I walked into The Tempest Reimagined with only the vaguest idea of what the story was about. I already expected to drown in Shakespeare’s words like an inexperienced person was wont to do, but PETA’s masterfully written adaptation always managed to pull me back to shore.
Weaving two different stories from two different cultures, worlds (fiction vs. real life), and eras could not have been an easy feat, but the team behind The Tempest Reimagined made it look like a walk in the park. Special mention to Norbs Portales as the fisherman Jaime, who provided slivers of wisdom and laughter as the show’s narrator. He also tugged at my heartstrings toward the end of the show. (In short, umiyak ako.)
Topper Fabregas was hilarious, especially when he momentarily traded his Trinculo character to portray a masked foreign aid “god.” Kuya Bodjie Pascua‘s portrayal as Papa Bons was heartfelt and inspiring as usual. Seeing him in 3 Stars & a Sun in March made me want to watch him on stage again, so thanks, show! John Moran did a awesome job portraying the “monster” Caliban, while Neomi Gonzales, Gabriela Pangilinan, and Gio Gahol were enchanting as the elemental spirit Ariel. I’m a sucker for music so I always loved it when they played the instruments and sang. I wished there were more of that, actually.
I’ve always loved how PETA designs their stages, and The Tempest Reimagined‘s stage was no different. Almost bereft of color, the dominantly white stage was a great backdrop for the vibrant characters of the play. I also appreciated how functional everything was on stage, especially toward the end when the characters were, quite literally, building something new out of the ruins.
The play’s run was pretty limited (it closed yesterday, December 4th), and it made me sad to see a lot of empty seats when we came to watch. I hope this doesn’t discourage the company from bringing this closer to the viewing masses, one way or another. Every story needs to be seen and heard, and this one, most expecially, needs to be put out there for many others to enjoy and learn from.
PETA Theater’s The Tempest Reimagined was a magical attempt at putting Shakespeare in a perspective more relatable to the Filipino viewing public. It wasn’t perfect, but it was heart-wrenching and inspiring all the same. Kudos to everyone who made this production possible! Congratulations!