Tanghalang Pilipino (TP) and the Japan Foundation, Manila, in partnership with the Cultural Center of the Philippines (CCP) present Manila Notes, a Philippines-Japan theater collaboration, staged as a TP 32nd season production from 30 November to 16 December 2018, Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays, at 3 p.m. and 8 p.m., at the CCP Tanghalang Aurelio Tolentino (Little Theater).
To make sure that the Japanese material communicates well with the local Filipino audience, the Palanca Hall of Fame writer Rody Vera has been working with Hirata on the adaptation together with the 20 leading Filipino actors
The play is the adaptation of Tokyo Notes, written by internationally acclaimed Japanese playwright and director Oriza Hirata. The play is one of the most critically acclaimed works of Hirata, which has been translated into 13 languages for productions in many cities around the world. It has also created artistic collaborations and cultural exchanges through adaptations such as Seoul Notes (2004), Taipei Notes (2017) and Bangkok Notes (2017).
To make sure that the Japanese material communicates well with the local Filipino audience, the Palanca Hall of Fame writer Rody Vera has been working with Hirata on the adaptation together with the 20 leading Filipino actors. Hirata introduced to the actors his acting style called “contemporary colloquial theater theory,” which is entirely different from Western acting techniques.
This technique, created by Hirata to counter the traditional loud theater seen in Japan, has been received by the world to great acclaim. This, apart from the stellar cast and artistic staff, gives the audience another great reason to watch this acclaimed production.
The artistic team, actors and production staff have been actively involved in the process of creating a brand-new type of theater practice through workshops, rehearsals and discussions. Lastly, the set design is also a collaboration by an acclaimed Japanese set designer, Itaru Sugiyama and select theater practitioners and students in Manila.
The story and people behind the play
Adapted from Tokyo Notes — which was inspired by Yasujiro Ozu’s film Tokyo Story — the story of Manila Notes takes place in the lobby of an art museum in Manila sometime in the near future. A major war is being waged in Europe and many paintings have been moved to the various cities in Asia. In front of such paintings, family members, friends and lovers continue their fragmentary conversations on taking care of their aging parents, inheritance, future careers and love, among others.
With the backdrop of a distant war, the play clearly portrays how Filipinos live their everyday lives, which reveal a whole range of problem and crisis of our modern society.
Born in 1962 in Tokyo, Hirata is a playwright and theater director. He is the leader of the Seinendan theater company, as well as the artistic director of the Komaba Agora Theater and Kinosaki International Arts Center. He is also a research professor at Tokyo University of the Arts Center of Innovation and a visiting professor at Osaka University and Shikoku Gakuin University. He is one of the most influential figures in contemporary Japanese theater, working regularly with international artists, notably in France, with Frederic Fisbach, Arnaud Meunier and Laurent Gutmann.
Born in 1962, in Tokyo, Prof. Oriza Hirata is a playwright and theater director.
As a propagator of the contemporary colloquial theater in Japan, he wrote nearly 30 plays — among them Tokyo Notes (1995 Kishida Kunio Drama Award) and Citizens of Seoul. Among many other awards, he was honored by France’s Ministry of Culture with the insignia of “Chevalier of the Order of Arts and Letters” in 2011.
Manila Notes boasts of the some of the most versatile performers on the Philippine stage today: Meann Espinosa, a Philippine Educational Theater Association actor and Mayen Estanero, a TP Actors Company alumna, lead the cast, which also include some of theater’s finest: Former TP artistic director Dennis Marasigan, Gie Onida, Ian Segarra, J-Mee Katanyag, Neomi Gonzales, Wenah Nagales, Kathlyn Castillo, Randy Villarama and Elle Velasco.
Together with them are some of the members of the TP Actors Company: Jonathan Tadioan, Marco Viaña, Lhorvie Nuevo, Antonette Go, Joshua Tayco and Manok Nellas. The young, talented actors from different