Fresh off the critical success of their last outing, the family comedy-drama Tribes, Red Turnip Theater is ready to take audiences into a different theater experience with the sci-fi thriller THE NETHER.
Ever since making their debut four years ago, Red Turnip has already made quite the dent in the local theater scene. By sticking to their vision of producing contemporary straight plays, this young company has almost single-handedly paved the way for the straight play to find equal footing in a landscape formerly dominated by the musical. Younger companies have sprouted and followed suit and there are now more text-driven plays getting produced than ever before. Each of the Red Turnip’s eight productions has gone on to top critics’ lists and garner awards and nominations from both the Aliw and Gawad Buhay Awards, making this company the go-to for outstanding plays that both entertain and move.
Their Fourth Season’s grand finale is THE NETHER, a sci-fi crime drama about the dilemmas of living in a virtual world. Written by Jennifer Haley and winner of the 2012 Susan Smith Blackburn Prize, this thrilling play explores the ethical questions and moral consequences of living out one’s hidden desires and fantasies. Set in the not-so-distant future, this haunting thriller made its West End and Off-Broadway debut back in 2015 and has been produced across the U.S. and Europe.
THE NETHER makes its Asian premiere via Red Turnip with multi-award winning actress and director Ana Abad Santos at the helm. A veteran of the stage and screen, Abad Santos returns to the director’s chair after her award-winning turn in the film Apocalypse Child and nominated lead performance in Red Turnip’s Time Stands Still. She won critical acclaim for her direction in the Red Turnip debut production Closer as well as her dystopian take on Hamlet for Repertory Philippines.
ABAD SANTOS: When I first read ‘The Nether’, it was love at first sight. It is a new material that bravely dives into the horrors of man, the unspeakable, and still makes sense of it. It’s about our present journey into the big unknown, that other world we call the Internet. And to present this advanced concept on a very basic traditional medium, which is the stage, is so exciting. It explores human desires and boundaries or lack of. And the discovery that no matter how beautiful or grotesque our desires are, we are all still searching for that “one”–to LOVE and to be loved.
THE NETHER boasts a powerhouse ensemble led by legendary actors Bernardo Bernardo (Hele sa Hiwagang Hapis, El Filibusterismo, Katy!) and Bodjie Pascua (3 Stars and a Sun, The Tempest Reimagined, Waiting for Godot). Making their Red Turnip debuts, young actresses Alba Berenguer-Testa (Annie) and Junyka Santarin (GMA 7’s Pyra) alternate in one of the play’s pivotal roles. Screen actor TJ Trinidad (Saving Sally) joins the cast after an accomplished theater debut as Bruce in last year’s The Normal Heart, which garnered him a Gawad Buhay nomination for Best Featured Actor.
Jenny Jamora (Cock, The Vagina Monologues, A Little Night Music) returns to the Red Turnip stage to take on the lead role of Detective Morris, an investigator of The Nether’s online offerings.
JAMORA: I do most of my scenes with Bernardo Bernardo and Bodjie Pascua, I’m terrified but absolutely psyched for the challenge. In ’Cock’, my character was a fighter but due more to the external circumstances of being in a man’s world. Detective Morris is also a strong female character but, this time, in a position of power. I’m excited to take on her internal struggle to maintain that authority as she discovers hidden parts of herself that may threaten that.
THE NETHER is a play for our times. It is relevant; it is provocative. In the play, life is spent more and more in The Nether, a virtual paradise so interactive that it engages all the senses–a tempting haven to retreat from a bleak world. But the main conflict begs the question: In a computer-generated space, is there no room for ethics and morality? THE NETHER isn’t just about Virtual Reality, but Reality itself.
With a stellar cast and creative team, this Red Turnip production is sure to electrify with its one-of-a-kind story and give audiences the complete theatrical experience this groundbreaking new company is known for.
THE NETHER opens March 10 and runs all weekends until April 9. Tickets at www.ticketworld.com.ph or www.redturnip.com.ph.
The Power Mac Center Spotlight Theater, Circuit, Makati (Level 2, Circuit Lane, A.P. Reyes Avenue, Makati City)
Directed by: Ana Abad Santos
Lighting Design / Technical Direction: John Batalla
Set Design: Ed Lacson, Jr.
Sound Design: Teresa Barrozo
Costume Design: Faust Peneyra