The Wheel and Axle

Music & Theater

Once Again On This Island

by on Oct.28, 2017, under Music & Theater

Once On This Island will always be one of my favorite musicals, ever. It doesn’t get as much love as a lot of the bigger Broadway classics, but it has a very loyal following throughout the decades. In the Philippines, it’s been staged both professionally as well as in various schools. I can pretty much still sing it from start to finish.

So imagine my excitement when I heard they’re doing a revival on Broadway this year, with an out-of-the-box casting bonanza as well. Aside from having the Lea Salonga, a Filipina, as the goddess Erzulie and Quentin Earl Darrington as the god Agwe, we have some gender-bending casting choices with Glee’s Alex Newell portraying the goddess Asaka and actress Merle Dandridge portraying the psychopomp Papa Ge. These are, after all, deities, so perhaps interpreting them as not conforming to human ideas of gender and sexuality is a valid point of view.

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Teach kids History, darn it!

by on Oct.21, 2017, under Music & Theater, Snark

I mean, seriously. Come on.

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Broken Communities

by on Oct.02, 2017, under Music & Theater, Society

At some point in the staging of Ang Pag-Uusig, which is Jerry Respeto’s translated adaptation of Arthur Miller’s The Crucible, you will start to feel extremely uncomfortable at just how familiar everything was turning out to be. This, despite the fact that the play is set in 17th century Salem.

Yet this has always been the power of Miller’s masterpiece. Even though it was, on the surface, a tale of the 1692 Salem witch trials, it ultimately was a cautionary tale of communities being broken apart by paranoia and an authoritarian socio-political climate that allows bubbling hostilities to rise to the surface and bring out the worst in people.

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by on Sep.29, 2017, under Film & TV, Geeky, Music & Theater

The first time I watched Kontra-GaPi was as a student in Ateneo. I honestly can’t recall if it was in late grade school or earlt high school, but I distinctly remember how amazed I was at their talent and how much they were promoting native Filipino music and instrumentation.

I’m glad they’re still around, as I found out recently when they did a cover of the Game of Thrones theme for cable to promote the recently-concluded season.

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Simon & Garfunkel would approve.

by on Sep.24, 2017, under Music & Theater, Society, Travel & Culture

Sometimes, satire really bites with hilarious (and yet sad) truths.

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Shape of Thrones

by on Sep.19, 2017, under Film & TV, Geeky, Music & Theater, Snark

Because, like the creators of this Star Wars gem, some people really just have a whoe lot of free time on their hands.

And thank goodness for that, or else we wouldn’t have this other gem.

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Aurelio Postscript: Mabuhay ang Tanghalan!

by on Sep.17, 2017, under Literature, Music & Theater, Society, Travel & Culture

Because I enjoyed it so much, I watched Aurelio Sedisyo: A Rock Sarswela again. I basically book-ended the experience, having first seen it during opening night and now capping it with the closing show. And while opening night was great, the production has definitely found its footing and is even more polished.

I’ve spoken previously of the wonderful performance of the cast members, but this time I was able to watch Baron Geisler as Tikbalang. Just like the rest of the cast, he is excellent onstage. Despite the occasional difficulty of being heard (it might have been his mic), Baron has a powerful presence, perhaps more so than his alternate, that truly helps embody the personification of American Imperialism. His is an imposing antagonist, one that is disturbing, hilarious, and frightening all at the same time – a portrayal deserving of the character.

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Staying Alive for the Empire

by on Sep.05, 2017, under Film & TV, Geeky, Music & Theater, Snark

Here’s a little throwback of galactic proportions.

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Deliciously Seditious, Part 2

by on Sep.04, 2017, under Literature, Music & Theater, Society, Travel & Culture

Continued From:

Deliciously Seditious, Part 1

Aurelio Sedisyoso: A Rock Sarswela, beyond sedition and subversion, is also a grand zarzuela. It is a beautifully-boisterous production reminiscent of those colorful stagings of old, where drama and comedy were fused with music and choreography and, in some cases, cheeky but pointed social criticism. Simultaneously operatic and punk and everything in between, it seamlessly incorporates classic zarzuela accoutrements and traditional Tagalog song and dance with modern trappings such as rap battles, rock riffs, and hip-hop.

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