PETA Theater Launches new YouTube Channel, and it is Filled With ‘Modern’ Shakespeare
by Inside Manila Team, April 28, 2020 6:47pm
Art by Ahl Mirambel
In this time of COVID and Enhanced Community Quarantine, we can find creative ways to keep ourselves entertained and be productive. While we’re at it, why don’t we refresh our knowledge in literature, particularly on William Shakespeare?
In commemoration of Shakespeare's 404th death anniversary on April 23, the Philippine Educational Theater Association (PETA) has launched “Shakespeare in the Time of COVID,” an online series celebrating the works of the renowned poet and playwright.
The series begins with Sonnets & Songs, a reading of Shakespeare’s sonnets and a reimagining into Filipino songs by various composers and singer artists like Michael Williams, Menchu Lauchengco-Yulo, Noel Cabangon, Myke Salomon and Bituin Escalante to mention a few. The series culminates with the streaming of Ron Capinding’s William directed by Maribel Legarda.
Rap musical William, described by BBC News as “a modern twist on Shakespeare,” has managed to capture the interest of students and local theatergoers since it was first staged at the PETA Theater Center in 2011.
The multi-awarded play is set in a high school in Metro Manila, where five young students are forced to study Shakespeare by their terror class adviser, Ms. Lutgarda Martinez. In the process of studying, these students realize the beauty of Shakespeare’s works and also re-discover themselves through the Bard’s characters.
Touching on themes of adolescence, parents’ unconditional love and friendship, William promotes respect for one another, and advocates love for reading and appreciating literature.
The show features ten original rap songs composed by Jeff Hernandez. Songs such as “Pucha Bro”, “Nosebleed”, “O Shakespeare”, “What’s In A Name” are fusions of various music genres, like rock, soul, funk, RnB and hip-hop. William also utilizes FlipTop, a popular form of rapping among today’s Filipino youth.
These rap numbers, choreographed by John Tan from Urban Dance Crew, are performed with various hip-hop genres like crumping and breakdance, as well as ballroom and jazz.
Viewers can access the free 72-hour livestream of William via PETA’s YouTube Channel starting April 26 (which also happens to be Shakespeare’s birthday!) at 7:00 PM. Afterwards, viewers can look forward to watching more of PETA’s plays on the channel which already contains videos of Sonnets & Songs, highlights, recaps, and webinars.
During this time of crisis, PETA hopes to bring the theater experience to their audience’s homes until the curtains rise again.