Rody Vera’s “Under My Skin,” featuring movie and television actress Cherry Pie Picache, closes the Philippine Educational Theater Association (PETA) 52nd season.
Seasoned theater actress Roselyn Perez alternates with Picache in the role of Dr. Gemma Almonte.
Under My Skin is “a provocative, relevant, and heart-wrenching drama anthology,” PETA said.
“Inspired by real people and events, the play accurately depicts the realities, triumphs, and struggles of people living with HIV, while navigating an important conversation about acceptance and tolerance,” PETA said in a statement.
Under My Skin is directed by Gawad Buhay Awards nominee Melvin Lee. The artistic team members are: Eric Dela Cruz (dramaturg), Migs Cortes (music/sound designer and arranger), Benjamin Padero and Carlo Tabije (production designers), Ian Torqueza (lights designer), Steven Tansiongco (video designer), and Nicole Primero and Bubbles Deriada (choreographers) from Airdance.
Other cast members are: television, film, and theater artists Miguel Almendras, Mike Liwag, Anthony Falcon, and Dylan Talon, together with a roster of PETA artists: Eko Baquial, Gio Gahol, Lotlot Bustamante, Kitsi Pagaspas, Ekis Gimenez, Dudz Teraña, Jarred Jaicten, She Maala, Gold Villar-Lim, Bene Manaois, Mico Esquivel, Erold Enriquez, Jason Barcial, Joseph Madriaga, Rach Gimpes, Reggie Ondevilla, Roy Dahildahil, and Csai Habla.
Under My Skin is part of PETA’s creative campaign “Acting on HIV,” aimed at re-examining the issue of HIV and AIDS, as the numbers of recorded cases rapidly increase every day.
“I’ve always wanted to do a play with PETA, so I am very excited to be finally doing it now,” Picache was quoted in the PETA statement as saying.
“Most of what I’ve been doing lately is getting involved with different advocacies. So when our director and my good friend Melvin Lee told me that Under My Skin is going to be an advocacy play on HIV, I was enthusiastic to join even if I was worried in the beginning.”
“I believe na tapos na ‘yung time ko na pang-sarili,” Picache said, referring to getting involved in advocacy theater.
“I want to use my position, wherever I am now, to influence and advocate certain issues. I was also interested kung nasaan na ba ang Pilipinas sa usaping HIV. It’s very timely because we should all give a part of ourselves to make people aware,” Picache said.
When she was 9 years old, Picache worked with Orlando Nadres, a writer-director for stage, television, and film in the 1970s.
In 2017, Picache was in Chris Millado’s ‘Buwan at Baril sa E♭ Major.” The production was first staged by PETA in 1985, tackling different lives burdened by repression under the regime of then dictator Ferdinand Marcos.
“Dr. Gemma Almonte is very dedicated,” Picache said, describing her character.
“She is very objective like most doctors are. But inside, she’s very involved. Andoon ‘yung empathy niya.”
Picache is hopeful that Under My Skin will not only be a learning experience for audiences, but will also contribute positive change and action to combat the HIV and AIDS crisis in the country.
“There should no longer be a stigma. HIV is not and should not be a death sentence anymore. We, as a community, as a society, have the responsibility to get involved,” she said.
In the statement, PETA said watching Under My Skin provides a holistic learning experience. Apart from the play, audience members can stay for a talkback and debriefing with HIV experts and avail of free HIV screenings. A photo exhibit, which features 100 portraits of people from the theater industry who are HIV and AIDS advocates, will be also mounted.
Under My Skin is presented by PETA in partnership with UNAIDS and Unilab. The play runs from Feb. 7 to March 22, 2020 at the PETA Theater Center, No. 5 Eymard Drive, Quezon City.
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