Over the weekend I saw two stage performances: one a preview, the other a premiere; one by a college drama guild, the other by a professional theater outfit. Both musicals, both tell familiar tales — one concerning politics, the other, religion.
The former, Lean; the latter, Godspell.
Lean: If all else fails, there’s music
Will Gary Granada please write more musicals?
The composer injects a dose of rock with patriotic élan into UP Naming Mahal that any listener, regardless of alma mater, will find a connection to the anthem. Without neglecting its humor, he turns the pejorative catchphrase ‘Only in the Philippines’ into a full-on critique of the national elections in Dito lang sa Pilipinas. These, along with other rousing Granada-penned songs, I heard at the concert preview of Lean last Friday.
Lean is short for Leandro Alejandro, the name of prominent UP student and nationalist shot dead in 1987. The musical, which revolves around his activism, premiered in 1997 and featured OPM arti…
I just admire Matthew Koma. I will always wish him well. The first time I interviewed him (for his first show at Chaos Manila), I was surprised by his wisdom and candor. He says the most practical and at the same profound things. He's witty and chill. My kind of guy.
Last week, March 11 to be exact, he came back for another show, and I did everything I could (which wasn't much, since the people at Chaos were super cool) to score another one-on-one with him for GIST. Matthew was in a better mood. He remembered me!
Told him it was my birthday the day before and that his show was my birthday gift to myself. After the interview, I asked for an updated selfie and told him, 'I want us to look like we're friends,' to which he quickly replied, 'We ARE friends'.
But the best thing that happened that night was he gave me a hug — an actual hug, you know, with pressure.
It will strike different chords with different folks. With someone who majored in Literature and whose reflexes include poetry, Margaret Edson’s Wit is a chaffing reminder that command of language is in the slightest degree command of life; and mastery of the highest form of literature does not save one from leading a corny life.
50-year-old Vivian Bearing, PhD is a professor of seventeenth-century poetry, specializing in the Holy Sonnets of John Donne. She’s ready to die. Resigned, at least, to a future contained in a ‘two-hour glass’. Enough time for her to muse about mortality in front of an obliging audience.
Professors (the better ones) are precisely that: performers. Dr Bearing makes the theater her lecture hall. The subject, we’re not sure. Stage-four metastatic ovarian cancer? Metaphysical wit? Punctuations turning worlds upside-down? Kindness, meaning? Until her very last minutes, she needs to parse everything:
I am not in isolation because I have cancer… I am in isolation b…
(Had the pleasure of sitting down with theater actor, Jef Flores. We talked about his career as well his latest play, In the next room or the vibrator play. The interview originally appeared on GIST.)
* Don't call Jef Flores an award-winning actor“You have permission to slap me in the face if I turned into a douchebag,” actor Jef Flores asks us to mark his words, so here it is on record.
He has every reason to fear it: since making his debut in professional theater five years ago — without any training, save for doing improv and being a musician back in the States where he grew up — Jef has been cast in some of the most successful productions by a diverse set of theater outfits, and in 2015 snagged a Philstage Gawad Buhay Award for best male lead performance in a play.
His latest gig: artist Leo Irving in Repertory Philippines’ In the Next Room or The Vibrator Play. The title may well be a marketing ploy, as Sarah Ruhl’s tale, though billed as a comedy, reads like a domestic drama.…
Not sadness for a loss of life but a pang of nostalgia. That's how I felt when I heard about Chris Cornell's death.
The afternoon weather was rather relaxed. Rain cooled the air. We welcome this given what seemed like summer baking in infernal heat. Late lunch was made, served, had. Logged on to Netflix. Watched the stupid but nevertheless entertaining Stephen King novel-inspired Secret Window.
Peeked at Twitter (or returned to Twitter after a quick dip into life?). There the news was.
Whatever sadness I felt, it was directed towards the fans awaiting the band's next gigs. I know I can put myself in their shoes. I do love Soundgarden, though I may not have followed them as intently. Cornell's voice will remain — I don't see it within the context of gender or genre, it just is magnificent.
Naturally went on a binge—
Quintessence of badassery
Missing this brand of loud
—Reminded of how grand, how badass Soundgarden and Chris Cornell were.
The Dispossessed by Ursula K Le Guin is saying something important about man's proprietary interests. Printed in the back of my limited edition copy (bought it for the pretty cover design) is the quote, 'All you have is what you are, and what you give.' It reminds me of these words of wisdom (from the Disney cartoon, Committed), which has stuck with me ever since: 'What you have is not yours, what you give is yours.'
But I'm reading for the romance. By romance I mean this ideal relationship with a sexual component between two people.
I find the notion of ownership in romantic relationships barbaric. I confess, conquest is exhilarating — among all the women vying for his attention, he chooses me. I have made him mine. I, however, shiver with disgust whenever I think about myself or someone I love, like a friend or a relative, being 'owned' by someone else.
Whatever happens within the frame of this partnership must be set in motion, perpetuated and preser…
I have this playlist called 'Flavor of the now'. Title's self-explanatory, no? Songs there have a short shelf life. May, however, seems to be my new-music month. Two releases have blown my mind, a single by Ghastly and Matthew Koma and an LP from Ed Banger Records (on the 26th, Rita Ora is dropping Your song — but that's topic for later). My favorite artists are loving me back.
These tracks have been enjoying a longer run on FOTN. They're on repeat since Thursday (an advantage of living this side of the world is our Friday arrives earlier, so I got to sort of preview them); and are currently playing in the background as I type this.
1. We might fall – Ghastly, Matthew Koma
It's so simple and so direct. So clear in what it wants to say. I never really take lyrics seriously but this hits home. I knew it was good as I somewhat felt annoyed after a few listens.
Could you come a little closer but still keep your distance. I realize this is a cliché yet it's also n…
My EDM Northern Star and dear friend (LOL), Matthew Koma, announced that he's releasing a track with one Jai Wolf this April 21. So therefore I Spotified Jai.
I fell asleep to this playlist — which has been on loop the entire day today — and will probably put me to sleep again tonight.
Heavenly but also dark synths, flirtations with RnB, depth. That's it. There's depth to his music, and I'm not talking about lyrics, but the entire soundscape — the creative decision-making behind it. (Thank you for putting this note after that note...)
My life is so banal to have him playing in the background.
His music feels like something you play in a pristine penthouse, on a cool night and your heart is cold. Something you play after a disaster you haven't recognized yet.
Becca Coates has the voice of an angel — fitting for the innocent, music-loving nun she plays; but it’s the veteran voices of Pinky Amador and Menchu Lauchengco-Yulo that make Repertory Philippines’ Agnes of God sing and soar.
Psychiatrist Dr. Martha Livingston (Lauchgenco-Yulo) is appointed by the court to examine Agnes (Coates), a 21-year-old novice whose newborn — which she claims to have been fathered by God — is found dead in a wastebasket. At the convent, the doctor is greeted by Mother Superior Miriam Ruth (Amador), and what follows is a long argument on science, religion, and the best way to protect Agnes from manslaughter charges.
For a straight play, John Pielmeier’s Agnes of God has an amazing sense of rhythm. It moves from Dr. Livingston delivering a monologue, to a pair of characters in conversation (whether in quick-fire repartee, humorous banter, or calm give-and-take), to all three sharing a scene, then back to Dr. Livingston addressing the audience, restarting the cyc…