The "RAMA AT SITA" promotion material on the left offered a concise peek into Pinky's impressive credentials: "Pinky is a veteran not only of theater, but of television and movies as well. People describe her as the woman with the powerful voice and the actress who can portray any role given to her...". Well said!

 

Sneak preview of the year’s biggest musical production

By Gloria P. Sicam (source: Phil Inquirer, 16 Jan 1999 / www.inquirer.net)

THE PRESS conference of "Rama at Sita" was impressive. It was held at the Rigodon Ballroom of the Manila Peninsula Hotel, which was decorated with Indian decor, with lit candles everywhere. There was even a Henna tattoo booth at the back where anyone could have a temporary tattoo done. Indian music blared from the speakers, and the TV at the entrance showed the TV ads for the coming musical.

Then the presentation started, hosted by Martin Nievera. They started with four songs, "The Prologue of Rama at Sita" (by the whole cast with Edward Granadosin), "Iisa ang Tibok" (Raymond Lauchengco and Chiqui Pineda in full costume—the rest of the cast wore the "Rama at Sita" shirt and black pants), "Kaya Ko" (Franco Laurel) and "Buktot" (Jaya and Robert Seña).

Evil siblings

Jaya and Seña as the evil brother and sister lusting after the title characters are definitely a good combination, what with Jaya’s soulful singing and Seña’s London-honed talent. Raymond Lauchengco is a sweet, gentle Rama.

Then the cast, Leo Rialp (the director) and Danny Tan (the musical director) answered questions posed by the press.

Many questions were asked about the budget of the play. Rialp assured the press that the money went straight to the production, and Pinky Marquez commented that she was glad that for once, an ample budget was being given to theater.

There were also questions about the production outfit, SK—what did it mean? SK is a firm based in Singapore, and SK means Sari Kultur. Why then did SK choose "Rama at Sita" as its first production? Because it portrays sentiments common to many Filipinos, Eugene Villaluz explained. There’s comedy, intrigue and love of family.

Universal themes

There are many universal themes that people can connect to. "Rama at Sita" was originally performed by Ballet Philippines as "Rama Hari," and it was danced more than sung, so this is a rearranged version of the Ryan Cayabyab original, expanded into a full-length musical.

Afterwards, there were three more excerpts from the play, "Magbalik Ka Na Mahal" (Lani Misalucha, one of the Sitas), "Ako’y Iyong-Iyo" (Ariel Rivera and Misalucha and acted out by Lauchengco and Chiqui Pineda) and "Awit ng Pagsinta" (by the whole cast). The crowd was impressed by the voice of Misalucha, and moved by the love scene and song of the two alternating pairs of Rama and Sita. Afterwards, the cast members mingled with the press, with some TV interviews being taped here and there. We were then given our souvenirs—a treasure chest, with a t-shirt, candle and candle holder inside.

Like I said, impressive. If this is any indication of what the show’s going to be like, we are in for a treat. "Rama at Sita" starts on Feb. 4 and runs until March 7 at the University Theater, UP Diliman.

www.pinkymarquez.homestead.com