Tanghalang Pilipino’s latest production “Ang Pag-uusig,” a Jerry Respeto translation of Arthur Miller’s “The Crucible,” has been earning rave reviews since it opened last September 29. It runs until October 22 at the Tanghalang Huseng Batute of the Cultural Center of the Philippines.
“Ang Pag-uusig” talks about a town’s search for truth and fight against paranoia, farmer John Proctor’s quest to protect his family, and his name amidst his sins, John’s wife Elizabeth’s effort to keep her family together, and ‘mistress’ Abigail William’s journey to fight for her obsession with John.
“Ang Pag-uusig” benefits big time from director Dennis Marasigan’s clear and masterful direction. This is very evident in Ohm David’s minimalist stage design, and the way the actors are blocked in every scene.
“Ang Pag-uusig” is affecting, and haunting in its quiet moments, but truly heart-wrenching during its intense scenes. Much of this effect can be attributed to the immense artistry of the members of the Tanghalang Pilipino Actor’s Company.
JV Ibesate was given his biggest onstage break as John Proctor, and his dedication, hard work, and sensitivity is on full display during the play. JV has also showcased his wide range as an actor. He was stern, and proud during his banters with Reverend Parris (snootily played by Marco Viana), regretful, and guilt-laden when confronted by wife Elizabeth (Doray Dayao), and sexy and vulnerable when “attacked” by Abigail.
During the first act, JV’s John Proctor was subtle, controlled, but when pushed to the wall during the second act, JV lets everything out – John’s fears, guilt, tears, soul, and even life.
JV’s take on John Proctor leaves hearts broken after the two-hour-show.
JV’s intensity is matched by the scheming Abigail (Toni Go) who was both seductive, manipulative. Her “possession” scene is nerve-wracking, and shameless.
Doray’s Elizabeth is a good anti-thesis to the intensity of “Ang Pag-uusig.” She was subtle, broken, but very affecting.
Lhorvie Nuevo’s versatility is highlighted in her two roles - the playful, impressionable Mary Warren, and the play’s voice of wisdom Rebecca Nurse, and she played both roles with aplomb.
Perhaps the most seasoned member of the Tanghalang Pilipino Actor’s Company, Jonathan Tadioan essayed Deputy Governor Danforth with apparent confidence, and affecting vulnerability.
“Ang Pag-uusig” is really a great showcase for the Actor’s Company, and congratulations are in order for other cast members – Joshua Tayco, Monique Nellas, Aldo Vencilao, Eunice Pacia, Ybes Bagadiong, and Blance Buhia.
“Ang Pag-uusig” is undeniably TIMELY and POWERFUL. It is the kind of production that engages, and then leaves audience in an awkward, yet introspective state.
“Ang Pag-uusig” leaves a haunting, lingering effect long after the stage lights have dimmed.
For tickets, call 832 3704 or 891 9999 or get tickets online via https://www.ticketworld.com.ph