#TheaterPH - M Butterfly Manila - Refreshing, Grand and Intensely Subtle!

After 28 years since it previewed in the country, M. Butterfly remained as haunting as it should be, as provocative as it can be and as tastefully done just like the original staging way back 1990 where RS Francisco played the role of Song Liling. M. Butterfly  is an award winning production written by David Henry Hwang which bagged a Tony award for Best Play and closing with 777 performances that opened March of 1988.

With the fresher and more modern outlook, this staging of M. Butterfly  surely attracts the younger generation to immerse in an environment that deals with betrayal, lust, power and love. The unconventional story of Song Liling and Rene Gallimard is a story worth sharing. Given the powerhouse triumvirate; Kanakan Balintagos (Director), Jhett Tolentino (Producer), RS Francisco (Actor), they ensures the audience to have an ultimate theater experience.

I admire the French actor Olivier Borten who played the role of Rene Gallimard. It was very demanding in terms of memorizing long lines as he's present from start to finish. As challenging as it seems, Olivier pull off everything. He played it with awkwardness, quirkiness and authentic which made him a perfect Rene.

On the other hand, RS Francisco was so brave! I can't spill much milk on this post because I want you to see it for yourself. You better be ready for the BIG reveal. His artistry expands to portraying both masculine and feminine side of Song Liling. In every smirk, glance and naughty sounds, you'll see the nuances of the character Hwang created.

Helga is played by Pinky Amador, Lee O'Brian played Marc who is a narcissist jockey, and Norman McLeod played Ambassador Toulon. Mayen Estanero played different characters but really good as Comrade Chen. Maya Encila took the higher ground by portraying the liberated and go-getter Renee. The stunning voice coming from Rica Nepomuceno accompanied the major acts of Song Liling. Her dominant soprano voice elevate the over all experience.

With the striking Oriental feels from Ohm David's stage design to John Batalla's dramatic lighting, it perfectly complimented Eric Pineda's grand costume designs, musical score and sound from Joed Balsamo and Jethro Joaquin.

All proceeds from this re-staging of “M. Butterfly” will go to select charities and organizations such as the Love Yourself Foundation, Teach for the Philippines, the Environmental Legal Assistance Center, and a number of other organizations.

With  the director, Kanakan Balintagos

With the award winning producer, Jhett Tolentino

M. Butterfly runs until September 30 at the Maybank Performing Arts Theater in Bonifacio Global City, Taguig. You may call 891-9999 or 09176233834 for schedule and ticket inquiries.

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