Tag Archives: repertory philippines

Baby Barredo Repertory Philippines Mother – Meet the Family

Ms Baby Barredo, one of the founders of Repertory Philippines, is better known in the theater community as “Tita Baby”. Being almost everyone’s “tita” really made this community one big happy family. And just like how in any family, the children grow up and start putting up their own families, most of the new theater companies that get built up are mostly alumni of Repertory Philippines – something Tita Baby is very proud of.

But how did Repertory Philippines start? Of course the most reliable would be Tita Baby herself. She granted an interview years ago sharing how everything began with her talking to Tita Bibot (a.k.a. THE Zenaida Amador).

At that time in 1967, the only productions, the only theater productions, were school productions. And Amador and myself, founders of Rep, we were both teaching in St. Joseph’s College. And we were like this, a play was going on ‘Arms and the Man’, Bernard Shaw. And Amador and I were in the wings, waiting for our cues.

But we knew that the actors that were coming out in the play, they were all frustrated because all that they wanted to do was to act. But because we couldn’t make a living out of it, they were forced to be account executives in advertising companies. Subas Herrero – he’s gone now, may he rest in peace – he was frustrated because his parents forced him to take up medicine. They were very unhappy.

And then Amador and I said ‘Why don’t we start putting a theater where people can use their talents and develop their talents?’ And that’s how we started. So we put in 250 bucks. We were 5 of us.

That’s Php250 for you. Don’t laugh. She’s serious. It’s the 60’s. Php250 can still go a long way at that time. Multiply Php250 by 5 and Repertory Philippines was born. Tita Baby continued her story as she mentioned feedback upon putting up one of the first theater companies in the Philippines.

Anyway, actually we used to rehearse. We used to beg, borrow, steal rehearsing houses … in schools, wherever we were invited to rehearse. We would beg, borrow, steal costumes and stuff like that. We’d either borrow from different schools or we steal them. But the office was the little beetle Volkswagen of Bibot and that’s how we started.

Apparently the drive was way stronger than the obstacles thrown their way. I can only imagine the kind of struggles they went through. Tita Baby sharing these roots herself  makes you understand better how tough the road to success really turned out to be. And then there’s feedback. Not all good but still worth noting as she shared thoughts about high expectations.

Well in a sense we liked it because when we were doing theater, they were already comparing us to Broadway. And we were saying ‘My gosh! These people who were viewed, these critics! They expect us to be like Broadway! We just started with 250 bucks each! Are they crazy? The car! The office!’

Anyway, then we started doing plays. We opened our season with a Tagalog play which very few people know then. We were called elitists. We were called that we were not Filipino citizens because we were doing just American plays and English plays and musicals and stuff. They don’t know they first play we ever did – sure it was Strindberg, ‘Miss Julie’ – but it was in Tagalog. It was an adaptation.

Repertory Philippines starting out with a Tagalog play. And naysayers have the nerve to say that they are not Filipino. Between them and Tita Baby et al, who managed to establish a legacy anyway? Besides if you really love what you do, not even the scariest storm can scare the crap out of you. That’s when she started sharing about one performance that they decided to push through despite the heavy rain downpour. It happened in the theater where they commonly perform – in the Insular Life building in Makati.

Rep is like a family. And we were in Insular Life for like 25 years in the 12th floor. In the very beginning, we used to pay rental. And one day we were doing ‘Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?’ It was raining cats and dogs! Raining! And we said ‘Are we gonna go through the show tonight?’ And I was playing Virginia Woolf. I was playing Virginia. And I said ‘Yeah. Who knows? There might be an audience.’

Baby Barredo Repertory Philippines Mother - Meet the Family

The water was entering the little Volkswagen. I was steeped in water. We went to the theater. There were, I think, 9 or 10 people in the audience. They outnumbered us. We were 4 onstage, 4 characters. And we did not know that one of the people in the audience was Don Jaime Zobel de Ayala who owns Insular Life. We didn’t know that. And then during the acts, my husband Leo Martinez who played the role of Richard Burton in the movie, he had some kind of an attack or something. So it was between acts. And so we have to call somebody to give him oxygen. There was an oxygen tank but nobody in the Insular Life know how to run that oxygen tank. So my God! You have this oxygen tank for you but you don’t know how to use it now that we need it? And so because of that, he was so impressed with our performance. They didn’t charge us for the theater. And that was our home for 25 years.

