A different but nonetheless good way to spend Mother’s Day this weekend is to go to the theater. “Ghost The Musical” is worth your weekend.
“Ghost” the movie is still on everyone’s mind; how do you dislodge from your visual memory a Demi Moore (in her sexy denim overalls and close-cropped bob), a Patrick Swayze (with his buff body) and a Whoopi Goldberg (with a Whoopi Goldberg presence)? This movie is a mark of an era (1990), a date movie before the time of flirtatious text messaging.
If only because “Ghost The Musical” at the Carlos P. Romulo Theater at RCBC Plaza makes you set aside Demi/Patrick/Whoopi even only for an hour or so, it works. Christian Bautista and Cris Villonco’s Sam and Molly are intense, Ima Castro’s Oda Mae Brown leaves you in stitches and makes you forget the day’s bad grammar, Hans Eckstein’s Carl is foreboding.
They make you laugh, cry, swoon—after the show, I looked around and espied some members of the audience dabbing away tears, be they from laughter or from feeling Molly’s pain. A
goodbye, meant for eternity, always leaves you teary-eyed. I’ve never seen Cris Villonco wielding this much power onstage.
And that’s how theater should be—it sucks you in until the pain, laughter and the moment of enlightenment become all yours. Theater is experience, and good theater is an indelible experience you keep playing on your mind long after you step out of the hall.
Theater is an audience’s subjective moment, more than it is their intellectual acquisition. Apparently, Atlantis Productions’ founder and “Ghost The Musical” director Bobby Garcia knows that only too well. Thanks to his mastery of his craft, we’ve been having good theater weekends—from last year’s “Piaf” to a more recent “Addams Family,” and even with “Little Mermaid” of previous years, and which our companion, 6 years old then, still remembers even now that she’s moved on to “Frozen” and Elsa. Bobby has kept us going back to the theater.
“Ghost The Musical” ends its run Sunday.
And the good news is, Red Turnip’s “Cock” will have a re-run this year.
Again, we’re looking forward to watching Niccolo Manahan, Topper Fabregas, Jenny Jamora and Audie Gemora (who sat beside us all through the play, but in character) under Rem Zamora’s direction. Gender and fidelity—why do I know that they’re negotiable? Thanks to friends who go through a lot.
On to other ghosts… It’s not Halloween, and I could just be imagining it. But spooks and spirits seem to be always part of my travelogue, and my friends know that. I never liked being spooked, who does? But I do get spooked when I least expect it.
It was our fourth night in London, more than a month ago, in a nice, chic hotel near Trafalgar Square—good vibes, nothing scary about it at all. It was already our fourth day, with no weird feeling at all. The place was “clear,” I thought.
But that night, tired as I was, I couldn’t sleep and kept tossing and turning. When I finally slumbered—it must have been around 2 a.m.—I had a dream. I was in an elevator packed with
strangers who kept talking to me. They were asking me to say my prayer for the poor souls in purgatory—for each of them. Prayer for the eternal repose of souls is SOP with me; I’ve been saying that every night since I was in grade school.
So, in this elevator, I was telling the crowd, “Wait lang, one by one,” asking them to be patient. I said, you first, pointing at a couple, and asked them, did you die together? Okay, then next, I said, the boy, and pointed at a boy in the elevator.
I was at it, muttering the prayer nonstop when I began to complain to them that I was already getting tired. Then I woke up, still uttering the prayer for the lost souls of purgatory. I didn’t think much of this dream. I went back to sleep.
After what must have been an hour, I woke up to the screams of a young woman (the voice sounded young): “Help me, help me, please help me!” Since the hotel was right beside a pub, I thought some drunken kids down the street might just be getting wasted.
I went back to sleep, only to be awakened again after about some time, by the same screams. That’s funny, I thought, why hasn’t the hotel or the police looked into it, or at least quieted down these kids?
I thought nothing about it—until the next day when I asked my son and others in our group if they heard the street commotion that night. They didn’t.
Then I remembered my seemingly innocuous dream of the packed elevator. Uh-oh. Then I also recalled how, earlier that day, I spent the afternoon just in the room, resting my feet tired from walking, and praying the rosary. I had an afternoon of quiet and meditative moments before that night’s dream.
Oh no, I have opened up a door, a channel, to these occasional “visitors.” They have found me, yet again, this time in London. You know what’s been written and said—each of us has gradations of sensitivity or openness to whatever spirits or energy forces are out there.
By now my friends are used to hearing my stories, such as that one. Some have gotten the habit of asking me if this or that hotel, based on my experience, is “clear”—like, what do they expect from me, some hotel guide? That’s on one hand. On the other, I still find my experiences hokey.
Other than these, we had normal times in London last March. This was during the junket for friends of Keren Pascual, the PR practitioner and talent manager (of Enchong Dee, for one)
who organizes regular trips abroad he’s dubbed as “Famous.” The one last March marked his not-yet-senior-citizen birthday celebration.
Over dinners, we touched base with the famous Gretchen Barretto, who was in London yet again with her “my Tony,” Tonyboy Cojuangco. The actress and the business tycoon—one of Manila’s most-followed couples—were visiting their only child Dominique, the 18-year-old who’s one of today’s “it” girls and a brand ambassador of Bench Body Whitening Lotion. Dominique is in London studying fashion design and writing.
According to her proud mother, fashion and writing have always been the interests of Dominique, who’s also learning to be on her own in this hip and cool city. Gretchen and Tonyboy fly to London regularly to check on their daughter.
There, the couple spend regular days, enjoying the restaurants and even the market. I never realized how much of a foodie Gretchen is until our London dinners—not only does one of Manila’s most beautiful women love to eat, she apparently also knows her food, from meats to cheeses. It was interesting to watch her relish each bite.
Also joining our dinners was Lesley Mobo, the Filipino who made a name in fashion design in London, as designer for Harrods. He’s been based in London for 14 years now, and last year he designed a T-shirt line for Uniqlo.
Lesley is pleased with how fashion is evolving. After the era of Alexander McQueen, he said, fashion is again embracing the “purity of line of a Raf Simons.” Apparently Lesley longs for the clean, classic, pure elements of design in this era of fast fashion (akin to fast food).
He comes home to Aklan regularly to visit his folks. London’s boy is our hometown boy. Lesley is a down-to-earth, casual guy whom you’ll enjoy having dinner with.
In London, we enjoyed the company of the living.
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