Red Turnip Theater Explores Identity in an Intriguing Fourth Season


After spending a season travelling outwards – venturing to different countries, and exploring possibilities across and unhindered by the realms of time and space – in its critically-acclaimed productions of Moisés Kaufman’s 33 Variations and Nick Payne’s Constellations, Red Turnip Theater pauses and glances inwards to find its fourth season

At the press conference for its new season held last June 21, Red Turnip Theater presented its line-up for what is shaping up to be a fascinating new season.

The company’s fourth season will consist of Nina Raine’s Tribes and Jennifer Haley’s The Nether. Notably, the award-winning playwrights are the first female playwrights whose works will be brought to life on stage by the company.

Tribes

The Nether

Both plays address the central theme and topic of Red Turnip’s fourth season, identity, by showing how identity is found and established within and outside of a physical community.

The season opens with TRIBES, a family comedy-drama centered on a deaf young man who was raised in a household where he was forbidden by his hearing family from learning sign language. His life turns around when he meets a woman who was raised in a deaf family, and is beginning to lose her hearing.

Abroad, the play has garnered an abundance of recognitions including nominations for the Lucille Lortel Awards, Outer Critics Circle awards, Drama League awards, and the Olivier Awards, and was awarded a Drama Desk award, New York Drama Critics Circle award and an Off-Broadway Alliance award.

Red Turnip Theater’s Tribes is being directed by Topper Fabregas, with a powerhouse cast consisting of Kalil Almonte, Angela Padilla, Cris Pasturan, Teroy Guzman, Dolly de Leon and Thea Yrastoraza.

Tribes
L-R: Teroy Guzman, Cris Pasturan, Dolly de Leon, Kalil Almonte, Angela Padilla, Thea Yrastorza, Topper Fabregas

In preparation for the requirements of the show, the cast is receiving instruction in Filipino Sign Language (FSL) from De La Salle-College of Saint Benilde’s John Xandre Baliza. On the challenge of learning FSL for the show, Almonte, who plays Billy in the show, remarked, “Para siyang choreography.”

On using specifically FSL in the show, director Topper Fabregas said,

“Red Turnip has always made sure to make each play feel immediate to anyone who enters our space, and rooted in the culture we live in. TRIBES is going to be Pinoy.”

Red Turnip also teased subtitled performances of Tribes in order to make the show more accessible to deaf and hard-of-hearing audiences.

Performances of Tribes will begin in early August and end in September at the Power Mac Center Spotlight Theater.

(READ: Red Turnip Theater Launches Fourth Season with Tribes)

THE NETHER caps off Red Turnip Theater’s fourth season. The play is described as both a “serpentine crime drama” and a “haunting sci-fi thriller” where the Web has evolved into a tangible, habitable environment where different, sometimes unsavory, fantasies flourish unrestricted by the rules of the “real” world.

The show is set to have Ana Abad Santos at the helm, with Jenny Jamora and TJ Trinidad leading the cast.

The Nether
L-R: Jenny Jamora, TJ Trinidad, Ana Abad Santos

The cast members were hesitant to give away more details about the plot and their roles because the “thriller” nature of the play requires suspense, but Trinidad offered that upon reading, the play felt “very dark.”

In terms of the feel of the material, Abad Santos likened The Nether to the 1982 Ridley Scott cult film Blade Runner (starring Harrison Ford) because of their shared hybridized detective noir-science fiction style. She also teased her interest in incorporating Japanese art into the aesthetic of the production, particularly that school of art’s reliance on symbolism.

The Nether opens in March 2017 at the Power Mac Center Spotlight Theater.

Red Turnip Theater
Clockwise: Angela Padilla, Cris Villonco, Topper Fabregas, Ana Abad Santos, Cris Pasturan, Dolly de Leon, Teroy Guzman, Thea Yrastorza, Kalil Almonte, Rem Zamora, Jenny Jamora, TJ Trinidad

Besides its main line-up for the season, Red Turnip also confirmed that a “0.5” production (similar to their staging of Kenneth Lonergan’s This Is Our Youth last year) is in the works, but it would still be keeping the material under wraps to finalize more details, and that the official announcement can be expected after Tribes.

Red Turnip Theater has an exciting new season laid out, and everyone is invited to take part in this inward journey through their new roster of offerings.

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