Wow! The kind of appreciation that people give you when you decide to push through with a performance heavy rain and sickness be damned. This is a heart-warming part that Tita Baby shared. And the appreciation from the theater community itself is just as heart-warming knowing how most theater companies today come from the roster of students that the Repertory Philippines had in the past.

And they were all trained with us. And I was very touched by Audie Gemora. At the first directorial job of Menchu [Lauchengco-Yulo] was ‘West Side Story‘ that she did for stages of Audie. And she said ‘Tita Baby, can you please come and give me notes? [Etcetera]’. I said ‘Sure. I’d go’. It was in Meralco [Theater] so I went. And then when I was going home, Audie escorted me to the car and said ‘You know, Tita Baby,’ I am very touched, I almost cried, ‘we’re only doing this so that the legacy of Rep goes on’. Isn’t that something?

I was so touched because you see, you think that they’re still there. They are passing it on. And that’s what we really want. Although I dreamed that even if I am not anymore around, that Rep will still go on coz I think Bibot would have wanted that too.

It’s stories like these that really get you thinking how Tita Baby’s efforts in establishing the Philippine theater scene are appreciated. And it all started with the passion everyone harbored as gifted artists. They were frustrated in the beginning sure but at least they did not stop there. They did something about it and now they are reaping the fruits of their hard-earned labor. No wonder everyone is thankful to have Tita Baby around whether to lend a helping hand or be a guiding light to everyone that wanted to keep the legacy of Rep alive.

Baby Barredo Repertory Philippines Mother - Meet the Family

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Recommended theater experience: Osage County by Repertory Philippines

Part of the job of an actor is to watch a lot of theater. I give the play an 8 out of 10.

So I went to watch last production of Repertory Philippines, the number one English theater company of the Philippines.

I was glad to see it was a North American play instead of a British one coz I have a hard time understanding the British accent when I watch regularly to be sincere.
A British man who visited the Philippines told me that us Filipinos have a weird way of faking the British accent. He said we sound like Dick Van Dyke in Marry Poppins coz actors tend to imitate the accent of those days, which differs a lot from the accent of nowadays English citizens. 
Not me tho, coz I can’t catch a British accent at all. I guess that’s why I’m normally type casted as I hear a thousand times. Happy playing my Spanish characters in Filipino films tho. Keep them coming.
I was happy also to see the theater packed with teenager students. Very cool. That means there’s interest among young people, there is hope for straight theater plays in Manila!

The play takes three hours and a half with intermissions, two of them. And you know what? It didn’t seem too long nor I fell asleep even when I went being sleepy.
I still feel it’s weird to watch straight plays with microphones used. I wish the actors could just project their voices and fill up the theater in the natural traditional theater acting way. Coz you know? The acting is different this way. The delivery is theatrical, which differs from TV acting.
I guess there’s not enough actors in the Philippines with enough training to project their voices for theater. Coz I encountered a lot during these two years and a half working here that act with small voices or even whisper in theater as they do in life or screen acting. So I guess directors don’t really miss the projection.
Acting was fantastic. And the stage design by Miguel Faustmann is super realistic and pleasant to see.

Some actors smoke on stage real cigarettes while others have electronic cigars, which is a weird contrast. I propose direction decides one only way for all.
And there was an actor, Richard Cunanan, who I didn’t know and did a fantastic job. Just thought it might be a miss cast coz he is supposed to be at least 60 years old, but seems he’s 30-40. Think it’s a director’s decision tho not to age him probably. A little weird. And I repeat, great believable acting.
A very intense play, a lot of conflicts, tension, I almost even cried with some interpretations from the actors who were concentrated and kept the character intense almost all the time.
A pool of experienced actors really. 
Thankful to see Pinky Amador back on the stage of Rep after 7 years of absence.
Do I recommend it? Yes. Go watch it. And soon you’ll be ablle to compare it with the screen version with Merryl Streep.

Wait Untill the Dark in the Philippines – Theater thriller

Repertory Philippines is back on track to be the leading company of the Philippines.

