climb

dropping the rock of ages

i'm not going to provide a summary of the "rock of ages". you can find that on wikipedia. i didn't know much about it, actually, except that i remember seeing a billboard somewhere along EDSA, near santolan, about a movie starring tom cruise. the people at atlantis productions say that they didn't time the playdates to coincide with the local film release: it was pure coincidence. regardless of the serendipitous circumstances, i found myself at the RCBC theater to get a ticket for its opening show. the building was bursting with celebrities, which included lea salonga. if her hands weren't so full already from the media that was present, i would have harassed her for a photo. i managed to drag my friend CY to watch the play with me.

inside the theater, pinky amador was seated beside us, and ahead of the start, she already warned us that she will be very loud. thankfully, the seats behind us were empty, and she transferred. i found out that "rock of ages" would be shown in my building from a new article i read while waiting for my breakfast at kopi roti to be served. i had already missed a few musicals and plays just because i thought there were more weekends to come. since i knew i'd be away, i decided to catch it when it opened.

so "rock of ages" has a thinly-written plot. normally, i wouldn't mind that so much. in fact, the play's narrator admits just as much. but i didn't realize it was so real even for a non theater critic like myself, i wondered whether it had to be ended that way. as someone who writes, i know when something has been rushed, or at least, extended beyond reason, that you just drop an ending the size of a sledgehammer, hoping the noise and the flying debris would scare everyone into not complaining. i'm pretty sure it had nothing to do with the direction: our local talents just had to work with the existing material.

i was a little confused about the casting of nyoy volante as the lead. i just don't think of him as a rocker, and at the beginning, it showed with his mellow treatment of some rock standards. i did hear a few growls midway through the first act. while not a huge nyoy fan, i recognize his talent, although for this particular part, many things didn't seem right. it must have been the wig or the costumes, but he frequently looked as if he had no neck, and that his head had ballooned to more than the average size. he looked like a muppet, to be honest.

i'm not sure of vina morales' experience on stage, but judging from her performance on opening night, she was extremely nervous. she tipped over a stool, put her violet jacket on wrong, and just seemed strangely awkward. plus, her accent was a little off-putting. it sounded like someone trying to erase a past, but having a hard time at it. it just didn't match her claim that she was from oklahoma. it didn't help that all the other characters seemed to have no difficulty putting on an american accent. also, her voice is too sweet for even the rock ballads, and she was just wiped out when jinky llamanzares sang along with her. i noticed her breathing has improved a little, but her voice was more suited for something without a rock theme. i must confess though that she is still smoking hot!

mig ayesa is also on this play, and he plays, and rather oddly, looks, the part of a rock icon, notwithstanding the fact that he resembles willem dafoe. i didn't know he was so chiseled, he almost looked fake, like a moving wax sculpture. now his voice was perfect for all the songs, and he is surprisingly an amazing actor. jet pangan's talent as a singer was not completely exploited here, since his role as narrator didn't require him to sing any of the marquee songs. but i have to say his dancing is terrible. it did provide a humorous counterpoint, although it would not have worked if you didn't know who he was, or his place in the local music scene.

what really brought the house down for me was aiza seguerra. yes, her voice doesn't seem like a fit for much of the play's repertoire, although she did manage "we built this city" with conviction. what really shook me off my seat was when she stepped out as a transexual stripper in the venus club. she was wearing a faux leather lingerie and some nasty stockings. it was hilarious! i hardly noticed the dialogue in that part because the entire theater was cheering!

having seen the play, i'm not sure if i'm inclined to see the movie. the story is far from compelling, and i'm sure the adaptation wouldn't stray too far away from the original plot. watching it should be only for the pure joy of enjoying music from a specific era. the local theater production features some great performances by very talented local artists which got a lot of people rising from their seats to applaud. star power seems to be enough reason to praise something, regardless that it didn't add to making the play any more relevant, or substantial.