22 February 2010
For their 18th Season Finale, Ateneo blueRep stages Zanna Don't! a musical fairy tale.
Tin learned about this production through a friend that was tagged in the post about this in Facebook. She checked out the page and read a few things about the play. She then texted the contact person indicated and we reserved for tickets.
I'm not really familiar with the story and this would be the first time for me to watch a blueRep production. All I know is that it's a story of a the "Magical Matchmaker", Zanna and they live in an alternate universe wherein it is the norm for boys to fall in love with boys and for girls to fall in love with girls and straight people are subject to discrimination and ridicule. Tin did some research on the play and discovered that Jai Rodriguez of Queer Eye was the first one to play the role of Zanna.
Even with just knowing this bit, I already got excited in seeing the play. I fell in love with the story as it unfold before my eyes. Yes, it made me laugh and cry! I find Tim Acito simply brilliant, of course, Alexander Dinelaris should not be forgotten. The story is much deeper than what I first thought it would be. I sooo love the songs and I'm still trying to find a way how to get a copy of it.
For some reason that was not disclosed, the show started late. When we entered the theater, we could see the stage and the lighting was mostly pink! What a way to give the air of gayness. I love their house music. It was a collection of songs that are sooo gay. There were songs from the Spice Girls, M2M, and the only artist they seem to have multiple songs of, Britney Spears! These would really prep the audience in watching a gay play.
Looking at their production book/souvenir program, this is not blueRep's first musical. It is somehow evident in the quality of their voices.
After a couple of scenes, I couldn't help but tell Tin that, their transition of scenes is a disaster! There are scenes that are too short and the blackouts are too frequent and sometimes it seems that the blackouts are longer than the some scenes. This is something RR Herrera (yes, the child star) and Carelle Mangalia should work on.
We were able to see their 8:00 PM show. Here are my notes to the cast that we were able to watch:
Jay Carandang as Zanna - he is an effective Zanna. The role seems to come out naturally from him. I'm not sure why, but there are times that his voice fails, especially when he needs to sustain.
Reb Atadero as Mike - there's no doubt that this guy is a stage actor. I love the way he delivers his lines. It's clear and crisp. He is actually one of the reasons why a tear would roll down my check. Kudos! His singing voice is not bad as well.
Oli del Rosario as Kate - this girl looks sooo familiar, but this is coming from something I watched for about 7 - 8 years ago. It was a graduation performance of a Center for Arts Summer Workshop. Like Reb Atadero, she is a natural on stage. You would be able to see the character's emotion because of her facial expressions.
Sam Barber as Roberta - I love her hair! It is something I would never be able to pull off. She has a great singing voice and acts well. Although, she needs to work it a little more in "I Ain't Got Time". That's her song! The one that would establish her character and showcase her talent.
For Oli and Sam, the connection is barely felt. Well, I could feel and see the effort that both of them would want to connect. Sorry girls, it's just not there. But, they are both good actresses, they would just need to make it work.
For Reb and Sam, I love your kissing scene and your reactions to it! LOL!
Bym Buhain as Steve - he plays the role of being shy and lanky superbly. As per singing, he can carry a tune but not something I would wow about. Although, he would really pass as gay, specially in his dancing for "Be A Man".
For Bym and Reb, you guys made me swoon and cry! You could really make me believe that you two are together and "I Think We Got Love" is sooo sweet!
Iya Joson as Candi - she's a soprano, that much I can tell. She has a very high voice but it's too thin for me. She did play her role well, specially if she meant for the people not to like her.
Bibo Reyes as Tank - he is the perfect pick for the role. Being a DJ, it does require that his words could be understood, and his are. But his absolute shining moment was when he sang, "Fast".
Baus Rufo as Buck - he is my favorite actor in this cast. His singing is superb and he played his character right. Among everyone else, I saw the transformation from being gay to straight in him. Although, it did appear that he was having a hard time singing "Fast". But he is one of those who could be heard even if his lapel was not working. He is a gem for blueRep.
Pauline Gaerlan as Loretta - her role is remarkable. It's not major, but she played it really well, it would be difficult to forget her. She is also good in "Fast".
Overall, I didn't have major problems with those in the major role. It's just sad that while Zanna was singing, "Someday You Might Love Me" the ensemble was unable to establish proper or appropriate reaction to it. I was confused as to whether they are disgusted, amused, sympathetic or poker faced while he was singing.
I don't think the lights went well with the costumes. The dresses for the prom was sooo dark. It would not hurt is there are other colors there, like blue or dark green. I know they might want to point out the change from the colorful costumes before that and for Zanna's dress to stand out. But it was all black and brown. And even before the prom, it seems that the colors are not well thought off with regards to the blocking of the cast. One side was too much pink and the other side lack it.
By the way, the fliers that Kate was handing out was blank. If you don't want to put something on it, don't let the audience see that it contains nothing.
I would like to commend the choreographer, Geo Gahol, for a job well done. The movements were superb and of course the cast to be able to pull it off.
All in all, I did enjoy the show and I did congratulate RR for a good run that night. And if I get invited to see it again, I would not hesitate to say yes. Of course, if it's for free and I'm free that time.
Ateneo Blue Repertory is staging Zanna Don't! in the Rizal Mini Theatre inside the Ateneo de Manila University. Tickets are for Php 200.00 and the souvenir program is for Php 100.00. You can catch the show at these dates and times:
2:00 PM shows - February 27 and March 6
8:00 PM shows - February 24-27 and March 3-6
I would really looove a copy of the original sound track! Don't worry, it would only be for personal use.