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Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Theatre Review: Next Fall Hits Close to the Heart

With the legendary Miguel Faustmann - god, he's such a good actor- y el es un hispanohablante tambien!

With Niccolo Manahan, a new discovery, at least for me, he's really cute in person and tall haha!

One of the stalwarts of local Philippine theater, Bart Guingona - this guy can play anything!

With co-theatre buff MM, whose season tickets allowed us to have center second row seats - lovett!! thanks MM!!

It's great to see a gay-themed play from time to time.  Well, it rarely happens here in Manila, but when I travel abroad, like in London, there are gay-themed plays everytime, especially during the summer.

So anyway, we have been quite lucky lately that the Repertory Philippines decided to stage the gay-themed play, Next Fall.  The play has a very New York feel to it - from the stage props to the way the characters talk (since the play was originally an off-Broadway play in 2009) - and the Rep did a great job in achieving both that look in both the stage and in the way the characters act.

I think I understand why the Rep brought the play here.  In a country which is predominantly Roman Catholic, it would be a good dinner conversation topic to find out how the local gay men deal with their own feelings towards reconciling their religion with their being gay.  And that is the theme which permeates this play - the very interesting relationship between a guy who has a deep Christian faith, and his lover, who maybe labeled an atheist, who does not really care about his lover's faith - or so he thinks.

Well, you'd have to watch the play to see how the whole thing pans out.  If you are homophobic or feel uneasy about two grown men being tender to each other (kissing, horsing around) - better steer clear of this. But if you want to experience how the other half lives, then be brave and watch this one!

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Michael Williams: Superb as Dr. Jekyll

I last saw him in last year's 39 Steps, where he was nominated for Best Actor in a Play for my PinkFoxPatrol Theater Awards for 2011 - and he was pretty funny in that play!  This year, though, he plays an even more challenging role as Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde.  I know I already wrote about his acting in the review of this musical, but it's just that some performances stand out from the rest that it's worth writing aboutit in another blog article.  The theater season this year is still young (it's only the end of March) but most of the guys who would want to win the PinkFoxPatrol Best Actor in a Musical award for this year, may have a tough act to follow as Michael's performance here is the one to beat, as of yet, this year.

It's difficult to elicit fear in a live musical, but my friend and I were actually afraid of what he would do as his character killed and killed and killed with wanton evil. You would actually really hate Mr. Hyde here but of course, you'd realize, only one person is playing both, so to convey that feeling for a person was quite remarkable for me.
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More BTS Pictures with Dominic Roque

I just got these shots from my brother's camera.  These are BTS shots of me and Dominic Roquea after his interview and photoshoot for FABE magazine.

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Lest We Forget the Real Victims of War

As I read the fascinating back story to this iconic photograph of the Vietnam war, I am reminded of the atrocities of Bashar Al-Assad's government against his very own people.  I know that Syria is as far disconnected to most Filipinos, it being in the Middle East - a region that is ALWAYS associated with one war or another.  Although there are millions of Filipino workers in the Middle East, I am not sure of the actual numbers of them working in Syria - since there isn't much news right now about evacuating Filipino workers from that country.

I am just surprised that the world community has been very slow in reacting to the news of Assad's forces massacring his own people so he can stay in power.  I guess stories of cruel dictators replaying what they do best - can sometimes tire people to take action, especially that the situation seems to be domestic in nature.

After hearing news of that massacre in Homs, I just pray that the people of Syria can find a better way out of their dilemma since a civil war will always lead to catastrophic consequences.  The photo above, of children running in fear should remind us all of who the real victims of war are.

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Learning to Live Frugally

Well, I don't still exactly live frugally, but at least I have given up some of the excesses of my previous life.  It was not easy in the beginning but adjusting to it was eventually something I got accustomed to.  

First to go of course was my movie-watching.  I computed that it cost me upwards of 1K or more watching all the movies.  The truth is, with the advent of DVDs which are readily available, the only reason why I watch movies in theaters is when Rica invites me.  Otherwise, I just say no.  

Then, I've also stopped buying junk food - something which I always do after I work out.  A pack of Chocnut here, a bag of M&M's and so on and so forth.  Since my budget now is very tight, I just stopped passing by 7-11 after workouts.  It was difficult at first, since my mouth loves to munch something when I'm working, but I've gotten used to having none of those anymore.  And the good thing is, I feel that my gut is slowly becoming thinner!  I don't think it will disappear entirely but at least I don't look like I'm 3 months pregnant anymore.

Finally, I have learned to identify what really makes me happy.  That's where most of my weekly budget goes.  If it's not too important, then maybe I could live without it.

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Judith Light - Tony Awards Best Actress in a Featured Role in a Musical

The first Tony Award presented was for Best Performance by an Actress in a Featured Role in a Musical.  The award went to Judith Light.  See a snippet of her performance here with Oscar nominee, Stockard Channing -

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Michael McGrath: Tony Awards Best Performance by an Actor in a Featured Role in a Musical

Michael McGrath won the award for Best Performance by an Actor in a Featured Role in a Musical for his work in Nice Work if You Can Get It.  I read that Matthew Broderick is also in this play so this is definitely something I want to watch.  I have here a snippet of an interview with the winner answering some questions about his work -

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John Tiffany: Best Director Musical

Falling Slowly is one of my favorite Oscar-winning songs.  It came from the movie Once - a small independent Irish movie, which won big on Oscar night.  The movie has then been brought to Broadway and tonight, it won the award for Best Director Musical.  I am definitely watching this if I do go to New York.  I haven't actually heard the soundtrack of the musical yet, but I'm sure it's just right along the alley of its Oscar-winning theme.

The musical also won a host of other awards including Best Book of a Musical, Best Orchestrations, and Best Sound Design of a Musical.

Check out a snippet of the musical here -

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Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Post Easter Reflection #1: I Should Pray More

I know Easter has come and gone already but still, when I get to read inspirational articles, I get to reflect on my own life.  Well, one of those reflections that got to me today was for me to pray more, or a least, to make it a regular habit. 

I resolve, starting today, to begin and end my day with a prayer, to thank God for the beautiful day and the graces I received for that day and of course, to ask Him for help on things that I'm worried about.
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Revisiting The Book of Mormon

The song 'Hello' from 'The Book of Mormon' ushered in this year's Tony Awards.  It was a hilarious introduction with host Neil Patrick Harris being introduced in the end.  This is definitely something I'm going to see if I do go to New York.  I might as well buy the soundtrack just to be ready for the show.  Here's a snippet of their performance last year -

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