Raw, vivid and emotionally haunting—that was how I felt when I first saw Pat Valera and William Manzano’s Mula sa Buwan two years ago.
This majestic Filipino Zarsuela was an adaptation of Edmund’s Rostand’s timeless piece, Cyrano de Bergerac but instead of 17th century France as its setting, the play brought us to Manila during the 1940s when World War II happened—a period that has permanently dented the history of our country.
For others, it might have been a crazy idea to watch a play twice. But the moment I learned that Mula sa Buwan will have its second run as the first theatrical production to be staged at the 800-seat main theater of the Arete at the Ateneo de Manila University Creative Hub, I did not hesitate to spend another weekend to watch it, and the crew definitely did not disappoint.
During its first run I got the chance to witness Boo Gabunada, whose expressive face and distinctive voice gave life to Cyrano, an ROTC captain with an exaggeratedly pointed and elongated nose who secretly harbors love for his childhood friend, Roxane, who was then played by KL Dizon.
Cyrano’s love was selfless that he lent his words and voice to Christian (then played by Edward Benosa) who was the subject of Roxane’s infatuation.
As World War II caused the death and defeat of thousands of men and women, Cyrano’s feelings didn’t waver at all even in darkness and chaos.
Luckily, as I watched this time, I got to watch Nicco Manalo play the part of Cyrano. He was the one originally casted for the role and I must say, he was the perfect fit for it. Cyrano didn’t feel just as a character – it was as if he was Manalo’s alter ego. His voice was so versatile that our hearts jumped as he sung in glee with the cast during the first part of the play, and was irrevocably broken as he sang melancholic songs at the end of the show.
Gab Pangilinan played Roxane during this run and I still cried as she beautifully sung Ang Sabi Nila, while Myke Salomon, both known as a theater actor and musical director, was the best choice for the role of Christian as his machismo and his raw voice made the audience laugh and sigh.
Another remarkable decision they made for this run was to have the theater sensation Phi Palmos play the part of Rosanna, a great friend of Cyrano who always took care of him and his cadets. Phi’s superb performance wowed the audience and his representation of the LGBT community was applauded by everyone.
Too, compared with the first run, the story displayed more clarity and emotion—the revelation of Cyrano’s feelings to Roxane on the time of his death was not showed previously, and thus opened wounds anew.
This may be Mula sa Buwan’s last flight, but if given the chance to watch it again, I’d be willing to have my heart be broken again and again by this piece that mirrors love, defiance and bravery at a time of vulnerability and war.
[Entry 270, The SubSelfie Blog]
About the Author:
Apple Gamboa is a Media Relations Manager for Ogilvy Philippines. She was previously a news producer for GMA News programs Quick Response Team and News to Go. She was also a producer of lifestyle TV shows and documentaries. Travelling and music is her passion, and taking risks is her reality medicine. Journalism 2010, UST. Read more of her articles here.