Teatro Expedicion De Filipinas stages "Pepe: Ang Talambuhay At Panaginip Ni Rizal"

"Pepe: Ang Talambuhay at Panaginip ni Rizal" (Pepe: The Life Story and Dream of Rizal) is a musical production written and directed by Joey Paras.

It's the night before Jose Rizal's, the Philippine's National Hero, execution and he is not ready to face death.  He goes back and check what has happened in his life and dreams of having a very familiar looking kid that takes him back to this journey of his life.  He talks to the boy about his greatest works, Noli Me Tangere and El Filibusterismo.  And as the moment of death nears, the kid reminds him of the essential part of his life that made him ready to face the judgment.

This is not the first Joey Paras production I have seen, thus I had some certain expectations.  I'll do my best to set those expectations aside for the moment and just lay down the facts.

When the play started, I was unable to understand the first spoken line.  I tried to comprehend the second line, since, my hearing might have been temporarily impaired again, but I only heard mumbles.  On the first word of the third line, I asked my seat mates what the guy said, unfortunately, none of us got it.

Then they started to sing.  And there are others singing with them, recorded.  There are those still singing trying to out-sing the recording and somehow I can say that they sound good, so, I was wondering what's the need for a recording.  I came to see live theater anyway.

There are girls who were singing but a guy's voice with a high pitch is what you would hear.  The recorded singing voice of the "kid" sounds like a little girl's.  Or at the least, you would know that it was not his since, we all heard his voice (maybe not his words) while he was speaking.

Not all have the singing part recorded, some were sang live, but we can't hear it well because the music was so loud.  Some had lapels, but there were those who don't.  So, with the loud music, we can't hear it well.

There were also spoken lines wherein we can't hear it too well because of the back ground music was so loud.  There was also a scene wherein they were banging the floor but there was someone speaking without a lapel.  We weren't able to hear what he had to say.

And there are times wherein we can hear the hustle and bustle of the back stage.  The volume of the lapel could be lowered down when the one using it is not on stage.  When the lapel was in use the volume of the lapel of the one who was speaking the lines were lower than the lapel that was used by the ensemble that were just making side comments.

There was no play bill, so, I was unable to identify the artists behind the production.  However, at the entrance, they were handing out play bill fliers of a different production, different from the one that will be staged.  I almost asked again for the title of the production that we will see that day.

It was a good thing that they allowed us to take pictures.  Of course, without flash.

There was an overhead projector flashing images almost all the time and it's giving off a different lighting.  There are lines on the faces of the cast, sometimes letters.  There are lines across their bodies because of the images from the OHP.  We were able to see the control buttons of the Windows Media Player being used.  The play, pause, rewind and forward buttons in the middle with the track line.

They have a smoke machine and it was triggered to emit smoke for more than three times (I lost count) consecutively during one scene, filling the stage, the first three rows of the audience with smoke.  I sure hope the cast had a well ventilated back stage, otherwise, they suffocated. 

Photo taken before the continuous smoke machine emission
Photo taken after the third consecutive emission
They had audience interaction in a form of a game show, wherein the guardia civils danced like girls in local game shows or variety shows.  The one who acted as the "host" was my favorite artist in the cast, in all his roles he was effective.

The ticket costs Php 300.00 and I would be thinking really hard before I watch another production from Joey Paras, however, curiosity always gets the best out of me.

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The Jagged Barn

Your oblivious but observing blogger.

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