In a span of one year, Red Turnip Theater has made its mark in the Philippine theater scene. The band of five actors that make up Red Turnip (Ana Abad Santos, Topper Fabregas, Jenny Jamora, Cris Villonco and Rem Zamora) wanted to come up with a maiden season that would re-introduce Philippine audiences to the straight play while putting their own stamp on the theatrical experience.
Their first production, “Closer”, was a bruising and honest take on modern day relationships and their follow-up, “Cock”, was a biting comedy about sexual identity. Both productions went on to acclaim with critics and audiences alike.
|Red Turnip (Rem Zamora, Jenny Jamora, Topper Fabregas, Ana Abad Santos, Cris Villonco)
The five are back with their second season and are excited to kickstart it with the 2007 Pulitzer Prize winner, “Rabbit Hole”. Written by David Lindsay-Abaire, “Rabbit Hole” was a Broadway hit that garnered several Tony nominations and a win for its lead actress, Cynthia Nixon. It was then adapted into a critically-acclaimed film with Nicole Kidman in 2010 and earned her an Oscar nomination for Best Actress.
The story revolves around Becca and Howie, a couple who lose their four year old son to a car accident, and the grief that slowly threatens to tear them apart. Shifting between humour and heartbreak, “Rabbit Hole” explores the way people deal with loss and how this affects those closest to them; their families.Variety calls it “an intensely emotional examination of grief, laced with wit, insightfulness, compassion, and searing honesty”.
The Manila premier has film and television star Agot Isidro in the role of Becca, with theater veteran Michael Williams as her husband Howie. This production marks Agot’s return to theater after notable turns in Tanghalang Pilipino’s “Zsa Zsa Zaturnnah”, Atlantis Productions’ “Baby” and Trumpets’ “Honk!”. Williams’ long list of credits include starring roles in “Jekyll and Hyde”, “Les Miserables” and “Man of La Mancha” for Repertory Philippines.
Agot Isidro returns to the stage after a seven year absence from the Philippine theater scene. She made her musical theater debut back in 2003 with “Honk!” for Trumpets and went on to notable turns in Atlantis Productions’ “Baby”, “Footloose” for Stages and “Zsazsa Zaturnnah” for Tanghalang Pilipino (originating the role of Queen Femina Suarestellar Baroux). Agot’s long list of film and television work include roles in Tayong Dalawa, One More Try, Lobo, Ang Mumunting Lihim and Way Back Home. She most recently won Best Actress at the 2013 Metro Manila Film Festival (MMFF) for her role as a schizophrenic mother in the film Mga Anino ng Kahapon.
She makes her theatrical comeback with the Pulitzer-Prize winner “Rabbit Hole” for Red Turnip Theater. She headlines the play in the role Becca, a mother grappling with the loss of her son. “Rabbit Hole” was a Broadway hit that garnered several Tony nominations and a win for its lead actress, Cynthia Nixon. It was then adapted into a critically-acclaimed film with Nicole Kidman in 2010 and earned her an Oscar nomination for Best Actress.
Agot Isidro: I’m a little nervous about going back to theater ’cause it has been seven years since my last production (Zsa Zsa Zaturnnah). But I am excited at the same time, because I know it will be a welcome and enriching break after years of TV work. I am especially on the edge about ‘Rabbit Hole’ because this is my first straight play. With musicals, there’s a certain comfort in knowing that, at some parts, I burst into song. So a straight play is all new to me. But I am looking forward to the process.
Michael Williams: I am very much looking forward to working with Red Turnip on their production of ‘Rabbit Hole’. It’s an amazing script and based on their previous productions, no doubt this one will also be handled with a high degree of sensitivity.
Joining Isidro and Williams are Che Ramos-Cosio (Tatlong Maria, Dogeaters) as Becca’s sister Izzy and Sheila Francisco (South Pacific, August Osage County) as their mother Nat. Dulaang UP’s Ross Pesigan (Ang Nawalang Kapatid, Titus Andronicus) rounds off the eclectic cast as Jason, the young boy responsible for the tragic loss of their son.
Topper Fabregas makes his directorial debut.
Apart from it being a brilliant script, we Turnips also chose ‘Rabbit Hole’ as our second season opener because were hungry to show a different side to us. ‘Closer’ and ‘Cock’ defined our first season as these fantastic, in-your-face experiences. ‘Rabbit Hole’ takes the (deceptively) gentler approach but will knock you out just the same. It’s also a great showcase for its cast, and you don’t get any better than these five actors. We are excited to have them on board. We are also very thrilled to be back at Whitespace!
“Rabbit Hole” opens on August 1, 2014 and runs all weekends of August.
“Rabbit Hole” with Direction: Topper Fabregas
Technical Direction & Lighting Design: John Batalla
Set Design: Faust Peneyra
Sound Design: Jethro Joaquin
Venue: Whitespace is located at 2314 Chino Roces Ave. Extension (formerly Pasong Tamo Extension), Makati.
Here’s a part of our interview and Abs-Cbn’s) with Red Turnip 2nd Season presentation Rabbit Hole stars Agot Isidro and Michael Williams, held at the the 2nd’s Bonifacio Global City, June 16. 2014.