Manila, Philippines, October 4, 2013. A long-delayed follow-up to 2009’s N.O.A.H. (No Ordinary Aquatic Habitat), Trumpets’ new production “The Bluebird of Happiness,” a musical adaptation of Maurice Maeterlinck’s play of the same name, featuring music by Rony Fortich and book and lyrics by Jaime del Mundo, tells a story set on Christmas Eve, at the height of the frustration of siblings Mytyl and Tyltyl over not having the material things they think would make their lives better. It is a scene that is familiar not only among children but even adults. Mytyl and Tyltyl’s frustration is a reminder of lives that are driven by making ends meet or by achieving material wants that makes us lose sight of the very things that should have made us happy in the first place.
In the season of giving, it is ironic that this is also the time when people’s discontent and despair seem to manifest the most. And as these kids go on a quest to find true happiness through past and future, through greed and luxury, and through darkness and light, we go along with them realizing our own penchant for always wanting more than what we have. Through wondrous music and a spectacular production, “The Bluebird of Happiness” reconnects us with simple joys that provide more meaning in our lives than any material possession can offer.
Continue reading Review: The Bluebird of Happiness
Manila, Philippines, April 22, 2013 — Sa Wakas has been subject of mostly rave reviews since it opened last April 13th at the PETA Theater. After catching the show yesterday, we were glad to see that it wasn’t just hype.
Sa Wakas is the type of show that you tell your friends about just because you want to share something special with them. It is the type of show that you would want people to see because you know that at one point in their lives, they may have walked the path of at least one of the characters and seeing it onstage calls to mind gut-wrenching conversations you may have had over several bottles of beer.
And that really is how the show felt like. It is as if you or your closest friend had just had his heart torn into pieces and he shares with you, over a couple of six-packs, the nitty-gritty details that led him to where he is now. Told backward, it is a painful journey of recollection and as an audience, you feel every bit of the pain because you know how this story will end.
Continue reading Review: Sa Wakas, A Pinoy Rock Musical
During the first act of The Graduate, Benjamin Braddock exclaims in a fit that his father, as well as everyone that his father knows, are grotesque. I think there couldn’t be a more appropriate description of what follows in the next hour of the show.
Based on a novel of the same title written by Charles Webb and the 60s film starring Anne Bancroft and the very young Dustin Hoffman, The Graduate is characterized by that feeling of being trapped, the need to break free and ultimately, one’s inability to escape fate. The stage version, however, seemed to miss the point of the story and portrayed relationships of repulsive, whiny people and even rewarded them with a happy ending.
Continue reading Review: The Graduate
Bare is a production of the Ateneo Blue Repertory. That is perhaps the most significant piece of information needed to fully appreciate the magnitude of impact that this play has on a range of issues including, but not limited to, homosexuality, gay relationships and the conflicting stand of society on the subject.
Unlike the recently staged Next Fall, which appeared mostly neutral on the morality debate of same-sex relationships/union, this college production from a Jesuit-run University, did not play it safe. It presented a reality that is familiar to most of us, a reality often ignored and left undiscussed. It left no room for gray areas. It boldly showed how people often cling to their faith in times of uncertainty but this faith can be misdirected to a mere messenger that could very well get the message wrong.
Much of the credit goes to the material itself. Bare: A Pop Opera received the 2001 Ovation Award, Backstage Garland Award, LA Drama Critics Circle and LA Weekly Awards for Best Original Score and Best Musical. Damon Intrabartolo that wrote the book and music has done film orchestration in movies like Dreamgirls, X-Men 2, Superman Returns, The Usual Suspects and a lot more. Josh Hartmere co-author of the book and lyricist has written screenplays for Disney, Paramount, 20th Century Fox, Nickelodeon, and Sesame Street.
Continue reading Review: Bare, A Pop Opera