Upon the conclusion of any theatre production, cast and crew members normally come onstage for one last curtain call. This final bow usually serves as an act of acknowledgment towards the audience’s applause. After almost a fourth of a century of passion and dedication to the art, this call came in the form of a grand 25th season launch for the Ateneo Blue Repertory (blueREP), held on the 13th of September at Cervini Field.
Tracing back roots
Founded in February of 1991 by a student group of theater enthusiasts, the collective has since evolved from small-time fundraiser adaptations of Pippin to staging their first original production, which has remained as their magnum opus to date, Stages of Love. Since then, blueREP has been consistent in delivering quality productions, while acting as a breeding ground for talented theatre practitioners. blueREP prides itself in the multiplicity of the talents of its roster of members, composed of playwrights, composers, and crew. Among the notable alumni in their repertoire are photojournalist Rem Zamora, and musical director Gerard Salonga, who currently serves as the musical director of the ABS-CBN Philharmonic Orchestra.
True to their passion for the performing arts, blueREP aptly began their launch with an adaptation of the widely successful musical, Hamilton, followed by performances inspired by Pippin.
Culminating the organization’s silver year of sharing stories on and off stage, Company Manager Bea Racoma started off by highlighting their renewed vision, along with a myriad of commitments and initiatives for the coming year. Alecx Lorica, Artistic Director for blueREP, shares that they are “definitely taking more risks this year, [because] theatre is not supposed to feel safe [or] comfortable.”
blueREP’s collective efforts for their 25th year include the reinforcement and development of both their organizational systems as well as their internal and external identities. Accompanying these collective efforts are attempts towards expanding their external relations, all of which are geared towards sustainable development. Shaking up the season lineup, revamping the outdated logo, and launching a smashing new website are just some of the efforts blueREP zoned in on in line with their rebranding while making sure not to lose the core essence of what blueREP truly is: a haven for those fueled by the desire to pursue theatre-related endeavors.
Perhaps one of the biggest changes the organization went through was the redesign of their previous logo, which they had been sporting for the past 25 years. blueREP’s original logo failed to live up to the dynamic expectations bannered by the organization due to a number of reasons, as explained by Jamie Gutierrez, current Design & Publications Associate Vice President for blueREP. “The old logo had so many problems with it: informal font, incongruence with capitalization, unrecognizable symbol, redundant text, and an incomplete org name,” she explains.
“We worked on transforming it into a visual image that aptly fits blueREP’s identity,” says Gutierrez. She expounds on the reasons behind the brand new logo, “[It] features three triangles signifying the organization’s core competencies, a spotlight symbolizing the org’s foundation in musical theatre, a deft curve indicating the balance between the org’s professionalism and passionate nature—and lastly, a bird in flight, representing the Atenean values internalized in the organization,” she says. “We tried to not [resort to] sharp lines, as rounder shapes are more playful and less business-like.”
Rebranding, in blueREP’s case, also meant further defining the identity of the org. “We wanted to emphasize on our passion and professionalism, and try to [destroy] all the wrong stereotypes people have of blueREP.” says Racoma, stressing that blueREP’s cause du jour as of the moment is shedding away the fluff it is often associated with. “We don’t want to be known for just doing bubbly, happy, productions. People tend to think of [us as] the elitista, conyo, shallow, English theater org,” says Racoma. “We want people to know that theatre is a valid form of art and discourse [and] show human lives in theater [through] stories we share for the sake of sharing stories,” she says of their reimagined aspiration.
This season’s roster of musicals centers on the theme of “finding truth in fiction”, a thrust made evident in their year starter, Real Life Fairytales, a modern twist on the classic fairy tales we all know and love accompanied by an original script and score. It will be followed by the annual newbie production, which is an adaptation of the popular 80’s film The Addams Family, while the coming-of-age Kung Paano Ako Naging Leading Lady was decided to cap off their run.
Although the season has just begun, there is still so much ahead for this passionate band of thespians. Racoma says the audience should expect a more culturally and socially aware blueREP, one that deviates from their prior focus on Western musicals. “This year, we are [dedicated] to staging more original and local shows,” she says. “We want to start sharing stories from our own contexts.”
In any event, one thing blueREP has made clear is that they’ve only just begun, and they have no plans of slowing down any time soon. Armed with a dynamically diverse season lineup and a newfound sense of direction and vision (as well as a newly refined logo!), they’re set to conquer the limelight. Break a leg, blueREP.