By Kristine Ann M. Fernandez
SILLIMAN UNIVERSITY’S (SU) first paid copyrighted play, “Into the Woods”, served as the year-ender show of the Cultural Affairs Committee’s (CAC).
The Tony Award-winning comedy musical was staged at the Luce Auditorium last Dec. 12-14. The show was produced by CAC and directed by the Speech and Theatre Arts department chairperson Vanessa Nezamloo. The Dean of College of Performing and Visual Arts (COPVA), Dr. Elizabeth Susan Suarez, is also the play’s musical director.
Nezamloo said: “This is the first time for Silliman University to buy copyrights for a play to be staged in Luce because most of the plays being staged [here] are old and considered as public domains. I had to contact Music Theatre International in New York to buy the copyrights and [they] shipped the materials as soon as we paid more than a hundred thousand for the copyright.”
“They had some reservations of course because it [copyright] is expensive but Sir Leo Mamicpic, a member of CAC, saw this in Broadway more than 20 times so when he learned about the proposal he was like ‘We should go for this. This is a very beautiful play.’ He was the one who defended the play in my behalf because it [the play] is about the realities of life,” Nezamloo added.
“Into the Woods” is a collaborative work of composer and lyricist Stephen Sondheim and stage director James Lapine. The theme of the story is “anchored on the mash-up of different popular fairy tales,” namely: Little Red Riding Hood, Cinderella, Jack and the Bean Stalk, Rapunzel, Sleeping Beauty and Snow White.
“I think each person can relate to a character. This may seem like a play for kids but this is much better for the adults because they can identify themselves to some characters of the play,” said Nezamloo.
SU is the second institution in the Philippines to purchase a copyright of the said play.