It was quite funny that my instinct was right. When I was asked by my regional editor in BroadwayWorld.com Philippines about what slant should I write about this last offering of Philippine Educational Theater Association’s (PETA) 46th Theater Season, I quickly replied, “It’s the local version of the Broadway hit musical ‘Rock of Ages’, a 2006 rock jukebox Broadway musical.” He didn’t believe ne, but frankly, I really didn’t have any idea what is the best slant to write about the said musical based on the music of the legendary pop-rock band Aegis.
‘Rak of Aegis’ is written by Liza Magtoto from the ‘Care Divas’ fame, and directed by PETA’s artistic director–Maribel Legarda.
Novel but a Relevant Idea.
Being known for creating stage productions with relevant messages, PETA is undeniably NOT beaten in this area. Magtoto, the playwright recreated an image from an experience that really struck her–it was during the post-Ondoy relief efforts, a psycho-social debriefing in Binan, Laguna–that’s where the backdrop of this musical came to be.
Though both Magtoto and Legarda where quite nervous of what could be the outcome of this show; they all knew that the novelty of it, may just sell, and it DID! Putting the songs of Aegis in the weaving of the story is sheer brilliance.
PETA had a novelty of an idea. Capitalizing on the resilience of Filipinos in time of any calamity is another work of artistry to celebrate for. It’s another success story.
Formula = LOVE + SUCCESS, a winning combo!
Any story that guarantees great curiousity is mostly based on a love angle. Having the husband and wife team of Robert Sena and Isay Alvarez as Kiel and Mary Jane, respectively–is already a hit-in-the-making. Both characters used to be lovers in the past, but their ‘relationship issues’ resurfaced when their Barangay Venicia has been submerged in flood for two months.
Kiel’s daughter, Aileen played by Aicelle Santos of GMA-7’s La Divas, thought that the only way out of such a sorry slate is by capturing herself singing in a video using the flood-stricken Venicia as her backdrop; and upload it on YouTube and with the hopes of being discovered by Ellen DeGeneres. However, Aileen’s first suitor, Kenny portrayed by Poppert Bernales tried to help her realize that dream, but failed due to some personal struggles, particularly with his mom–Mary Jane. It was Aileen’s other suitor, Tolits assumed by Jerald Napoles who succeeded in videotaping Aileen while singing and was able to upload it online. Aileen and Tolits fell in love with each other.
I won’t tell the rest of the story, go and watch how the story between Kiel, Mary Jane, Aileen, Kenny, and Tolits will complement with the music of Aegis band through the musical direction and arrangement of Myke Salomon.
‘Rak of Aegis’ does not just promise good music and good story, but it showcases the best talents in Philippine theater can offer.
Flooded with Talented Performers.
Apart from having the leads–Robert Sena, Isay Alvarez, Aicelle Santos, Poppert Bernales, and Jerald Napoles; PETA gathered such a strong cast.
As Mary Jane, playing Alvarez’s alternate is the equally talented and powerful singer-actress–Kalila Aguilos (she was last seen in Ballet Philippines’ ‘Rama Hari’, 2012).
That evening when I watched the first show, portraying Fernan was Julienne Mendoza and he was really great. He outdid his work in ‘Bona’.
Another surprising performance that night was of Kakai Bautista. As Kiel’s wife, Mercy, she was able to essay the role effectively as the understanding and loving wife.
What came as a great treat for the audience at the opening night was the appearance and performance of the Aegis Band. They turned the curtain call as their mini-concert.
‘Rak of Aegis’ has two extended shows on March 14 at 3pm and 8pm, respectively at The PETA Theater Center, No.5 Eymard Drive, New Manila, Quezon City. For more details visit PETATheater.com; send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org or contact (632) 725-6244; +639175765400. For tickets, contact TicketWorld at (632) 891-9999.