Cris Villonco plays “D Wonder Twins of Boac” in “PETA”‘s musical adaptation of William Shakespeare’s “Twelfth Night”!

Cris Villonco‘s acting credentials are impressive for someone of her age. Barely 30 and this young woman has two Philstage Gawad Buhay! Best Actress Awards under her belt, and has had over 30 productions with some of the leading Filipino theater companies.

Cris is also known for being the star of numerous musicals such as “Sound of Music” as Maria Rainer, “Les Miserables” as Eponine, “Noli Me Tangere the Musical” as Maria Clara and “Jekyll and Hyde” as Emma Carew.


Currently, Cris is preparing for her role in the Philippine Educational Theater Association’s (PETA) “D Wonder Twins of Boac”, the company’s musical adaptation of William Shakespeare’s “Twelfth Night” written by multi-awarded writer Rody Vera.

Set during the ‘decline’ of the golden age of Philippine Cinema, “D Wonder Twins of Boac” is the story of two aspiring talents from Marinduque, twins named Viola (Cris Villonco) and Bastian (Chrome Cosio), who were separated in an unfortunate shipwreck going to Manila. Driven by her dream to make it to showbiz and believing her brother to be dead, Viola disguises herself as a boy and auditions to become the ‘Elvis’ of Campanilla Pictures owned by Doc Orsino (essayed by Bodjie Pascua, alternating with Lex Marcos). Doc Orsino hires Viola (now guised as Ceasar) but eventually becomes his boy friday. Eventually, her disguise causes numerous complications when she falls in love with Doc Orsino, while Donya Olivia (Shamaine Buencamino), the unresponsive object of the Doc Orsino and owner of BLV Studios, falls madly in love with her.

On cross-dressing and crossing over

This being her first production with PETA, Cris feels fortunate to have another opportunity to work with a new set of actors on stage.

Cris points out the advantages of having crossover artists, stating that “different theater companies have different methods and philosophies of acting so it’s really interesting nowadays to watch a show where somebody’s from Tanghalang Pilipino, someone’s from Repertory Philippines, Trumpets, or Atlantis.”

“The challenge for me is to work with a new set of people every time. It’s challenging and yet it’s also such an advantage because everyone has something different to bring to the table. But then again it’s also nice to be with people that you know because you kind of know how they will do things,” says Cris.

As Viola/Ceasar in the play, Cris shares several scenes with Shamaine Buencamino (as Donya Olivia) who Cris considers as one of the great theater actors today. “I’ve also never worked with Shamaine and it’s a challenge because I know that she’s such a great actress and I’m a little nervous”, says Cris.

Playing dual roles as girl turned boy probinsyana from Marinduque in the late 1960’s, Cris admits that she is still in the process of refining her role as Viola and Ceasar.

“Now that we’re going through rehearsals, I am getting into the flow of things. I’m trying to roughen up my tagalog and trying to acquire an accent to make it authentic. Strangely enough, I have relatives from Marinduque and I am related to the people who used to be involved in LVN (now BLV in the play). It’s now more about research, of how different celebrities were like at that time, and also just the manners and language patterns.”

Cris also shares her thoughts on her male character Ceasar: “We are also discussing what approach to be Ceasar. We are going into the direction of innocent with a touch of femininity like Gwyneth Paltrow in Shakespeare in Love.”

Another new experience for Cris is performing in an arena stage. Lex Marcos, the play’s production designer has devised four circular platforms which serve as the stage of the play, giving the audience, a 360 degree view of the actors on stage.

“‘D Wonder Twins of Boac” is directed by PETA Artistic Director Maribel Legarda, who also directed “Care Divas” and “William.” The cast includes Gino Ramirez, Paolo Rodriguez, Carlon Matobato, Riki Benedicto, Gie Onida, Eric dela Cruz, Roi Calilong, Kiki Baento, Kat Castillo, Tricia Huseña and Divine Aucina. The play’s music is composed by Jeff Hernandez, choreography by Carlon Matobato, costumes by John Abul, and lighting design by Jon Jon Villareal.

“D Wonder Twins of Boac” will have 30 shows from February 1 to March 3 at the PETA Theater Center. Ticket prices are Php800 (VIP) and Php600 (regular). For inquiries, contact PETA through 725-6244, 0917-5765400, or [email protected]

PETA opens its 45th theater season!

For its 45th theater season, PETA goes back to this founding idea and further interrogates the role of broadcast media in contemporary Philippine society. PETA dedicates an entire year of examining the historical, cultural, and aesthetic relationship between the two media forms and how both have affected and shaped modern-day society and popular culture. The season will illustrate the interrelationship of live performance and the broadcast media.

PETA brings together talents from the Philippine theater, film and television industries in two of its new plays: Bona and D Wonder Twins of Boac.

Bona, a film by National Artist and PETA founding member, Lino Brocka, will be adapted for theater and set in contemporary time, while D Wonder Twins of Boac (a Filipino musical adaptation of William Shakespeare’s Twelfth Night) will be a parody of how the Filipino film industry evolved in the ’60s and ’70s.

Apart from the two new plays, PETA opens its doors to a new generation of filmmakers with a festival “Cinemalaya Retrospective” that features the best short and full-length films produced by Cinemalaya in the past five years.

Rounding up the season’s offerings, PETA’s hit musicals will have a special re-run at the PETA Theater Center this year: William from July 27-29, Batang Rizal from August 3-12 and Mga Kuwento ni Lola Basyang from Oct. 5 to 14 this year. PETA also hosts Agnes Locsin’s choreographed work Puno, Noel Cabangon’s concert “Tuloy ang Byahe,” Vincent De Jesus’ “Himala (The Concert)” and Storybook Theater for Education Project’s (STEP) “Buklat.”

For show buying info, sponsorship and ticket sales, call the PETA Marketing and PR Office at 410-0821, 725-5244, 0917-5765400, e-mail [email protected], or visit

PETA Summer Theater Workshops 2012 revealed!

After a year of successful productions and events, Philippine Educational Theater Association (PETA) is once again opening its doors to children and adults who are looking for a unique artistic experience this summer.

In PETA’s age-appropriate workshops, students embark on fun-filled dramatic journeys through acting, movement, singing, and playwriting thru an intensive three-week performing arts experience, during which they will actively develop their creative interests and grow as confident, young artists.

PETA’s Children’s Theater courses allow children (ages 6 to 12) to explore and experience music, movement and dance, visual arts, storytelling, drama improvisation, poetry and short story writing. Coupled with lots of fun and games, PETA’s creative processes will also develop and enrich every child’s imagination, inspiration, self-confidence, and appreciation of self, others, nature and culture.

Young thespians and aspiring actors can enroll in various Theater Arts courses, such as: Teen Theater (ages 13 to 17), Teen Theater Production (ages 13 to 17), Theater Arts (ages 17 and up) and Basic Acting classes (ages 17 and up). Each course is designed to provide basic knowledge, skills and attitudes for budding stage actors. Applicants will also be introduced to various acting styles as well as study the artistic and technical components of theater production.

Workshop courses, such as Creative Dance Theater (ages 17 and up), Creative Musical Theater (ages 17 and up) allow each applicant to explore the use of music, dance and movement as a form of artistic expression in a theater setting.

Courses begin April 10, 2012. Workshops will be held at the PETA Theater Center, 5 Eymard Drive, New Manila, Quezon City. For inquiries, contact 725-6244, 410-0821 or 0906-2115003, 0917-5391112 or e-mail [email protected]

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