Reviews for Orlando Pabotoy’s “Sesar”
See what the media is saying about the Ma-Yi Season Opener, SESAR.
“Portraying both father and son, as well as a variety of other Shakespearean and contemporary characters, Pabotoy displays impressive linguistic and physical skills. He rails in pantomime against the winds of a hurricane, magically shrinks to boy-size then grows to manhood and back again. He speaks, or hypnotically whispers or sings, not only in modern and Shakespearean English, but also in Fijian and Visayan. Director Richard Feldman and his production team build the atmosphere around him via vivid screen projections on the stark white walls of designer Junghyun Georgia Lee’s set, quick blackouts that speed up time, then an extended blackout where it is easy to believe there are two actors on stage conversing. And yes, having staged a show entirely in a bathroom, Feldman could not resist an homage to the shower scene in Psycho. It’s a small film tutorial in a production full of lessons, both specific (Fijian and Phillipino history) and universal (“Regret was Caesar’s revenge. Which eventually made Brutus want to die. Regret is a storm. A great one.”). Pabotoy & company will be teaching these truths through November 1. Lend them your ears.”
Sesar is the piece all solo shows want to be when they grow up. Although, Orlando Pabotoy plays so many characters if feels like there is a huge cast peopling the stage in this astounding production.
“Musical interludes, crashing thunder and battle noises are adeptly depicted by sound designer Fabian Obispo. Oliver Wason’s striking lighting design veers from realism to fantasy with its fluctuations. Stylized footage of the Philippines, hurricanes, and news broadcasts are the chief features of Dan Scully’s mesmerizing projection design.
Filled with sentiment, Sesar is an uplifting and engaging experience.”
“Last season, the Ma-Yi Theater Company sent Richard III to high school in their tragicomedy hit, Teenage Dick. In Sesar, they send Julius Caesar to the bathroom. But where the halls of Richard’s school were fraught with peril, this loo, in a house in Fiji of all places, is a sanctuary. It is where a 14-year-old from the Philippines, who has been “seduced” by Shakespeare’s language, can have some privacy in a crowded house. Having borrowed a copy of Julius Caesar from the library, this lad spends his free time memorizing Cassius’s famous “The fault is not in our stars,” soliloquy. “
“As Pabotoy concludes, his Shakespearean encounter with his father would reverberate down through the years: “I would recite that speech of Cassius in front of my history class. I would recite it at an audition for the Shakespeare Theatre in DC. I would recite it at the Juilliard School. I would recite it in a bathroom in a theatre on the island of New York City. Ten minutes; ten minutes and they may be hooked.”
“Director Richard Feldman’s consummate staging combines guiding Pabotoy’s performance with the technical elements into a stimulating production. Junghyun Georgia Lee’s awesome gleaming white cavernous bathroom set adds an epic dimension to the presentation. There is also a delectably colorful twist for the finale. Ms. Lee’s costume design includes a snappy outfit for Pabotoy and neat accessories.”