Pinocchio Welcomes the Holiday Season
by Patricia Simone Dauz
The captivating story of a puppet, wishing upon a star to become a real boy, marks Ballet Manila’s holiday treat.
Osias Barroso’s “Pinocchio” is the third offering in From Page to Stage, Ballet Manila’s 20th performance season. Based on the Italian children’s novel by Carlo Collodi, it was the second animated film produced by Disney in 1940, following the success of “Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs”.
Who can ever forget the story of Geppetto, the wood carver who lovingly created the puppet Pinocchio? Brought to life by the Blue Fairy, Pinocchio would become a real boy if he promises to be brave, truthful and unselfish. The magical adventure begins as he comes face-to-face with various characters to prove his true worth.
Pinocchio found a true friend in Jiminy Cricket. Together they hurdle every challenge to outsmart villains like the Cat and the Fox, the vicious Stromboli, the evil Circus Master and the giant whale.
Ballet Manila’s “Pinocchio” is choreographed by Co-Artistic Director Osias Barroso. Initially a one-act piece, it was always included in the company’s line-up of shows. With its timeless appeal, this year the audience will enjoy “Pinocchio’ as a full length production, signifying Ballet Manila’s Christmas treat to its loyal patrons.
“Dance companies stage ‘Pinocchio’ not only because it’s a children’s ballet show, it also reminds us of the value of family and friendship,” explained choreographer Osias Barroso. “This is very evident with the relationship of Gepetto and Pinocchio and the friendship between Jiminy Cricket and Pinocchio. What I like most about the material is the lesson on truthfulness. Pinocchio’s nose grows longer whenever he tells a lie; I think everyone grew up with that fantasy.”
“Pinocchio” was one of Ballet Manila’s most successful productions.
“It stood the test of time. It had an impressive track record in terms of sales and audience feedback. Our biggest challenge was finding suitable music for the ballet but I am glad that were able to come up with a beautiful score. The music of ‘Pinocchio’ has a lot of heart,” he said.
When he was still actively performing, Osias was hailed as the “ballerina’s prince. His partnering skills were ranked extraordinary. Equally impressive were his accomplishments as a solo artist playing the lead roles in full-length ballets, like “Le Corsaire”, “Don Quixote”, “Swan Lake,” “Giselle,” “La Bayadere”, “The Nutcracker,” “Coppelia” “Romeo and Juliet”, and several others. He helped establish Ballet Manila with Ms. Lisa Macuja-Elizalde in 1995.
Pinocchio will be played by danseur Alvin Santos, one of Ballet Manila’s most senior company members. Alvin started out as a company scholar and is a product of the School of Ballet Manila. Alvin has played the lead since the very first staging of “‘Pinocchio” in 2002. He returns this season, to once again dance the part of ‘Pinocchio”, a role he will never get tired of doing.
“Alvin was the first male Filipino danseur to receive a FINALIST Certificate in the Asia Pacific international Ballet competition held in Tokyo, Japan in 2003,” Osias proudly said.
“The role is quite unusual because most of the time, the male dancer needs height and strong partnering skills. ‘Pinocchio’ is a wonderful opportunity for a not-so-tall but technically strong male ballet dancer to shine, “remarked Ballet Manila artistic director Lisa Macuja-Elizalde. “The story is very visual with settings very well suited for dancing,” she said.
She also has countless fond memories of playing the role of the Blue Fairy.
“I remember the magic wand being really heavy. I had to grapple several times with the light switch to be able to switch the light off right away after a blackout. I think one of my fondest memories of dancing the Blue Fairy was when we did ‘Pinocchio’ in Dumaguete. My whole family made the trip with Ballet Manila and my kids who were still very young then did cameo roles in the underwater scene.” For this season’s show, Lisa will be in the audience, proudly cheering for her Ballet Manila team.
To further enhance the magical journey, Fil-Am singer Tippi dos Santos will be the show’s storyteller. This season’s performance will be a delightful mix of heart warming music in playful narrative movements.
With the air filled with holiday cheer, the whole family can head straight to the carnival fun rides after enjoying the show. All ‘Pinocchio’ ticket holders are entitled to free tickets to Star City.
Osias Barroso’s “Pinocchio” has special rates for group bookings. Schools, companies and organizations can get specially priced tickets for fund-raising events and other holiday activities. For inquiries, call (02 552 7502 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
The production is co-presented by Manila Broadcasting Company, Aliw Theater and Star City. Other sponsors are ACS Manufacturing, First United Travel, Papa John’s Pizza, Manang’s Chicken, Empire Salon, Slimmer’s World, Island Rose, Oasis Paco Park Hotel, Ramada Manila Hotel, Armada Hotel, Microtel Wyndham Hotels, Hot Star Chicken, and whatshappening.com.ph.
Celebrate the holidays with Pinocchio, Geppeto and Jimminy Cricket in Osias Barroso’s “Pinocchio,. Shows are on November 27, 28 and December 5 at 8:00 p.m.; November 29 and December 6 at 3:00 p.m, at Aliw Theater in Pasay City. Tickets are available at all Ticketworld outlets, online at www.ticketworld.com.ph, or call 891 9999.