02BEB: Carousel Without a Carousel

Sunday In-Person Sariwon

Metro Manila Community Quarantine - Day 995

In 2020, I purchased the Repertory Philippines Season Pass for three shows, as has become my habit in recent years. Tobie and I got to watch the first of the plays, Stage Kiss, shortly before the lockdowns began. The pandemic killed the second play, Anna in the Tropics, although I don't think I ever bothered to request a refund for that since I was worried about the theater company's long-term viability given the pandemic uncertainty. 

So it was a bit of a surprise when they announced that they'd finally push through with the staging of Carousel, the third of the plays from the 2020 season. Since I still had our Season Pass tickets, we actually just had to confirm when we'd be watching and that was that. And I've really been looking forward to this ever since we confirmed our attendance. It's just so nice to have live theater performances again.

Today we made the trek to the CCP's newer Tanghalang Ignacio Gimenez, more conventionally known as the Blackbox Theater. This was our first time watching a play here and the small theater was not quite what I expected for a Repertory production. But the fact that they had the audience sitting around the stage (somewhat similar to the PETA Theater), was already a clue that this wasn't going to be a conventional production. 

The show was okay, but a little weird. It was one of those more avant-garde theatrical experiences and that felt like a weird approach for such a classic Rodgers and Hammerstein musical. Thus we had a very minimal set, a mish-mash of clothes as costumes, and occasional fourth wall breaks including the use of mobile phones and some audience interaction.

It wasn't what we were expecting, but it was definitely memorable. But I won't lie - I do hope their next regular season of plays will be a bit less experimental.