Monday, 30 June 2014

Rak of Aegis, original pinoy rock musical comedy

Bravo!!! This is Philippine Educational Theater Association's (PETA) second run of "Rak of Aegis," an original Pinoy comedy musical based on the songs of the band called Aegis.

I must be honest. I never heard of the band before and I'm not familiar with their music. In fact, I asked the guy who sold the souvenir program who the band was. He looked at me dumbfounded with wide eyes and said .. 1990s all-female rock band?... Halik (Kiss)? Luha (Tears)?  Bakit, Ako Ngayo'y Hate Mo (Why, Do You Now Hate Me?)..  "Ummmm... sorry" was all I can say.

Nevertheless, I truly enjoyed the show - the actors, the music including the well thought out set design with matching knee-deep flood waters and rain. Yes, there was rain and no, you won't get wet.

Performers that night were two-time gold medalist in the World Championships of the Performing Arts Kim Molina as Aileen, Robert Seña as Kiel, Kalila Aguilos as Mary Jane (Issay Alvarez alternates), Kaikai Bautista as Mercy and Arnel Ignacio as Fernan.

Director Maribel Legarda recounted in the foreword of the souvenir program, that two years ago musical arranger Myke Salomon jokingly said "kung meron Rock of Ages, dapat tayo Rak of Aegis." And the three of them together with Liza Magtoto, the playwright, created the musical.

Magtoto would listened to the songs over and over each day.  She said it was the line "ngunit heto, bumabangon pa rin" (But I'm here, still rising) from  Basang Basa ng Ulan  (Soaked through with Rain) that gave her the inspiration to create a plot out of the word 'resiliency" and "ulan" (rain) brought back images of  floods caused by the super typhoons.

She said "I remembered post-Ondoy relief efforts, during PETA's pyscho-social debriefing in Biñan, Laguna.  Two months after Ondoy, the place was still flooded. The shoe and sandal industry was almost gone, globalization had taken its toll as Crocs was in fashion. The mothers I interviewed suspected a subdivision causing the floods, although to this day, the speculation has to be verified. The government had no clear support for the local industry. Although Christmas was going to be bleak, the people didn't look so defeated."

guess who we spottled in the house - David Pomeranz!!
Indeed in 2009, Maricar Cinco reported that the townspeople of Malaban in Biñan, Laguna had to save other than their lives were "the sandals that floated around before the rising floodwater swept them away."  The town had 500 footwear producers and now, only 30 of them survived. In another report, it said over 114,700 people were made homeless and many lived on the top floors of their homes for up to four months, waiting for the flood to subside.

The playwright said that she didn't want the story to simply revolve around resiliency.  She said "But the narrative is more in tune with the songs themselves. This is to say, we bounce back when it comes to love. More than this societal background, most Aegis songs are about love - or actually, the loss of love. So the spine of the play is still this (losing and perhaps finding) love in the time of calamity."

I beg you...please don't miss this show!  It's fun, original and timely! The show will run until August 31, 2014.