites, Caisa Borromeo and Jaime Barcelon. Okay, maybe not the “sense of displacement” part for Jaime.
“I’ve been fortunate to have a great relationship with my mom who’s also like a friend and mentor to me,” quips Jaime who is fresh off his stint with local pop group, The Ryan Cayabyab Singers. “I am very grateful for having had the opportunity to work with Mr. C, recording and touring with them for the past few years.” But as Jaime makes preparations for his first solo music project, he conquers the theater stage alongside real-life pal Caisa Borromeo who, herself, is no stranger to the theater world. While Jaime has essayed several roles, including Rolf in Rep’s Sound of Music and Ryan in Ateneo Blue Repertory’s High School Musical, Caisa has played dozens of roles on stage, including notable appearances for Stages’ Footloose and West Side Story, Rep’s Aladdin Jr. and Mulan Jr., and I Love You Because.
“It’s a lot of pressure,” shares Caisa who considers the role of Jo to be her ultimate dream role. “It’s such a challenging role to play but it’s very exciting. I feel so lucky to have been given this opportunity.” Luckily, for the challenge that the material and the roles demand of the two, they have the amazing Menchu Lauchengco-Yulo as their precious director and artistic guide.
“She is very clear about her vision for the show but at the same time allows us the room for discovery and to see what feels right for us,” says Jaime. Caisa adds, “She’s an actor’s director. She trusts her actors completely.”
This wouldn’t be the first time though that the classic was adapted into something other than its novel form. In 1933, Katherine Hepburn headlined a version, followed by a 1949 “theatrical” version with June Allyson and Elizabeth Taylor as Amy, and finally an “intimate” 1994 version starring Winona Ryder. Caisa relates, “The book of course is a lot more detailed but the musical tells the story differently because it starts off in the present time, and then goes back in time when Jo remembers the time she spent with her sisters.”
Little Women is a coming of age musical about a young woman who actualizes her dream of becoming a writer and how those close to her play an integral role in helping her achieve that dream. “The show reminds us about the importance of family,” says Jaime. “It’s also an inspirational show because it reminds all of us never to give up on our dreams.”
Among the showstoppers for the show are More Than I Am, Small Umbrella Under the Rain, Some Things Are Meant To Be, and a gravity-defying piece for any female theater aficionado, Astonishing which Caisa has taken upon herself to conquer.
The show also stars Lora Nicolas as Meg, Cara Barredo as Beth, Kelly Lati as Amy, Jeff Arcilla as Professor Bhaer, Jack Salud as John Brooke, Mayen Bustamante-Cadd as Mrs. Kirk, and Rep veterans Joy Virata as Aunt March, Miguel Faustmann as Mr. Laurence, and Ms. Pinky Marquez as Marmee (who according to Caisa and Jaime, sings a very moving Days of Plenty).
Little Women marks Menchu Lauchengco-Yulo’s sophomoric undertaking as director. Her last piece was Stages’ West Side Story starring Christian Bautista and Karylle. For Little Women, she is joined by assistant director Rem Zamora, conductor Gerard Salonga for the FILharmoniKA orchestra, set designer Joey Mendoza, costume designer Tuxqs Rutaquio, and John Batalla for the lighting design.
* * *The show will run from Nov. 20 to Dec. 12, Fridays and Saturdays at 8 p.m. with matinees at 3:30 p.m. on Saturdays and Sundays at Onstage, second floor, Greenbelt 1, Ayala Center, Makati.
For ticket inquiries and further information, call Repertory Philippines at 571-6926, 571-4941, or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.Tickets are also available at Ticketworld at 891-9999 or www.ticketworld.com.ph.