The Doll’s House Party: An Operetta
The Holy Trinity Academy, as the parochial school of Balic-balic, conducted fund-raising activities for the reconstruction of the Gothic-style church left unfinished due to the Second World War.
Among the first H.T.A. school and parish fund-raising activity was a special late afternoon program held at the auditorium of St. Joseph’s College at E. Rodriguez (then Espana Extension), Quezon City. The use of the auditorium was courtesy of the Franciscan Sisters of the Immaculate Conception of the Mother of God. The sisters helping out H.T.A. at that time were the ones who suggested the idea of staging the play as a fund-raising activity.
The program invitation (dated March 26 & March 27, 1949) billed the event as “The Doll’s House Party and Some Musical Interpretations.” The key part of the program was an operetta titled “Doll’s House Party.”
The operetta’s main character, Mistress Doll, was performed by Auxiliadora Reyes with a supporting cast of 42 children from the Holy Trinity Academy (which was the entire school already!). The operetta required such a huge cast as it called for two housemaids, four minuet dancers, eight dutch dancers, twelve baby dolls, six gypies, six dancing dolls and four male cooks. In the same cast were Auxiliadora’s siblings; Jose (cook), Milagros (gypsies), and Carmen (baby doll). The other siblings appearing in the play were Natividad and Fidel Nacion, and Trinita and Salvacion Sikat.
Image: “Baby doll” characters in the production of “Doll’s House Party, St. Joseph Auditorium, 1949. From the left: Carmen Reyes, unidentified, Emerita Picache, Pilar Cortez, Esperanza Exebia, unidentified, Cristina Pare. Photo courtesy of Carmen Reyes-Gaerlan Collection.
The afternoon was also filled with presentations by the Legionnaires of the Holy Trinity Parish (The Tide Rises, the Tide Falls by Julius Roentgen, The Heavens Resounding by L. Van Beethoven), primary pupils of H.T.A. (The Snowdrops Awakening, The Dormice), Kindergarten of H.T.A. (I Am Going to Write to Papa),and Miss Juanita Jusay (Mutya ng Pasig, Sin Tu Amor).
According to Auxiliadora Reyes-Abanilla, the nuns and the teachers patiently rehearsed the students after class until they mastered the various performances. She remembers that the parents took care of the expenses for the costumes and props. In the end, the show was worth all the sacrifices as it was a big success with the teachers delighted about the revenue from the production. Afterwards, the show was also staged at the Premier Theater located in G. Tuazon where tickets were sold to the public. A free performance was staged at the HTA grounds.