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Bart Guingona (left) and Mikkie Bradshaw-Volante.

Past haunts abuser, abused in TNT’s drama ‘Blackbird’

Two years after it moved audiences with its critically acclaimed production of Larry Kramer’s AIDS drama The Normal Heart, The Necessary Theatre (TNT) has brought them another provocative play, Scottish dramatist David Harrower’s Blackbird, which runs at the RCBC Plaza’s Carlo P. Romulo Auditorium in Makati City until September 10, 2017. 

Winner of the Best New Play prize at the 2007 Laurence Olivier Awards (the British counterpart of the United States’ Tony Awards), Blackbird focuses on Una, an emotionally damaged and ostracized 27-year-old woman who pays a surprise visit to Ray, a 55-year-old man who had been jailed for sexually abusing her 15 years ago, when she was 12 and he was 40. During their uncomfortable reunion at his office, their conflicting and complicated feelings for each other—and the idea that they were lovers—are explored.

Reviewing its Tony-nominated Broadway revival in 2016, Ben Brantley of The New York Times called Blackbird an “immensely powerful work” with “gorgeous, unsettling memory monologues.” For their part, Marilyn Stasio of Variety described the play as “profoundly unsettling” and Chris Jones of the Chicago Tribune called it “extraordinarily harrowing.”

Essaying the two roles are Bart Guingona and Mikkie Bradshaw-Volante. Guiding them is actor-director Topper Fabregas, who co-starred with Guingona in The Normal Heart and won the Outstanding Direction of a Play trophy at the 9th Philstage Gawad Buhay awards in May for his work in Red Turnip Theater’s 2016 production of English playwright Nina Raine’s Tribes. 

Fabregas leads an artistic team that includes set designer Joey Mendoza, lighting designer John Batalla, and sound designer Jethro Joaquin. ALVIN I. DACANAY 

Remaining performance dates for Blackbird are September 8 and 9 at 8 p.m. and September 10 at 3 p.m. Tickets cost P500 (balcony), P800 (loge), P1,000 (orchestra sides), and P1,200 (orchestra center). To buy tickets, call Ticketworld at (632) 891-9999 or visit www.ticketworld.com.ph.

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