Arts & Leisure

By Jasmine Agnes T. CruzReporter

A new direction for Repertory

Posted on January 20, 2016

DURING REPERTORY Philippines’ press preview on Jan. 15 of The Game’s Afoot, a murder mystery which is also Rep’s first offering for its 79th season, there was another mystery brewing.

A SCENE from Repertory Philippines’ latest production, The Game’s Afoot
It started when Mindy Barredo Perez-Rubio was announced as the theater company’s new chief executive officer. In a speech, she announced that Rep’s new leaders will create a new vision for Rep.

After the play, BusinessWorld talked to Ms. Perez-Rubio to know more about this new vision. “We saw Rep slip a little bit, but we want to bring it back,” said Ms. Perez-Rubio. “We want Rep to be the number one theater company again.”

Ms. Perez-Rubio is the sister of Carmen “Baby” Barredo, the company’s co-founder and Artistic Director, and it was Ms. Barredo herself who offered the leadership role to her sister. Ms. Perez-Rubio said that Ms. Barredo is now “very busy,” and so she needed someone to help her out with Rep. Ms. Barredo has been given a new title -- “Chairman for Life.”

Ms. Perez-Rubio said she remembered being a young girl watching her older sister, Ms. Barredo, and Zeneida Amador (the late co-founder of Rep), when they were planning to set up the theater company, so, she said, in a way, she’s been with Rep since the beginning.

Ms. Perez-Rubio also trained under Ms. Amador as an actress and appeared in several of the company’s early plays. She lived abroad for 20 years but came back in 1994, and has been helping out with Rep since then, especially in the last two years.

Ms. Perez-Rubio said that she will be taking over the reins of the business side of the theater company.

When it comes to the creative side of things, the artistic council will choose which plays the company will present. The recently installed head of that council is actress Pinky Amador, the niece of Zeneida Amador.

Having just taken over the position this January, Ms. Perez-Rubio was loathe to give more specific details on Rep’s new vision, and said the artistic council was yet to have a meeting so it has not been discussed. Ms. Amador was similarly tight lipped, explaining that she couldn’t say anything because their first visioning session is scheduled on Jan. 20, and only after that will Rep be able to announce its new direction.

Having a visioning session a week after the opening of its new season, with an entire line-up of plays for the year already announced means that either the company will change the line up -- an unlikely occurrence as the rights to the plays are often paid for in advance -- or it will be a year before the public sees what Rep’s new vision will be.

Rep’s first offering for the year -- Ken Ludwig’s The Game’s Afoot, which will run until Feb. 7 -- feels more of a continuation of what Rep has been doing, rather than an indication of a new direction. Directed by theater veteran Miguel Faustmann, The Game’s Afoot follows William Gillette, a Broadway actor who portrays Sherlock Holmes who gets to try out the investigative tactics of the fictional character he plays when a murder happens in his own house during a Christmas dinner with friends.

“Rep is good at comedies like this,” said Rep stalwart Joy Virata, who plays Gillette’s mother. She said that Mr. Ludwig is one of the theater company’s favorite playwrights and that Rep has done four of Mr. Ludwig’s plays in the past.

They also hope that the popularity the television series Sherlock will attract audiences to the theater, she said.

After The Game’s Afoot, the next Rep play is Almost Maine (Feb. 19 to March 13), about several unusual love stories in the town of Almost. From April 1 to 24, Rep is staging Stepping Out -- The Musical, a comedy about the drama in a dance class. The musical was awarded Best Comedy at the London Evening Standard Theatre Awards.

The theater company’s children’s arm presents Hansel and Gretel (Aug. 13 to Dec. 15), the classic story of lost siblings and a witch, along with A Little Princess (Nov. 18 to Dec. 18) about a little girl in boarding school who is demoted to maid after her father dies, and suffers the wrath of the school’s headmistress.

All the plays will be staged at Onstage Theater in Greenbelt 1, Makati City. For The Game’s Afoot, ticket prices range from P400 to P800. For details, call 843-3570. Book tickets through TicketWorld at 891-9999, or visit