REVIEW: Artist Playground’s “The Riddle of the Sphinx”
Artist Playground is a revolutionary new company founded by some of the most talented local artists in the 7 fields of art- Roeder Camanag (two-time Aliw Best Stage Actor), Jesse Lucas (multi-awarded composer), Jose Jeffrey Camanag (multi-theater artist who dabbles on singing, acting, dancing, choreographing, production designing, writing, and directing), Nasser Lubay (esteemed visual artist), Ricky Gallardo (award-winning lifestyle and entertainment journalist), and Paul Jake Paule (actor, director and workshop facilitator). The six of them have managed to set up a real playground for the artist- a place where they can hone new talents, experiment with new material, and educate young audiences.
The venue they’ve chosen is intimate- 1701 The Little Room Upstairs at Lansdale Towers, Mother Ignacia Ave can only seat around 30 people at most. It is really meant for exploration, discovery and experimentation, much like how Broadway shows are being workshopped in The Fringe before staging it to the mainstream audience. The group encourages audiences to give feedback and share in the experience of successfully staging the short plays (usually 30 minutes long) through talkbacks and Q&A’s after the shows. With artistic director Roeder Camanag at the helm, together with multi-awarded composer Jesse Lucas, it is the perfect place for budding playwrights, composers, and actors to go to and try out their own new and/or original material. Actors who want to seek out new roles after being type-casted into a certain type of character for so long can also collaborate with the company to try out something different.
Their first production is The Riddle of the Sphinx, a play written by Eugenio Deriada and translated into Filipino by Jim Bergado. Up-and-coming artists Ace Urieta and Shiela Espina play Young Man and Young Woman respectively. For 30 minutes, they dramatically answer the riddle of the sphinx by portraying the story of man from adolescence until old age. It is original work played by two talented, fresh faces in the industry. If these are the kinds of actors and the kinds of material that the company will be developing, it will surely have a bright future ahead.
The Riddle of the Sphinx will be showing on July 4, 11, 18, and 25 (3pm, 5pm and 7pm) at 1701 The Little Room Upstairs, Landsdale Tower, Mother Ignacia Ave, QC.