Cunning, Provocative and Masterfully done- These phrases came to mind after I’ve witnessed the Preview of MButterfly last September 12, 2018 at the Maybank Performing Arts Theater.
Produced by Tony-winning producer Jhett Tolentino and directed by no less than Kanakan Balintagos, MButterfly finds its way back to Manila after its first staging at the Wilfrido Ma. Guerrero Theater , UP Diliman.Reprising his role as Song Liling, RS Francisco recalls that it is one major role that definitely solidified his acting capabilities under now Professor Emeritus Tony Mabesa who directed it in the 90’s when RS was just 18 years of age alongside Behn Cervantes as Gallimard.
As RS recalls it, he said that he was at first reluctant to take on the role of Song Liling but with the help of his mentors finally decided to give the role a try.Later on, he didn’t realize that he would have the chance to do it again hence the 2018 re-staging of the play.Playing alongside RS is Frenchman Olivier Borten as Rene Gallimard, Pinky Amador as Helga, Norman McLeod as Toulon , Lee O Brien as Marc/Pinkerton , Mayen Estanero as
Ms. Shin , Maya Encila as Rene/Pin up girl and Rica Nepomuceno COpera Singer).The stage was superbly done and space was maximized.It is indeed a task done tastefully as the play requires it.
RS never lost the spark. Every movement of his hands, every nod, every wink was exquisite.
Indeed if there was one thing that stood out in his performance was the fact that he can engage the audience in the way he entices and lures them in his character as Song Liling- cunning, deceptive, gentle yet boldly strong.
Borten on his part did his role with intricacy- every action on point whilst ensuring that the flow of his acting is kept cohesive.I was pleasantly surprised with Lee O’ Brien as transitioning from the big screen on stage requires quite some adaptability. I am impressed by Maya Encila as Rene.This beautiful young lady definitely knows her angles and knows how to act boldly with finesse.
Overall, I love the fact that the main essence of MButterfly has been kept but putting quite a twist at the end kept me wanting more.They were able to bring about something new to the table and to me that was quite a bold move- timely and relevant so to speak.I loved the elaborate costumes and the excellent way how the props were brought together on stage with coherence ( thanks to the people wearing black costumes) who made each scene transition seamless.
Would I watch it again? I will for sure as it is able to present something that the Pinoy audience could truly be proud of .I am sure that when David Henry Hwang sees it, he will be at awe of
one of the best plays he’d ever written.The subject of espionage is interesting because it present a struggle- as to how a plan can be carried out without getting caught.And what better way to do it than mimicry- the act of blending in to make sure that you get to survive in tricking the enemy.
If you’re looking for something creatively done, something that would keep you wanting more, I suggest you head to the Maybank Performing arts Theater and watch MButterfly. The play runs from September 13, 2018 until the 30th of September.