25 October 2009
The last number of plays I have reviewed and watched (Spring Awakening and The Three Penny Opera) were originally staged outside the country. These productions already have a name on their own regardless as to who would stage it. Thus, you would expect highly of the performance and nothing less than a good story. A good story-line, music, lyrics and script would no longer be their problem.
Again, I entered the PETA Theater, not knowing much of what I was about to see. So, i flipped open the production book for me to know more than the title of the play I was about to watch. And as usual, I got sooo excited for the play to start.
It is entitled, "Si Juan Tamad, ang Diyablo at ang Limang Milyong Boto" and only one person wrote the script, the music and lyrics of the songs and is the musical director. No less than, Vince de Jesus. I have started to admire his works when I learned that he was the man behind the music of Zsazsa Zaturnnah.
I was a little negative at first because I hate politics and everything about it. Maybe that's one of the reasons why I haven't registered yet.
Oh! By the way, the talented Vince is also part of the cast.. So, I was wondering if he had conflicts with the director, him being the playwright and all that.
The play is about Juan Tamad a resident of the island called Filiminimon. He is very much like the typical Filipino youth. His parents are working and staying outside their island. He lives with a very intelligent and loving grandmother. And like his name suggests, because of apathy and indifference he is regarded as lazy. Then, it was time for the people of Filiminimon to vote for a new leader. Unexpectedly, Juan Tamad registered as a voter and took part of the said election rights. And the play showcased the before, during and after of the election fever in Filiminimon.
The story was very informative. It was very much for virgin voters like me. A virgin voter is someone who is eligible to vote but never voted for a public official in his/her entire life. And as they have researched, in the coming 2010 Philippine elections, there are 5 million virgin voters! And this could really make or break the future of the Philippines. Most probably this is the driving force to have such play.
Despite the load of information you would get, it was never an ounce boring. All the members of the cast have high energy, thus, you will never feel down.
Here are my favorite members of the cast:
Joann Y. Co as Lola Anitan - she made me believe that she is really an old lady throughout the play. (of course I know that she's not) She was really in character all throughout.
Sheenly Vee D. Gener as Mariang Batibat - and a whole lot more. and inspite of the randomness and great difference of the characters she play, she was always at the right tone. Such a versatile character actress.
Carlon John Josol Matobato as Zombie - i like him on stage basically because of the way he moves. You could not deny that he should be part of the choreography somehow. so, i got to go back to my handy-dandy production book, and alas! Additional Dance Choreography was attributed to him.
By the way, I loved the theater tricks used in the zombie scene. Kudos!
What is great about this play is that it did not stop in telling the audience to register and vote. It also has tips on how to vote wisely and the best part is, what would happen after elections. What should one do? What if the one you voted for did not win? Life definitely doesn't and shouldn't stop there. And I'm so glad that the play did not stop their either.
Thus, Filiminimon could really mirror the Philippines because it's not Utopia. And there are lines and points in the story that would really make you think. Hopefully, the little waves created by this musical in the hearts and minds of the Filipinos would not just settle in vain.
Okay, this could mean that I too should go and have myself registered. Still thinking about it..
Two thumbs and two big toes up for this play! For the cast, the music, the production design, all in all!
I would be watching again tonight and during their re-run next year with a different set of cast.. and I would still be enthralled and I would still think it's awesome.