Author: Emil Hofileña (Emil Hofileña)

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‘The Reconciliation Dinner’ provides much-needed post-election catharsis

When it comes to “The Reconciliation Dinner,” Floy Quintos’ play on two families at odds with each other’s political views throughout the 2022 national elections, there is a clear target audience: middle- and upper-middle-class Filipinos who spent the past year tiptoeing through uncomfortable or openly hostile political discussions with loved ones. To those who can relate, this production feels like catharsis, with a clarity of information and...


Peta’s ‘Walang Aray’ balances light drama with spectacular music

The sentiment that drives the Philippine Educational Theater Association’s (Peta) full production of “Walang Aray”—itself a comedic adaptation of Severino Reyes’ 19th-century zarzuela “Walang Sugat”—is a triumphant one. From its title to its celebratory tone, the production proudly announces itself as Peta’s return to live theater unscathed, emphasizing that nothing can replace the experience of...


‘Carousel’ takes old-fashioned values into the present day

Nearly 80 years since Richard Rodgers and Oscar Hammerstein II’s “Carousel” was first performed on Broadway, the main challenge of restaging this classic musical has become less about creating great performances or doing justice to its score, and more about providing insight into the subject of domestic violence.  Handled poorly, this dark love story between poor carnival barker Billy Bigelow (Gian Magdangal) and innocent mill...


‘Anak Datu’ preserves cultural memory through contradiction

You really wouldn’t be able to tell based solely on its colorful, toy-themed promotional materials, but Tanghalang Pilipino’s “Anak Datu” is a work of proud defiance that speaks to today’s concerns of historical denialism in a direct, patient, and intelligent way.  The play, written by Rody Vera, tells several tales about Muslim Mindanao all at once—including that of the original short story by National Artist Abdulmari Imao; anecdotes about real-life tragedies...


‘Mula sa Buwan’ switches its focus from past to future

It’s easy to get “Cyrano de Bergerac” wrong. If you overstate its romance and its inherently ridiculous premise, this story of a cartoonishly long-nosed soldier helping a young cadet woo the woman they both love can come off as frivolous. To an extent, this is how I felt about the 2016 production of “Mula sa...