If you’re the sort of person who spends on a movie a week, or two cocktail drinks on a Friday night, or a pair of shoes every month, you can spend as much for a night of theater. And while that seems to be a strange ex-deal, there’s no harm in trying out something different once in a while. In fact, we promise you that watching a stage play or musical is worth including in your list of things to do on a lazy weekend or a ladies’ night out (or on date night!). Here are some hints to help you out if you’re just beginning your experience of local theater. There’s no better time to start than now.
Know your theater company. To get into the groove of things, it would do you well to do some research of the more prominent and prolific theater companies. There’s Tanghalang Pilipino and PETA which mostly do originals plays and adaptations in Filipino; and there’s Repertory Philippines which is more famous for its adaptations of foreign productions. There are of course the smaller companies: New Voice’s claim to fame is its staging of the Vagina Monologues; Trumpets is famous for its Christian musicals; university theater groups like Dulaang U.P. meanwhile remain interesting with theater legends like Anton Juan and Tony Mabesa still at its helm.
To be on the safe side, pick the play by the theater company that’s most familiar to you, and whose artists and productions seem most interesting. You can never go wrong when you begin with a liking for something; in that case, enjoyment is easy to expect.
Have an open mind. It might seem strange, but while you should do some research when choosing plays to watch, may also be a good idea not to read too much. Instead of reading a review, look for the official website of the production—this will give you a backgrounder instead of someone else’s opinion. The goal is to create your own experience of theater, versus having someone taint it with his or her personal ideas. In the end, you may agree or disagree with that reviewer, but what you thought of the production will be solely based on what you experienced, not what somebody else did.
The proper attitude. Theater is generally considered to be a pastime for the elite, but in truth, there’s nothing here that should make you feel uncomfortable. Unless you’re watching on opening night, casual everyday wear is appropriate. As it is when you watch a movie, taking pictures or videos aren’t allowed, and mobile phones or other gadgets are expected to be kept on silent. In theater, the silences are as important as the dialogue, so be sure to keep conversations to a minimum. There are intermissions for stepping out to smoke or to go to the comfort room, so resist the urge to get up in the middle of a big scene.
In the end, focus on the show that’s about to unfold in front of you, and allow yourself to be carried away. Who knows, going to the theater to watch a play or musical may become part and parcel of your life. And believe it or not, this will expand your horizons beyond imagination.
If you’re looking for a chance to ease into theater, you can check out 9 Works Theatrical's version of Rent, the popular musical that made the number of minutes in a year (525,600, in case you didn’t know) common knowledge. The opening matinee will be held at the Carlos P. Romulo Theater in RCBC Plaza, Makati, on February 3, at 3:30PM. Call (0920) 914-8175 or email firstname.lastname@example.org to reserve tickets.
(Photo source: sxc.hu)