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February 9, 2013

Rody Vera's "D Wonder Twins of Boac" runs at the PETA Theater Center

Award-winning Filipino playwright Rody Vera retells "Twelfth Night," William Shakespeare's comedy of errors in the Philippine Educational Theater Association's (PETA) comedy-musical, "D Wonder Twins of Boac."

Shakespeare's ancient Illyria and the 60's rock 'n' roll era in Manila seem to lack similarities, but the fact that Vera--who is skilled in the craft--is able to do a fitting adaptation only proves the universality of Shakespeare's work as it resonates in another time.

Vera's latest opus, "D Wonder Twins of Boac" maintains "Twelfth Night's" theme of mistaken identity as Shakespeare's lovers and dukes turn into studio producers who regard themselves as royalty and their stable of stars as their minions. The new setting is the 60's Philippine film industry, with two competing studios Campanilla Pictures and BLV Studios.

"D Wonder Twins of Boac" focuses on the story of two aspiring talents from Marinduque, twins named Viola (Cris Villonco) and Bastian (Chrome Cosio), who were separated in an unfortunate shipwreck going to Manila. 

Driven by her dream to make it big in showbiz and believing her brother to be dead, Viola disguises herself as a boy and auditions to become the 'Elvis' of Campanilla Pictures owned by Doc Orsino (essayed by Bodjie Pascua, alternating with Lex Marcos). Doc Orsino hires Viola (now disguised as Ceasar) and becomes his boy friday. Eventually, her disguise causes numerous complications when she falls in love with Doc Orsino, while Donya Olivia (Shamaine Buencamino), the unresponsive object of Doc Orsino, falls madly in love with her.

Vera reveals that the play also speaks of his personal experience and memory of the 60's, "Part of my childhood is about lining up in Life Theater to watch the next film release of Sampaguita and Vera-Perez Pictures."
Director Maribel Legarda describes Vera's adaptation as one that "taps into a core conflict that plagues the film industry" as the musical tackles the age-old debate of commercial versus artistic films.

"The decline of the studios in the 60's allows us to dramatize a most serious concern as though it were something to laugh about," Vera adds.
"D Wonder Twins of Boac" not only experiments with contrasting eras and tackles the fine line dividing drama and comedy, it also illustrates the inner workings and complex tapestry of the Philippine film industry.

The ensemble includes: Phillip Lazaro, Gino Ramirez, Paolo Rodriguez, Carlon Matobato, Riki Benedicto, Gie Onida, Eric dela Cruz, Roi Calilong, Kiki Baento, Kat Castillo, Tricia Huseña, and Divine Aucina.

The play's music is by PETA's young composer-arranger Jeff Hernandez, with choreography by PETA Senior member Carlon Matobato, set design actor-designer Lex Marcos, costumes by New York-based  Filipino designer John Abul, with lighting by seasoned designer Jon Jon Villareal.

Rody Vera's "D Wonder Twins of Boac" runs at the PETA Theater Center from February 1 to March 3 (Friday-Sunday). Ticket prices are Php 800 for VIP and Php 600 for regular admission. For reservations, 891-9999, 725-6244, 0917-5765400,

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