Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Ang Ibon at ang Phantom

Severino Reyes’ Walang Sugat, a zarzuela staged by Tanghalang Pilipino directed by Carlos Siguion-Reyna ran on the same date and complex as Andrew Llloyd Webber’s The Phantom of the Opera, a broadway musical this 26 August at the Cultural Center of the Philippines.

Common between the two musical productions other than shared dates and venue are the themes: pursuit of a relationship and the wanting to be freed. In Walang Sugat, fulfillment of a relationship meant bond in marriage between Tenyong and Julia while in The Phantom it was the Phantom’s release of Christine for Raoul. Walang Sugat’s thesis is “O, makapangyarihang pag-ibig, hahamakin ang lahat, makamtan ka lamang!”

Both dramatized that it is the spirit that sets the heart free but the Phantom was more explicit is stating that music is the key to freedom in the Music of the Night “Let the dream begin, let your darker side give in to the power of the music that I write the power of the music of the night.”

Both were engaging in theme, language and production values varying only in scale and magnitude.

Love as a universal language has a wide appeal whether global or regional. There lies though one difference. In the Phantom, I was just one of the over 1,800 audience at the main theater while in Walang Sugat, I was seated at the center at the same level as the stage. In Walang Sugat, it was not relating to the 400 guests but to me as a native citizen. When the chorus described the nation in Constancio de Guzman’s music as “ibon man may laying lumipad, kulungin mo at umiiyak” and wanting to be freed “Pilipinas kong minumutya pugad ng luha at dalita aking adhika makita kang sakdal laya” the production was not merely an illusion but threading on a  reality.

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Youth, System and Passion in times of Crisis


Judging from the quick response of citizen’s group to mobilize relief operations to supplement the government and advocacy group’s drive, we can declare selectively that we are an organized and socially responsible society.

Packing at the UP Diliman College of Human Kinetics
At the Ateneo and UP Diliman campuses and in other school and commercial centers, relief centers were immediately activated with donations in terms of goods, cash and services coming in on the onset. Mountaineering groups, fraternities and sororities, student council organization, medical units, logistics company willingly offered their expertise to augment the drives which are not traditionally covered by the usual relief operations.

The more structured units deployed score cards to provide visibility and transparency to their operations. Info like number of volunteers, donations received, sponsors, bags sorted and deployed, efficiency rates, operating hours, inventory and other relevant data were made available to anyone.

Three factors seem to have contributed to this spontaneous movement: Harnessing the energy of the youth who channeled their drives from the suspended classes to the relief centers, leveraging the power of organizations and their systematic approach to massive operations, our personal devotion to advocacy and in helping others.

Sorting at the Ateneo Loyola Studies Covered Court
While we may not have sufficient resources and facilities, it is our spirit as a nation that provides us with infinite wealth. Mabuhay ka Pinoy!

Photos grabbed from Arcel Tesoro-Madrid UP Student Council and Pregalario UCPRO Ateneo posted in facebook.

Saturday, August 11, 2012

Time Flies

When Tears for Fear opened the concert with the familiar melodic strains of “Welcome to your life,” of the song “Everybody Wants to Rule the World,” I was immediately transported to the 80’s when that song was in my last music syndrome memory box for an extended period of time.

Listening further to the angsts of Roland who created the band with Curt with a strong psychological affiliation of transforming the fears to tears as a bridge to coping, I assessed that their songs popularized in the 80’s heard again in the 21st century can pass the test of time. Still relevant, current, modern.

Concert's playlist interpreted to about 17 thousand concert goers supported with technically superior audio and video facilities in a landmark venue, several insights were spontaneously floating in my mind. One of them was how can life go on immediately after the “Hagupit ng Habagat” as if nothing happened? Another was, "Will the sights and sounds bring back the memory of my youth?"

Beside me was a young Chinese in the company of older folks appreciating the songs of another era who would stand up and sway to the beat of the drums when familiar songs are played. This validated that TFF music’s appeal to multiple generations. He would sit down when Roland churns in his relatively new tunes and stand up again and swing his body when the crowd gets excited. Though not skillful, he was naturally following the graceful rhythm of his pace.


New and old generation alike were equally approving and moving in varying degrees. But who would enjoy it the most?

After about an hour and a half, Roland and Curt ended the set playlist with “Head over Heels” resonating Araneta Coliseum with the prolonged melody of the final line, “tiiiiiiiiiiimmmmmmmmmmeeee fliiiiiiieeeees.


With the crowd’s loud and appreciative applause, at that moment, the line confirmed the debate I initially entertained, "It is inevitable, you cannot hold time.  Just go along with it.”
Moving out of the crowded coliseum, another song "Mad World" kept on ringing in my ear, "the dreams in which I'm dyin' are the best I've ever had."  TFF last 10 August might just be a dream.