As a prelude to the forthcoming silver anniversary in the arts next year of the multi-talented and award-winning artist Banaue Miclat-Janssen, she helms the UP Playwrights’ Theater production of Linda Faigao-Hall‘s The Female Heart. The play opened last July 1 and will run until July 10 at the Wilfrido Ma. Guerrero Theater in UP Diliman.
The cast of The Female Heart is composed of Chase Salazar as Adelfa, Al Gatmaitan as Anghel, Peewee O’Hara as Rosario, Sheryll Ceasico as Rosario (alternate), Mark McKeownas as Roger, and Ina Azarcon–Bolivar as young Adelfa.
The story begins at the Smokey Mountain in Manila, a 170-acre garbage mound in which nearly 30,000 people scrape together a meager life. Anghel and his mother Rosario make ends meet by gathering and reselling scrap metal and other useful trash from the refuse that surrounds them. Anghel’s sister Adelfa is one of the few teenagers from Smokey Mountain who is able to attend high school.
Upon hearing Adelfa’s valedictory speech, Anghel convinces her to continue with her education in college. He tells her he will be able to pay for her tuition by taking a job as a dance instructor or D.I. at a fancy hotel. In reality, he is actually earning the money for Adelfa’s schooling by working as a “macho dancer” in Manila’s red light district.
When Anghel falls ill as a result of his sex work, Adelfa places a listing in a catalogue of mail order brides in an attempt to secure the money needed to pay for Anghel’s medical care. She strikes up a correspondence with Roger, a real estate broker with anger management issues living in Brooklyn, and arranges to marry him on the condition that he sends $300 a month to Rosario and Anghel to pay for her brother’s treatment in a private facility. Initially, Adelfa sees the trade as a fair one, but as she is confronted with Roger’s anger and violence, the deal she made to save her brother turns sour.
Miclat-Janssen has assembled a formidable artistic team for The Female Heart in Jem Javier (translation), Gio Potes (dramaturgy), Azarcon–Bolivar (assistant direction), Io Balanon (set design), Carlo Pagunaling (costume design), JM Cabling (movement design), Ricardo Lorenzo (sound design), and Garrett Picardal (lights design). Unlike all of the other productions staged at the Guerrero Theater, the set design and execution for The Female Heart is ‘theater-on-the round.’
A UP Theater Arts graduate, under the tutelage of Professor Emeritus Tony Mabesa, and a Master of Fine Arts in Acting degree holder from the Brooklyn College of the City University of New York (Brooklyn College-CUNY), Miclat-Janssen won an Aliw Award for Best Performance for a New Concept Production for Ginugunita Kita, a Best Actress Award from the Metropolitan Opera Getty Awards for Supernumeraries for Salome, and a Best Actress citation from New York University’s First Run Film Festival for Clarissa de los Reyes’ Giving Care. She has also recently released the album Ginugunita Kita with Jesse Lucas on iTunes and Spotify.
Miclat-Janssen has done plays in various languages – English, Filipino, Spanish, Japanese, and some Filipino dialects. She has performed in different countries including Germany, Japan, and has done performances off-Broadway and at the acclaimed Metropolitan Opera, Lincoln Center in New York. She has also acted in films which have been shown in international film festivals in New York, San Francisco, Los Angeles, Hong Kong, Singapore, Thailand, Japan, Korea, France, Italy, the Netherlands, Canada, and others.
As a director, Miclat-Janssen has worked with UP’s Dulaang Laboratoryo, Musical Theater Philippines, and most recently, for the first Fringe Manila in 2015, Joshua Lim So’s Palanca Award-winning play, Tungkol kay Angela under Destiyero Theater Commune. She is currently an Assistant Professor at the Department of Speech Communication and Theatre Arts, College of Arts and Letters in UP Diliman.
Indeed, Miclat-Janssen has been connecting her heart, mind and soul into a wholistic process in order to become a much more meaningful artist through this directorial project of The Female Heart.
The play is produced by special arrangement with the Filipino-American playwright and Elaine Devlin Literary, Inc., 411 Lafayette Street, 6th Floor, New York, NY 10003. For tickets, inquiries and other concerns, call Samanta Clarin at 0927-7406124 or Camille Guevara at 0917-8239531. You may also contact Dulaang UP office at 926-1349, 433-7840, 981-8500 local 2449 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.