Watching the new musical, “Fun Home” is like looking through old picture books where a cartoonist’s…
There’s a scene inHimala, Isang Musikalbetween Elsa, the saintly barrio girl who was thought to have been blessed with healing power and Orly, the photographer/filmmaker which many members of media and even the public can identify with in this time of political disquiet.
When Orly told Elsa that he witnessed she and her childhood friends Chayong were being raped by drug addicts, she replied mockingly with so much bitterness: “Nanood ka lang?
That can very well be asked to the public as the number of those killed in the government’s campaign against illegal drugs continue to rise.
First written for film by Ricky Lee and directed by Ishmael Bernal 36 years ago, Himala has not lost its relevance. It has even taken a wider and deeper significance in the age of fake news when people easily believe out-of-the ordinary happenings and with blind faith, attribute it to a miracle.
As a musical, Himala message is delivered with engaging power: “Walang himala! Ang himala ay nasa puso ng tao, nasa puso nating lahat! Tayo ang gumawa ng himala! Tayo ang gumagawa ng mga sumpa at ng mga diyos…”
The mood of the musical is set by the eclipse at the start which Elsa claimed to be an apparition of the Blessed Virgin Mary. The muted lighting that pervaded throughout the show enhanced production’s supernatural theme. The indistinct lighting made the set appear like a stage to an impending doom.
The story moved immediately to Elsa being seen as having acquired healing powers. She developed a “saintly” persona and formed her own “Seven Apostles” who included her friends Chayong, Sepa and the entrepreneur, Mrs. Alba.
Even without the aid of Facebook and Twitter, word of mouth spread Elsa’s “miraculous healing.” It didn’t take long for pilgrims and tourists arrived in Cupang. Among them was Elsa’s childhood friend Nimia, now a prostitute, who established a nightclub for visitors. Another was Orly, a filmmaker, who wanted to do a documentary about Elsa.
Tragedy later happened with the rape of Elsa and Chayong. Elsa “lost” her healing power.
But it also found its own power as articulated by the song,” Ang himala ay nasa puso ng tao, bawat pusong tao ay pugad ng himala. “
Presented by The Sandbox Collective and 9 Works Theatrical and directed by Ed Lacson, “Himala, Isang Musikal” is headlined by Aicelle Santos as Elsa, Bituin Escalante as Elsa’s Nanay Saling, , Kakki Teodoroas Nimia, Sandino Martin, David Ezra, and Noemi Gonzales.
You have to be be made of stone not to be moved with the heartbreak scene of Santos and Escalante
The musical’s libretto was co-written by scriptwriter Ricky Lee and musical director Vince de Jesus.
“Himala, Isang Musikal” performances are until March 4 at thePower Mac Center Spotlight, Level 2, Circuit Lane, Circuit, Makati.For details, pls. contact TicketWorld at 891-9999.