DragonTales in Manila and Asia will Conquer the World

Asia On Stage in cooperation with the PETA Theater Center presents a mystical musical production based on a story and characters by Michael Chow, DragonTales.

Directed by Jeremiah Choy with Music and Lyrics by Vincent A. De Jesus.

We have heard of the brewing of DragonTales since February 2010 and we have anticipated its staging ever since.. I honestly didn't expect too much, thus, I ended up simply, blown away!

This is a story of a struggling playwright, Miki, who needs to at last finish an original play about an alternate realm where dragons rule, to provide rent money.  The audience would both be taken to the real world where Miki lives with his family and the dying relationship with his father, Pa.  And to the Dragon World, the setting of the play Miki is writing about, where the peace and serenity is disrupted by Tazarek, who claims to be the first born of the Dragon Realm King, Tai Loong, who allegedly had a love child with a human, Wanabe.

The play's plot and twists and turns is truly captivating and you would not want to miss a beat, thus the 105 minutes of your life watching this production is truly not a waste of time, and I didn't mind holding my pee since there was no intermission.  I sincerely didn't mind.  I'm not much of a fan of play gaps anyway.

After the singing of the Philippine National Anthem, lights did not go out or dimmed as usual.  Wonderful music was played to set the tone and when the voices started to sing along with the music, goosebumps started to show.. What a way to start the play!

Sir Vince never seem to let anyone down.  I was again in tears with his music and lyrics.  This would be the first time I marveled on his work on a foreign language.  If there was one thing that would make you forget about the real world and live in the world of DragonTales, it would be the music.  I love how he tickled the lyrics on his fingertips with the words.  I will ever be in awe of his talent.

Even after the show, the music is still ringing in my ears and can't help but go with the "Aaahhh.. Aaahhh..." LSS-mode.

The Dragon Cast

Kalila Aguilos as Ana/Wanabe. I last saw her perform in Anton Juan's "The Three Penny Opera" and I have been a fan ever since.  As expected, she was amazing!

Nar Cabico as Stage Manager/Wacko and Meann Espinosa as Stage Manager/Bones.  What a fantastic duo!  It really was fun having the both of them on the stage with much energy and antics.  Gotta love their talent and singing and they are such great character actors!  I last saw Nar Cabico with Sipat Lawin Ensemble's "Haring +ubu-L" and Meann Espinosa with PETA's "Si Juan Tamad, ang Diyablo at ang Limang Milyong Boto" and I love their performance even more today.

Gani Karim as MikiBeing a Singaporean, this would be the first time I saw him perform on stage.  And he did a wonderful job!  I like how he does the Asian accent, although I'm not 100% convinced if that's really how he speaks.  Learning that he can also dance and he's the production's choreographer through the play bill, i would love to see him bust a move! :)

Lex Marcos as Pa/Tai Loong.  I last saw him in PETA's "Noli at Fili: Dekada Dos Mil" and I did not actually like him there.  However, it seems that his role/s here in DragonTales suit him much better.  Although, he still had that blank expressionless face during the fight scene.  I was not sure what Tai Loong was feeling while his sons fight.  And his actions seem a little anticipating.  Better, but not entirely bravo for me.

Carlon Matobato as Pit/Blee.  I always liked Carlon on stage because of his theatrical moves.  Character acting is also not a problem for him.  A little more enunciation in the delivery of very few of his lines I guess, although, it's not entirely a problem for me.  He's one of the most loved characters of the play.

Banaue Miclat as Ma/Yoke Loong. I last saw her perform in Tanghalang Pilipino's "Banaag at Sikat" and I really liked her there and it was nice to see her here in DragonTales.  I love her facial expressions and her powerful voice.  Physically, she reminds me of Mylene Dizon and May Bayot.  There was a line where she buckled but still stayed in character and still with grace; some people might not even notice that really.

Joel Molina as Siu Loong.  He was part of the ensemble of PETA's "Si Juan Tamad, ang Diyablo at ang Limang Milyong Boto" and I didn't much notice him then.  But now, he's again on stage and this time on a lead role.  His head dress covers much of his face, but still, he would be one of the reasons why young girls and gays would hoot and whoop.  He missed a note or two during the show that we saw, hopefully he won't make the same mistake in other shows.  After the fight scene, I'm so sure that it was sooo tiring, so, I wish aside from a change of robes, a glass of water was also handed to him during the costume change break.

Neomi Tabanao-Gonzales as Mei/Krystal.  When I first saw her in PETA's "Noli at Fili: Dekada Dos Mil" I wanted her to sing.  And now that she did in DragonTales, I liked her even more!  With some photos in play bills I confuse her with Sheenly Vee D. Gener.  Are they blood related or something?!

Miguel Vasquez as Ted/TazarekI guess, this is the first production that I saw him perform.  Like Joel Molina, young girls and gays would hoot and whoop because of his sculpted body.  I would almost think it's fake, but I'm not sure if there would be prosthetics for pecs and abs.  He plays the role of the villain well, as said he really was "intimidating".

I loved when everybody sings in chorus.  Goosebumps was here and there.

I also like their dragon movements and each character seem to have a signature move that you would be able to notice and associate with the role.  There's not much dancing, but the cutesy dance steps were fun!

I was holding my breath for the fight scene only to say "'stig!" (cool!).  It was enough for me.  I would be standing on my feet if I would see more.

I love the elaborate and colorful costumes and how the actors work with their costumes especially Aguilos and Miclat.

The set was versatile and it takes you to two different worlds in a swish!  And the changes in lighting help too!

I love the make-up too!  Those for characters that should look old still looked old until the end of the show.  And I love the eye make-up of Wacko and Wanabe, but I of course would not wear that in the office.  Hehehehehe!

Aside from the wonderful things to see and music to hear, the thing that would make DragonTales great and conquer the heart of its audience is its story and how much Asian values there is that they would be able to identify and can't help but relate to.  Asia has a wide array of cultures and values but the main and core values common to all countries that comprise Asia were captured in the story, script and plot of DragonTales.  The love for family, reverence for elders, the ability to show compassion and exude humility were all captured in the tale of Miki and his play.

We caught the 10:00 AM run last November 27 at the PETA Theater Center and I sure hope you would be able to see it at the following dates and times:

December 3 at 7:30 PM
December 3, 4 and 5 at 3:00 PM
December 4 and 5 at 10:00 AM

DragonTales is being staged at the PETA Theater Center, No. 5 Eymard Drive, New Manila Quezon City.  For advanced reservations and bookings, contact DragonTales Marketing at (+632) 881-0984, (0917) 556-2718 or (0915) 295-7550 or dragontalesmanila@gmail.com.

For more photos of this play, click here.
Special thanks to Jason Barcial and Jack Yabut for making this post possible.

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The Jagged Barn

Your oblivious but observing blogger.

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