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No Props, No Costumes — Just Pure Performance

Are you aware of Open Mic Nights? If you have seen 22 Jump Street, you’d see a scene where Schmidt tries to do a poem for the murdered college girl and he kind of rocked, but messed up. Open Mic Nights is a dream. I always see it on movies and TV shows and as a girl who grew up writing her heart out, participating in one would be like an ultimate thing.

With the help of Speak Philippines, I think that dream would be realized pretty soon. They hold Open Mic Nights at Sev’s Cafe and I wish to go there very soon. Anyway, speaking of poetry slamming and emotion-pumped nights over coffee, here’s another art-scape which, I hope, would take over the Philippine literature very soon. There’s this dramatic reading which launched last June 15, 2014 in Century City Mall. This is called Upstart Soundstage, spearheaded by Miss G. Tongi.

Upstart Soundstage is like a full-length drama, comedy or muscial, only different because there’s no props, no costumes — just pure performance. Imagine pulling it all off with just your ordinary, everyday look. Tough, huh? That’s why these performances need more concentration and more appreciation.

According to G., these readings are very popular in LA and New York and they want to bring that scene over here. Exciting, isn’t it? However, there’s still apprehension how the Pinoy crowd would take this in. Let me borrow the excerpt below from the press release:

But will Manila audiences take to the concept of stage shows without any staging? Apparently, they already have: Töngi and her partners have conducted quite a few informal readings of this type, and they’ve all been very well-received. Upstart founder Joel Trinidad, Noel’s son, is not at all surprised. “I’ve always loved dramatic readings, “ he shares. “When you take away the sounds and lights and costumes, you force people to really pay attention.” Upstart Managing Director Onyl Torres, who doubles as the company’s Musical Director and Composer, likens the medium to a radio play. “You get the same emotions, the same human drama,” he says. “It’s very powerful.” Töngi concurs: “In our last few readings, people were in tears—the actors and the audience.”

Upstart has already kicked off with a reading of Jane Anderson’s The Baby Dance last Sunday and they are planning to have a different story every other Sunday until September 7. Other planned shows are based on Pippin by Stephen Schwartz, Glengarry Glen Ross by David Mamet, The Seagull by Anton Chekov, Les Liaisons Dangereuses by Christopher Hampton, and many others.



Actors and screen personalities who will be joining this movement are Audie Gemora, Noel Trinidad (Upstart board members), along with renowned directors like Anton Juan and Bobby Garcia. You could refer to the details below if you wish to witness one of these readings:


Upstart Soundstage: The Dramatic Readings

Starting Sunday, June 15, at 7:00 pm, and playing continuously every other Sunday from then on
on the 5th floor of Century City Mall, Kalayaan Avenue, Makati,  
* Show schedule may change based on availability of performance rights and other factors. 
Tickets at P300 each, available at the door. 
Presented by Metrobank Card Corporation 
in cooperation with Century City Mall. 
From Upstart Productions.

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