Leonor Orosa-Goquingco’s one act play ‘Her Son, Jose Rizal’ was shown over four nights at the Tom Mann Theatre in Surry Hills, Sydney. Hurrah for Director Armando Reyes and his cast of budding thespians. Truly a commendable job. It was fine, simple, clean theater. RJ Rosales, as Rizal, carried the performance magnificently.
RJ Rosales and Kate Andres at the Gala performance Photo Credit: Craig Peihopa
Orosa-Goquingco’s play is brief and seeks to encapsulate the human drama between Rizal’s mother Donã Teodora and her son Jose, as well as the relationships between Jose and his brother Paciano and sister Soledad. The short play offers viewers a primer on Rizal, connecting and telescoping events in perhaps too convenient a manner for those who would seek to understand Rizal on a broader, deeper and more ideological level. But as a way of introducing the national hero to an audience totally unfamiliar with Rizal, it is at least a beginning.
The young Jose 'Pepe' Rizal with Father Lopez and his mom Photo: Craig Peihopa
Take Rizal’s human side, for example, Orosa-Goquingco does not tell us much about Rizal’s relationship with Leonor; and poor Josephine Bracken gets no mention. Neither does the play elaborate on Rizal’s ideological ideas and activities, not the content of his poems, novels and essays.
But of course there has been a great deal written about Rizal for those who want to pursue these matters. You will find biographies galore, and movies as well. One of his novels has been turned into an opera. And now there is the more recent musical ala Broadway entitled ‘Sino Ka Ba, Jose Rizal?’ (shades of Jesus Christ Superstar). In fact, RJ Rosales’s finale (Adios Patria Adorada) is from this musical.
Our congratulations again to all those who gave the Filipino community in Sydney a touch of much needed pride with this presentation of ‘Her Son, Jose Rizal’. This is just what the Filipino community in Australia needs, a bit of class in the cultural front. We look forward to more from this theatre group.
- BY DING ROCES (Read his great blog on dingrocespo.blogspot.com)
And the award goes to…
The FAC (Fine Artists Collaboration) hosted a lively evening of camaraderie to celebrate the successful stage production of ‘Her Son, Jose Rizal’. The victory get-together was held at Lidcombe Community Centre on 26 June with buffet dinner and musical programme organised by Armando Reyes, director of the production, assisted by Albert Dimarucut, Neria Soliman, Albert Prias and Charles Chan.
Elijah Merjudio and Sally Anolin-Clark at the Sunday matinee. Photo credit: Bob Reyes
Highlight of the evening was the awarding of (LOGA) Leonor Orosa-Goquinco Awards through the secret voting of the Best Male Actor and Best Female Actress. Three top nominees from both categories were deliberated by the five secret judges who attended the four- day showing. They decided who to award the trophies, which were donated by Kate Andres, one of the lead cast member as Dona Teodora and associate producer of the stage play.
ELIJAH MERJUDIO, acting as the young Rizal, won Best Male Actor, while REIANNE URQUEZA as the young Soledad won Best Female.
The three top nominees for the BEST MALE PERFORMERS were BOB MENDOZA as Father Lopez, ANGELO REFUERZO as Paciano and Elijah. For the BEST FEMALE PERFORMERS, the top three were ALA PAREDES as Soledad, Reianne as young Soledad and SALLY ANOLIN-Clark as Dona Teodora during the matinee.
The matinee performers had more reasons to celebrate because the cast boasts of more performers nominated as best actors and actresses. Nominee Anolin- Clark had numerous supporters who clamoured for a repeat performance.
- BY NERIA SOLIMAN