Little known fact about me: sometime in 1997, I made an attempt to join Monique Wilson’s then- just starting New Voice Company. Through my own ineptitude, I missed the 1st day of the workshop I wanted to join and then decided to just drop the idea.

I’ve always been a fan of Monique Wilson. During Ms Saigon, it was her that I really rooted for (although I have heaps of respect for and am in awe of Lea Salonga’s vocal prowess and her achievements). I’m really proud of what she’s done for theatre goers here in the country. Between the four or five active companies around, NVC has truly carved its own niche among theatre fans.

I’ve only seen a handful of NVC’s offerings: Oleanna, Blue Room and last night, Frozen. I dearly wanted to see their production of Angels in America but it didn’t happen (I finally saw it late last year on DVD).

Anyway, so last night we saw NVC’s latest offering called Frozen. It stars Jenny Jamora, Jamie Wilson and Roselyn Perez in what can only be termed as tour-de-force acting. The play, the first one ever written by English playwright Ms Bryony Lavery, tells the story of three disparate people brought together by a horrific circumstance: the disappearance of a 10-year old girl on her way to grandma’s house (shades of Red Riding Hood here).

Winner of London's prestigious Barclay Award for Best New Play of 1998, Frozen is a deft, skillful look at the dark horrors of pedophile serial killing. Although, many scenes are rife for dramatics, the play never resorts to histrionics but manages just the same to convey the humanness of its characters, yes, even of its serial killer (so intuitively acted by Jamie Wilson, his best acting I’ve seen so far) – depicted here less as the stereotyped menace to society but more a damaged person, a product of childhood abuse and neglect.

Jenny Jamora, who I last saw essaying several characters in Blue Room, the roundabout story of love, lust and seduction, plays here an American academic studying serial killers, who posits that there’s a difference between a “sin” and a “symptom.” With data culled from her 10-year study on serial killers, Agnetha - a transplanted Icelandic - goes on to study the particular case of Ralph, the London serial killer who then further strengthens her theory that serial killing is a “forgivable act.” Jenny does a terrific job at presenting the complexity of her character. You don’t really know what’s underneath the utilitarian clothes and the professional demeanor although you get glimpses of what lies underneath in small snatches.

But what bawled me over was the actor Roselyn Perez who plays the role of Nancy, the mother of one of the victims, 10-year old Rhona (pronounced here as Rhowna, so English, somehow i get distracted each time someone says Rhowna).

Over a twenty-year period, you see how Nancy evolves from a slightly distracted mother of two to a hopeful mother of a lost child to hardened, angry woman out for blood and finally to a person who has learned to unfreeze herself, to let go of hatred and make space for those who are still with her - specifically Ingrid, her other daughter whom she also left abandoned in her own frozen state while she fights for the lost one.

I dunno if it’s because I am a mother of a small child myself or because the subject of childhood neglect/abandonment is something that resonates in me, but Nancy really struck a chord within me. It also helps that Roselyn imbued the role with just the right amounts of passion and subtlety. It truly is moving especially when she’s talking to her other child, Ingrid, whom we never see. Especially at the end of Act 2 when her living daughter finally confronts her with her own twenty-year old sorrow.

Ultimately, Frozen is about that warm light at the end of a long, dark, icy tunnel.

Need I say this? Go see Frozen.

Show dates are: Sept 9, 10, 16 and 17 (8:00:PM)
For ticket inquiries or reservations, please call New Voice Company at 896-5497, 896-6695 or e-mail: nvc@pacific.net.ph (Ticket prices are P400, P200, P180. Venue is the Republic of Malate. Don’t forget to bring warmers (jackets, shawl, shrugs, earmuffs, scarves, etc) as it can really get frozen inside the theatre (and that’s not a pun either, it’s the truth).

More info at click the city dot com.

Thanks again Jenny for the invite :)


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