“The pressure people put on themselves and the rivalry between the teams is much more marked. And I think that’s a good thing. As long as that rivalry remains within the spirit of competition, it can only spur everyone on.” – Eric Cantona
Thirty years ago, when Noel Trinidad approached Ed Gatchalian the do a musical based on the basketball teams Crispa and Toyota, but it didn’t pan out. Today, the two are reunited with a project that is promising and something that sets the records of what the real score is all about the rivalry of the two schools—Ateneo and La Salle. Together, they are involved in the latest musical that is presented by the 4th Wall Theater Company.
The Birth of ‘Rivalry: Ateneo-La Salle The Musical’
The idea germinated in Ed Gatchalian’s mind, the show’s executive producer, musical director-composer-arranger-and-orchestrator. He also co-writes the book and the libretto with Jaime del Mundo, a seasoned director.
Being an Atenean since grade school and high school and stayed for two years in college, Gatchalian, sought help from his friends (Juan Miguel Llamas, Tony Cervantes and Jimmy Morelos) from the rival school in order to present an unbiased, true and accurate depiction of the said rivalry between Ateneo and La Salle.
Issues taken were in these order: girls basketball, girls again, basketball again, social issues, girls once more, academics, basketball, more girls, and finally—basketball championship.
The Story’s Love Triangle Angle
Whatever literary piece is available for its intended audience to partake, the angle on love is still a best-selling one.
Putting together Athena Tibi as Reena San Jose, the object of affection of the two boys played by Mako Alonso as Tommy Basilio (La Salle’s star player) and Felix Rivera as Quito Valencia (the Atenean cousin of Tommy) did provide the ‘kilig’ factor.
Even if at the end of the musical, it was kind of hanging if who did Reena eventually chose between Tommy and Quito.
Both actors have given justice to the roles and so as Athena who has such a beautiful voice to begin with.
Gatchalian was successful enough to incorporate the love triangle. It further strengthened the rivalry between the two boys representing the two schools. Perhaps this was the only part that created more tension as opposed to the basketball tension at the game scenes.
An All-Original Filipino Production’s Future
In one of the press conferences that I have attended, a question surfaced.
“Why is it that there most theater companies have resorted to bringing foreign productions rather than staging all-original Filipino productions?”
The answer was simple. Any production is still a business. Theater productions that are based from Broadway are most likely to sell as opposed to our very own. That was one valid and straight to the answer. Also, most of our all-original Filipino productions may either be based on old subjects or themes that most intended market—the students may find already boring.
With ‘Rivalry: Ateneo-La Salle The Musical’—it is a big risk, but there is no doubt that one day, it will be making waves not just here, but also in abroad. The two productions of Philippine Stagers Foundation: Ako si Ninoy and Cory ng EDSA are classic examples that have caught the attention of audiences not just here, but off-shores as well.
I also have to give credit to Noel Trinidad’s special participation in this production. In his number, he stood out and stole the limelight and have the attention to himself as Eliseo Genaro.
The musical runs from Thursdays to Sundays until March 11. Thursday – Sunday shows at 8 p.m.; Matinees on Saturdays and Sundays at 3 p.m.