Get ready to stick on your chair as you get totally embedded, abducted, integrated in the play, coz you will be on track 100% of the time!

Liesl Batucan plays a blind woman with her eyes totally opened and visible for the audience, and she’s totally believable. At the same time she can act all her character’s emotions and thoughts, and those are a lot! So hands down to Miss Liesl Batucan, Rep’s veteran actress.

I can’t reveal much of the plot coz I’ll spoil it for you and you want to watch and experience this good theater production for your self!

Nice raining effect happening on set… watch it 😀

Arnel Carrion was playing the husband’s role and jumped into the interesting role of … OMG, I cannot tell youuuuuu.

The most interesting thing is that it’s so well directed by Miguel Faustmann that you can’t take your eyes off the stage. You can’t expect what’s going to happen next.

A delight to watch all veteran actors on stage, also there for you doing a great job Robbie Guevara, Joel Trinidad, Lorenzo Martinez and the young Dani Gana.

That’s it. Catch it ON STAGE at Greenbelt 1, Makati, Manila.

Why to watch Boeing Boeing by Repertory Philippines?

My very personal recommendations to watch this new theater play in Manila.

Coz Repertory Philippines is 46 years old. The longest running English theater company in the Philippines, they started it all. And most theater companies nowadays are founded by Rep members.

Coz Baby Barredo, the diva of Philippine theater is on stage again after 3 years, watch the experience in action!

Coz there’s an amazing cast of new and pretty faces.

Coz you can enjoy different accents if you are into that kind of stuff fetish 😀 American, German, Italian…

All directed by Miguel Faustmann, another theater legend who has been in Rep Phils forever.

Leaded by David Bianco who is also the lead of Marco Polo the musical, rehearsing with me everyday 😀

Coz there’s a new actress who just arrived from Singapore. Who was in the TV serie The Kitchen musical. Who is the girlfriend of Christian Bautista (if you love chismes). Who is a radio host in the mornings (89.9FM I was told). That is a real master class of acting and totally steals the show. Concentrated, in character and with a great corporal theater training that shows in every move. She is Carla Dunareanu.

Cast completed by beautiful and talented Giannina Ocampo and Jennifer Blair-Bianco as Bianco’s lovers and Topper Fabregas. More of them all in this link.

Why to watch Camp Rock the musical in the Philippines

Coz Nel Gomez is awesome in his role, you sure know him from TV. Now he strarts a solo singer career and I’m sure Camp Rock helps him a lot coz he really gets to showcase his dancing, acting and singing.

Coz Repertory Philippines is the longest English running company in the Philippines (45 years old) and this is their 413th production. They and PETA started long time ago.

Coz Ms. Baby Barredo, the founder of Rep and theater legend, gave pointers personally several times to the performers.

Coz it’s directed by Audie Gemora, director of High School musical, so if you love that one, you’ll love this one.

Coz you can see live cute Markki Stroem. Actor also in Slumber Party the movie we both open Nov 29.

Coz the cast is full of energy and first time super happy performers. I’m glad I made a good job announcing the auditions so lots of youngsters came.

Coz the costumes are by Raven Ong and he’s always a sure bet. Check the costumes in Wizard of OZ, amazing. We met doing Peter Pan the musical in Meralco theater, he totally nailed it there as well.

Coz it’s a cute story about romance and following your passion. I always enjoy films and plays of people who work hard and succeed.

Coz there’s a cool dance challenge offered by Justin Valiente to Nel Gomez.

Coz Morissette, the female lead is so pretty aside from singing great, nice belting. And acts in a very believable way.

Coz you will laugh a lot with the acting of Jeff Flores. Never met him, and I really look forward to watching him again or working with him in the future.

Coz it’s full of pretty people. Did I say with  A LOT OF ENERGY? Like Justine Peña. 😀 personal crush.

Another important discovery as an actress for me is Kiara Dario. She’s only 14 years old and OMG, there is an actress there. Super talented. Lets all follow her career from now on.

Don’t wanna leave out good performers and friends coz there are so many so I won’t detail anymore. Good job!

Coz there’s a lot of shows you can still watch. Check all of the performances here: