Close  
  • share this
REVIEW

‘Mula sa Buwan’ a musical for the Filipino romantic

In a banner season, it’s the most quintessentially Filipino. It uplifts the audience and drives it to a deserved standing ovation
/ 07:25 AM November 24, 2018

“Mula sa Buwan” is an unabashedly romantic production that might appeal to an audience weaned on melodrama.

In a banner season for original Filipino musical theater, Black Box Production’s “Mula sa Buwan” may well be the most quintessentially Filipino.

It’s a sprawling canvas of a production—grandiloquent, unabashedly romantic, infectiously musical—wrapping an affecting love triangle in a confection of high-flown sentiment, comedy, tragedy, patriotism and noble self-sacrifice, that might appeal to an audience weaned on melodrama.

ADVERTISEMENT

That it is actually an adaptation of foreign material—Edmond Rostand’s 19th-century verse drama “Cyrano de Bergerac,” originally translated by Soc Rodrigo but radically adapted to a historical Philippine period around World War II by director Pat Valera and William Elvin Manzano—may not have been an issue as the original hails from an era of European romanticism whose mood could resonate with florid local sensibilities.

In any case, Valera and Manzano performed an imaginative transposition to an era distant enough to evoke nostalgia but close enough for a modern audience to relate to.

FEATURED STORIES

The musical premiered two years ago at the Ateneo’s Irwin Theater. Now, this staging at the Hyundai Hall of the campus’ Areté complex is all-stops-out in evoking its extravaganza: textured period sets and costumes, rousing choreography, energetic ensemble vocalization, a heart-appealing storyline focusing on theater, poetry and romance (the grim wartime background notwithstanding).

The production has two standout glories. One is its music: eminently relatable, whether in moods frenetic, comedic or soulfully romantic. Highlights were, rather unexpectedly, the stirringly defiant “Manifesto,” outstandingly delivered by Phi Palmos as Rosanna, and the piece-de-resistance balcony scene “Tinig sa Dilim.”

And the second is the performances of the story’s ill-fated love triangle. Edward Benosa, as the handsome bumbler Christian, is a hapless but oddly simpatico foil to the romance’s principals.

The lovely Cris Go is incandescent as a visually and vocally ravishing Roxane. And Boo Gabunada is simply outstanding as a compleat Cyrano—irrepressible, witty, sensitive, touchingly vulnerable and, in his final extended soliloquy, a tour-de-force expression of the tragic nobility that is the spirit of the play and production.

There are still things to cavil about. The afternoon this writer watched, problems with sound quality affected the ensemble numbers.

More substantially, the nearly three-hour length feels inordinate. While the musical ensemble numbers are individually enjoyable, a reduced number might have both tightened the narrative and heightened the focus on the romance of the leads that is the soul of the play. And the backstory to the animus leading to Cyrano’s death is thin and glancing.

But these, in the end, feel like nitpicking glitches in an entrancingly feel-good theatrical paean to our best instincts. So despite the heartbreak denouement, the production uplifts the audience and drives it to a deserved standing ovation.

ADVERTISEMENT

“Mula sa Buwan” has remaining performances today and tomorrow. Its alternate principal cast includes Nicco Manalo (Cyrano), Gab Pangilinan (Roxane) and Myke Salomon (Christian). —CONTRIBUTED

Visit mulasabuwan.ph, ticket2me.net, or the official Facebook page for tickets.

Read Next
Don't miss out on the latest news and information.
View comments

Subscribe to INQUIRER PLUS to get access to The Philippine Daily Inquirer & other 70+ titles, share up to 5 gadgets, listen to the news, download as early as 4am & share articles on social media. Call 896 6000.

TAGS: Filipino musical theater, Mula sa Buwan
For feedback, complaints, or inquiries, contact us.
business

NFA to stop selling cheap rice

December 19, 2018 05:40 AM

newsinfo

President doesn’t bully people – Palace

December 19, 2018 05:37 AM

newsinfo

No holiday truce with NPA rebels, Palace insists

December 19, 2018 05:36 AM

newsinfo

Sotto: No need for new law on use of medical marijuana

December 19, 2018 05:35 AM

business

NFA to stop selling cheap rice

December 19, 2018

opinion

‘I will personally obliterate him’

December 19, 2018

sports

Hotshots eye PBA crown

December 19, 2018




© Copyright 1997-2018 INQUIRER.net | All Rights Reserved

We use cookies to ensure you get the best experience on our website. By continuing, you are agreeing to our use of cookies. To find out more, please click this link.