These two companies differ simply by the plays that they’ve produced. 9Works Theatrical’s last two productions late last year were crowd pleasers Disney’s Newsies and A Christmas Carol. While Sandbox Collective have staged innovative productions such as “The Imaginarium” and “No Filter”.
9Works Theatrical’s Managing Director and Executive producer Santi Santamaria have been searching for a Filipino original to stage. It just so happens that Ed Lacson Jr. along with Vince de Jesus have been working on Himala’s script for the past 3 years with only a production company missing in the equation. Santamaria took on the role of co-producing Himala along with The Sandbox Collective believing in Lacson Jr.’s vision for Himala. “When he [Ed] was talking to us about Himala he already has a vision of how he wants to stage Himala. He felt really confident about it” said Santamaria.
Ed Lacson Jr. will be directing this restaging of Himala. When asked how this version sets itself apart from its other versions Lacson says “The tendency when you do a restaging is for you to go bigger and more spectacular. To me I wanted it to go simpler and to distill it, to really find the strength in the story and the characters.” He adds “[this version is] simpler but I hope its as powerful as its other versions”. Using only what is necessary in terms of design, music and other aspects of the production.
The production is still in its early stages of rehearsal. It was only this Sunday that 9Works Theatrical’s company manager Anna Santamaria’s saw the first run-through of the play. “My goodness lahat kami umiiyak so we know its can be special and we’re really gunning for a great show.” she shared. She shares the same sentiments about the first run-through with the cast. Aicelle Santos (Rak of Aegis / Ang Lawarawan) who will play the role of Elsa, while overwhelmed by the role she’s taken, admitted that at this point of the rehearsals she’s still in the process of finding her character. Bituin Escalante who plays Nanay Saling could not even begin to describe which parts of the play she found most compelling as she would have different scenes eat at her thoughts after each rehearsal.
The cast is composed of Kakki Teodoro as Nimia; Neomi Gonzalez as Chayong; Sandino Martin as Pilo, David Ezra as Orly; Omar Uddin, Jenny Villegas, Glenda Liao, Cristy Peredo, Matel Patayon, Sigrid Balbas, Hazel Maranan, Raflesia Bravo, Roxy Aldiosa, EJ Pepito, Joshua Cabiladas, Kits Falcis, Roby Malubay, Gary Junsay, Mano Domingo, Neil Tolentino, Eizel Marcelo, and Jasper Jimenez.
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