In commemoration of British playwright William Shakespeare’s death anniversary last April 23, the Philippine Educational Theater Association (PETA) launched the online series Shakespeare in the Time of COVID which celebrates his works. Beginning with Sonnets & Songs, a reading of Shakespeare’s sonnets and a reimagining into Filipino songs by various composers and singers like Noel Cabangon, Bituin Escalante, Myke Salomon, Michael Williams and Menchu Launchengco-Yulo. The series will culminate with the streaming of Ron Capinding’s William directed by Maribel Legarda. During this time of crisis, PETA hopes to bring the theater experience to their audience’s homes until live performances are permitted again.
The play is set in a Metro Manila high school where five young students are forced to study Shakespeare by their class adviser and in the process of studying, they realize the beauty of Shakespeare’s works and also re-discover themselves through the Bard’s characters. William touches on themes of adolescence, parental love, and friendship as well as advocating a love for reading and appreciating classic literature.
William features ten original rap songs composed by Jeff Hernandez as well as FlipTop, a popular form of rapping among today’s youth. The rap numbers are choreographed by John Tan from Urban Dance Crew and performed with various hiphop genres like crumping and breakdance, as well as ballroom and jazz.
Viewers can access the free 72-livestream of William via PETA’s YouTube channel starting April 26. Viewers can look forward to watching PETA’s plays on the channel as well as the condensed sessions of PETA’s Let’s Get Creative! online workshops (live every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday on PETA’s Facebook page), highlights of #TalkTuesdays (live every Tuesday on PETA’s Facebook page) which currently features PETA’s Lingap Sining’s mental health and wellness webinars called Lusing Isip Talks and more.
For more performances, workshops, and webinars, subscribe to PETA’s YouTube channel and for more updates, follow them on social media @petatheater.