Acting in New Voice’s 2003 production of playwright Diana Son’s compelling, lesbian-themed drama, “Stop Kiss” (directed by Monique Wilson)—about two heretofore “straight” women and the unexpected kiss that leads to a brutal hate crime—was doubly memorable for us.
We were thrilled to portray two different roles in it—as the battered woman’s selfless fiancé, and the police detective whose insensitivity exposes society’s bias against homosexuality.
But, the fortuitous casting of then relative newcomers, Jenny Jamora and Missy Maramara, in the lead roles was a stroke of genius—because their contrasting but complementary acting styles and temperaments made sparks fly onstage! Thereafter, we directed Jenny (“Frozen”) and Missy (“Into the Woods”) in a string of productions that effectively showcased their versatility.
Fast-forward 10 years later—and the two actresses are still breaking new ground: Missy Maramara, who’s pursuing a post-grad theater degree on a Fulbright scholarship at the University of Arkansas, has been chosen to take part in the fourth edition of the United Solo Theatre Festival, the world’s largest solo theater fest, with more than 120 productions on view (visit telecharge.com).
Missy writes, directs and stars in the hilarious one-woman show, “Love, Liz,” on Oct. 11 at 7:30 p.m. at the Theatre Row, 410 West 42nd st., New York City.
The play began as a seven-minute scene based on the poster of the Bio channel’s true-to-life drama, “Liz and Dick,” starring Lindsay Lohan. The scenes in the 10-minute excerpt of the play we’ve seen are laugh-out-loud funny, and we’d love to see how Missy can sustain this in the production’s expanded form.
She explains, “‘Love, Liz’ was my final requirement for the One Person Show class, taught by Michael Landman. Throughout the course, each student had to write and perform complete scenes about topics such as family dinner, taboo issues, nontheatrical pieces and popular icons. I used the different words on that poster as if they were items on a checklist to stardom.
“It’s tragic how a lot of actresses lose ‘themselves’ to the entertainment industry in their pursuit of fame. Even more ironic is everyone’s secret Hollywood fantasy—they overtly criticize it, but they want a taste of it, too!
“So, I came up with a satire by using my own experiences as a performer to poke fun at ugly stereotypes in the acting profession. At face value, the play asks: What are you willing to sacrifice for your dream?”
After winning rave reviews for her textured portrayal in the stage adaptation of Paul Fleischman’s “Mind’s Eye,” Jenny Jamora next embarks on a brand-new challenge—this time, as one of the founding partners of the Red Turnip theater company, along with Cris Villonco, Topper Fabregas, Ana Abad Santos and Rem Zamora.
The new group will stage Patrick Marber’s Olivier-winning, Tony-nominated play, “Closer,” starring Angel Aquino, Villonco, Marc Abaya and Bart Guingona, with Abad Santos directing, on Oct. 4-24 at Whitespace, Chino Roces ave. extension, Makati City (call 215-0788). (Mike Nichols adapted the play for the big screen in 2004, starring Julia Roberts, Jude Law, Clive Owen and Natalie Portman.)
Jenny shares, “We love straight plays—but, with the popularity of musicals, we feel that there’s been less and less of them! So, rather than wait for others to produce them, we decided to do it ourselves.
“‘Closer’ is the perfect material to introduce ourselves, because it’s accessible and fabulously written. You may have seen it on the big screen, but it’s the kind of material that should be seen live, because there’s nothing like watching actors live a life in front of you! You take a journey as they’re taking theirs—minsan masakit panoorin, minsan nakakatawa, at minsan mapapamura ka! It’s cathartic.”