Concepcion And Ma├▒alac Alternate As Alan Strang In Repertory Philippines┬' EQUUS, 7/9-7/25
Repertory Philippines, a premier professional theatre company that recently staged Stephen Sondheim's "Sweeney Todd" and Mark Saltzman's "Romeo & Bernadette", ends its current season on a high by restaging its old '70s hit play in Peter Shaffer's riveting psychological drama "Equus". Seasoned theatre actor but first-time straight play director Audie Gemora ("Sweeney Todd", "Man of La Mancha") assembles a powerhouse cast in this incarnation of Shaffer's masterpiece headlined by two young and promising thespians Red Concepcion ("Altar Boyz", "Romeo & Bernadette") and Marco Mañalac ("Nickelodeon", "Myx VJ Search") alternating as the deeply disturbed seventeen-year-old Alan Strang.
In "Equus", psychiatrist Martin Dysart meets his most challenging case in Alan Strang who has been charged with the crime of blinding six horses by gouging out their eyes. As the play unravels, one realizes that beneath the surface of the crime lies another dimension of the human psyche more terrifying than what it seems to be.
Avid theatre-goers in London and on Broadway had recently revisited the conflicting rhetorical worlds of Doctor Dysart and Strang when "Equus" was revived with Daniel Radcliffe of "Harry Potter" film series fame, which requires full-frontal nudity in two important scenes.
Like Daniel, Repertory Philippines' actors Red and Marco are bold enough and ready to face the challenges of the material and their adult audiences by opening night Friday, July 9, 2010.
"Everyone in the cast has been so good to me - I know they are all really famous and great, and yet they each take his or her time to help me out, suggesting how I do a scene. It makes me feel so relaxed and it gives me a lot of confidence knowing they are there with me," said Marco, who is both terrified and excited about his theatre debut.
In contrast to Marco, Red is seen in several Repertory Philippines productions, which should make him an "old pro". But not in this play. He doesn't feel totally comfortable at all with his role. Not that he doesn't like it - in fact, it is a challenge to him. Alan Strang is the anti-thesis of all the other roles he has done, which were mostly wholesome "cotton candy" characters.
"The character of Alan is unpredictable. He is not crazy in the conventional way most people think of "crazy". It's just that he has this unbridled (pardon the pun) passion that terrifies convention. He goes on: Taking on the role of Alan has been a challenge. I usually think of my stuff before I go onstage, like I already have everything planned out. But in this case, it's all blank. Our director tells me to go free fall, and be in the moment, and not think about what I'm supposed to do next. It's like a child having a tantrum - it's unplanned and the only thing the child knows is he's going to catch attention and the tantrum will work - that's what Alan is," said Red.
In this new production of "Equus", Red and Marco are joined onstage by theatre veterans Tami Monsod as Dora Strang, Jaime del Mundo as Frank Strang, Miguel Faustmann as Martin Dysart, Roselyn Perez as Hesther Salomon, Dido dela Paz as Harry Dalton, and Pheona Baranda as Jill Mason.