It was even delightful and more relatable the second time around.
As a fan of plays and musicals of The Philippine Educational Theater’s Association (PETA), I was able to watch ‘Rak of Aegis’ during one of its early runs in 2014.
So when I learned that it has gone online for a global audience and is extending for another weekend on August 14 to15, I just couldn’t miss to relive the fun and wonder again.
Pre-pandemic, ‘Rak’ of Aegis was one if not the most anticipated musicals by PETA that people flocked yearly and filled every seat in its theater in Quezon City, and this show is now on its seventh season.
It was always a remarkable experience for us as audience to witness every actor act and sing passionately on-stage and get to meet and mingle with them after the show.
But as this pandemic comes with restrictions that hinders us to watch it live, our current situation has also given an opportunity for the whole world to see what they’ve been missing as this jukebox musical has gone online this year through Ticket2Me.net, PETA’s official streaming and ticketing partner.
As I watched it online this time, every scene and song was still reminiscent of how I felt when I saw it live and for some parts, maybe even better.
I still enjoyed everytime Aicelle Santos belted out Aegis songs apt for her situation as Aileen, a simple girl who lives in the flooded Barangay Venezie and dreams of being discovered by Ellen DeGeneres through her singing so she can become an international star and finally alleviate her family from poverty.
I still got emotional when tears started falling from her eyes as she sang “Basang-Basa sa Ulan”, making the song less of a drunken karaoke staple but more of the story of her misfortunes as she lost her job and tried to do everything to survive and support her family.
I still laughed at Tolit’s (Pepe Herrera) funny antics and dramatic scenes with macho dancer moves as he showed his admiration and support for Aileen.
I still liked the characterizations of Kiel (Robert Seña) and Mary Jane (Isay Alvarez-Seña) and how their conflicted relationship in the past added drama and interest to the present situation of Barangay Venizia. And of course, these veterans still haven’t lost their touch when it comes to performing and showed their laudable talent.
What was a surprise this time were the amazing and soulful performances of Kenny (Poppert Bernadas) who is Tolit’s rival for Aileen’s heart, Aileen’s leptospirosis-stricken mother Mercy (Joanna Co), the ever glamorous and supportive friend Jewel (Jimi Marquez) and the developer of the adjacent subdivision Fernan (Gie Onida).
And every time they would sing with the emsemble members John Moran, Matel Patayon, Marynor Madamesila, Lemuel Silvestre, Teetin Villanueva, and Rafael Sudayan, I can’t help but sway and tap my feet as they harmonized so well.
The story of Rak of Eagis written by Lisa Magtoto and directed by Maribel Legarda was weaved so well with the songs of the OPM icon The Aegis Band musically arranged and directed by Myke Salomon that it has ushered in the trend and golden age of Filipino jukebox musicals which gave birth to a newfound appreciation for theater that crosses the boundaries of social class and age.
And of course the musical would not have been told so well without the choreography by Gio Gahol, set design by Mio Infante, lights design by Jonjon Villareal, costume design by Carlo Pagunaling, and shoe design by Maco Custodio.
The online rerun of this musical could not also have come at a better time since its message of reaching one’s dreams inspite of hurdles and the message of love for family, friends and community, hope and resiliency are given a newfound relevance due to the different challenges that we are going through during this pandemic.
Take this last chance to watch ‘Rak of Aegis’ as it extends for one more weekend on August 14 and 15! Tickets are on sale via Ticket2Me.net (www.bit.ly/rakofaegisstreaming).
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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Apple Gamboa is the Life Editor of SubSelfie.com.
She is also the Creative Team Lead of PayMaya, the leading digital financial services provider in the country.
She was previously a Media Relations Manager for Ogilvy Philippines and an interview and field 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 are her passion, and taking risks is her reality medicine. Journalism 2010, UST. Read more of her articles here.