November 14, 2018

Manila Notes, The Filipino Adaptation of “Tokyo Notes,” Opens November 30

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  • Manila Notes, The Filipino Adaptation of “Tokyo Notes,” Opens November 30
  • The Filipino adaptation of the critically acclaimed work of Japanese playwright and director Oriza Hirata Tokyo Notes is set to take the stage in the Philippines in the form of Manila Notes.

    Manila Notes is a collaborative theater production between Japan and the Philippines through Japan Foundation Manila (JFM) and Tanghalang Pilipino (TP).

    Oriza Hirata (center), Rody Vera (left of Hirata), and Japan Foundation Manila Director Hiroaki Uesugi (right of Hirata) with the cast of Manila Notes during the play’s press conference

    The play is directed by Tokyo Notes’ original writer himself Oriza Hirata, but the script was translated and adapted by Palanca Hall of Famer Rody Vera. The set design is also a joint effort of Itaru Sugiyama and selected Manila theater practitioners and students.

    Tokyo Notes has been translated into 13 languages and has been staged in 20 countries around the world. It has also been internationally adapted in the past including Seoul Notes (2004), Taipei Notes (2017), and Bangkok Notes (2017).

    During the play’s press conference, Hirata said that Vera’s adaptation is by far the best. He even joked that it was probably better than what he wrote.

    Some of the cast performed a short part of the play during the press conference

    Further, Hirata wishes that Manila Notes will be considered a valued contribution not only to the Philippine theater but to the Philippine culture as a whole. He also said he looks forward to a continued collaboration between Japan and the Philippines, especially in terms of art.

    The story of Manila Notes takes place sometime in the near future. Since a major war in Europe is partaking, many paintings have been transported to some cities in Asia. Set in a lobby of an art museum in Manila, the play highlights the interactions between lovers, friends, and family members. The normal day-to-day conversation between them gives a glimpse of how Filipinos are living their everyday lives, including the problems they have to deal with.

    The play also introduces the contemporary colloquial theater style of acting which is entirely different from the Western technique. It focuses on the usage of simple dialogues and has been introduced and used by Hirata for years.

    Manila Notes will feature some of Philippines’ finest actors from Tanghalang Pilipino as part of the theater group’s 32nd production season. The actors teased the audience of what is to be expected from the play through performing an excerpt during the press conference last October 13.

    Performances of the play will begin on November 30 and will run until December 16 at the Tanghalang Aurelio Tolentino (CCP Little Theater) in the Cultural Center of the Philippines in Pasay City.

    The shows will be performed in Filipino, but English subtitles will be available during the November 30 and December 2 shows.  

    For ticket reservations, group sales, sponsorships, and special performances, please contact Juan Marco Lorenzo at 0999 8843821 or Lorelei Celestino at 0915 6072275 or 832 1125 local 1620/1621. Tickets are also available at Ticketworld online and at the CCP Box Office.

    To be updated with the latest shows of Tanghalang Pilipino, you may visit their Facebook page or e-mail them at


    What: Manila Notes
    Where: Tanghalang Aurelio Tolentino (CCP Little Theater), Cultural Center of the Philippines, Pasay City
    When: November 30 to December 16 (Friday – 8:00 p.m.; Saturday – 3:00 p.m. & 8:00 p.m.; Sunday – 3:00 p.m.)
    Ticket information:

    • Price Zone 1 – Php 1,030
    • Price Zone 2 – Php 824

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