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Tuesday, March 4, 2008

Orosman and Zafira

Broom sticks... inverted ones. Those were the first things that I saw on stage. Then comes this ethnic sound, and I think a soft chant (try playing my embedded music for a bit of internalization ).

It gets better as Zelima, played by Tao Aves, comes out and starts her song narration. And suddenly I've zoned into the scene. Tao's voice did justice to what the character and even the setting of the play wants to convey... exotic... ethnicity. Its hard to believe that its her first play.

Well, that's just one of my two most favorite parts of the play. But I won't talk about the plot nor much about each character, just some of those moments when I was completely awed.

The Set and Design
Minimal, yet brillantly chosen. The movable seemingly inverted broom sticks (sorry lack of credible description) served as garden plants, castle hall decors, dungeon/ jail maze, and whatever your imagination may lead you. Effectively placed. Other props include rainmakers as spears (with the musicians' timed movement of his own rainmaker), kubing serving as both dagger and musical instrument... these amongst other brilliantly thought symbolic materials. My favorite is how the moon converts itself to a crescent one with the lights and how it transforms suddenly to the sun.
My second favorite scene or rather series of scenes depicting the continuous exhibition of war between tribes. It wasn't your usual moro moro where one party is on the left, the other on the right. They made it into a showdown of emotions through their different dances, each different, each artistically made. Kinda like watching a breakdancing competition only that these tell a story and are ethnically done with much class. Three different tribes, three different personalities, three different emotional portrayal of dance. You'd clearly see who's winning and who's at a lost cause. With this, I'd have to commend two actors who stood out with thier overflowing energies. Gulnara, played by Jean Judith Javier transformed into a beautiful warrior (kinda like Zena the warrior princess hehe). There was one point where I couldn't take
my eyes of her face. I felt the anger, the frustration and the lust for revenge. Zelim, played by JC Santos, on the other hand, spoke of consistent energy all through out the play. His presence screemed for attention, impossible to be left unnoticed. His fierce facial expressions and (battle) cries of war were important ingredients in establishement of trouble and war brewing in the tribes.

I was sitting practically right beside the musicians. And I can't sometimes help but get distracted with how good they sound that I'd have to investigate on how they do it. I was once eyeing the actor while he moves his spear while one of the musician simultaneously moves his bamboo rainmaker. And at the end of the play, there was this beautiful (yeah I had to add that one description) singer at the musician's group chanting those eyeiyah eyiyahyiyahs. it was like hearing mother nature sing with the sonorous hymnal of faries (OA na description, galeng kasi).
And lastly, two of my favorite singers of the night, Tao Aves and Maita Ponce (which explains the pics below). Tao aves sang clearly albeit the need to present much despair at some scenes. And yes, she is indeed the daughter of Grace Nono, but still she was a wonderful individual artist in her own right. And i look forward to her next plays. Maita Ponce on the other hand had the same sweet voice when I saw her in Dulaang Sibol's Sinta, jsut a week or two before. But it took me several stares to confirm that it was her and had to even ask a friend as she was a different character alltogether. She still presented that sweet face that amazingly transformed to that fierce warrior in the end.

A recommendation
A must watch. That I can say. Its not just your ordinary Filipino insipred production, but a work of art in itself. And good news, its playdates were extended to March 8 (see the sites below for more details).

for more photos and reviews, visit
http://orosmanatzafira.multiply.com/photos and http://gibbscadiz.blogspot.com/

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