Not since the legendary ‘Superstar’ Miss Nora Aunor have I seen a small person stood so great, powerful and magnificent amidst the overpowering lights onstage. Not since the everlasting ‘Star For All Seasons’ Miss Vilma Santos have I seen a small human being abled to captivate the hearts of almost everyone when he smiled, when he cried, when he sang… And not since Miss Lea Salonga have I seen a stage performer carried-out a totally subtle but tremendous performance in a musical play.
The person I was speaking of, is no less than Gerald Santos. The young Pinoy Pop Superstar singing search contest grand winner a few years back, and now the talk of the town for his great performance in the play- “Sino Ka Ba, Jose Rizal?” by Bulwagang Gantimpala, directed by no less than Tony Espejo.
A new but great stage actor is born, in person of Gerald.
Gerald was so consistent all throughout the musical play. His own unique characterization on our national hero, Dr. Jose Rizal was something new and fresh to look at. With that, he deserved a standing ovation.
Giving Gerald one great support onstage was Christine Joy Mangahis who portrayed Josephine Bracken on that night of their performance at the Meralco Theater last December 28, 2011. Christine looked so amazing onstage. Her stage presence was overpowering. She delivered her lines with clarity and she sang so well, you could feel the depthness of her character in her eyes and great nuances onstage.
Our most favorite scene on the play was the last scene before the intermission break of Part 1, wherein “Pepe” (Dr. Jose Rizal) was being haunted by the characters of his novels. The music was tremendous, and the dark appearances of Sisa, Ibarra, Maria Clara, Elias, and the others onstage was presented in a foggy-effect-way, haunting and clamoring for Rizal’s attention that they should be given justice. Suddenly, Dr. Jose Rizal shouted and cried while singing on the very last minute, as the characters slowly disappeared. Totally a thought-provoking scene!
Another scene we found so cute was the “torpe” (shy guy) scene in which the young Rizal was so shy to court the love of his life- Leonor Rivera.
The cast ensemble was totally terrific. Sorry for our “exaggerating” words to describe them. But truly, the people behind this great musical play shone their very best. The direction of Mr. Tony Espejo is fast-paced, well-choreographed and with perfect blocking. The voices of all the cast sounded in unison.
And the music! yes, the music! The music and the lyrics of the great Nonoy Gallardo (the husband of Miss Celeste Legaspi, former president of OPM), exhilirated all the audience. It was all too powerful.
“Sino Ka Ba, Jose Rizal?” Hmmmmm…. Something good this way comes. Before the year 2011 ends, we were so glad to be able to see and watch this play. Thanks to Miss Christine Joy Mangahis for inviting us.
It’s so nice to see a better perspective on the personal life of Dr. Jose Rizal. The brighter perspective, we meant.
Because our beloved Philippines would never be the same without him.
words by robert manuguid silverio