We were in awe and laughter during the previous iterations of Mula sa Buwan. But raising the curtains this time to a massive and electrifying start with words ‘Ang tanghalang ito’y atin ngayong gabi, walang makakapigil ‘di tayo titigil‘ made some of us shed a tear as it can never be as truly fitting as it is these days.
This musical’s comeback truly makes us feel that thespians and creatives alike are unstoppable in making us feel that the theater is ready to embrace us back home.
The Filipino musical Mula sa Buwan, created and directed by Pat Valera with William Elvin Manzano, is on its third large-scale iteration at the newly opened Samsung Performing Arts Theater.
It is another masterpiece all throughout just like its runs last 2016 and 2018 but with a few changes, made it feel like a fresh theatrical work.
It was still the adaptation of Rostand’s timeless French piece, Cyrano de Bergerac, but Ohm David’s set design gave a more elaborate and on point recreation of Manila during the 1940s when World War II permanently dented the history of our country. Bonsai Cielo’s more apt take of the 40’s fashion also put more emphasis on the depicted period.
The cast, despite being a bigger bunch this time, really complement each other’s role and every one really shone that night. I couldn’t help but watch them with wonder and awe as they were fully immersed in their characters, performing more challenging dance routines with JM Cabling’s choreography and engaging song numbers.
The music all throughout the play was also captivating as the sound production was richer and more engaging which intensified every scene, whether light or heart-wrenching.
MC Dela Cruz, who again took the role of Maximo, truly embodied machismo in every sense of the word but also showed that anyone can turn meek and vulnerable when it comes to love.
Phi Palmos who stole every every scene he was in with his powerful vocals, truly mirrors his role as Rosanna, the matriarch of the community fighting for the freedom of misfits, fools and dreamers.
The speechless yet sincere Christian portrayed by Markki Stroem made him an affecting character who perfectly conveyed his feelings with his facial expression and actions.
Roxanne played by Gab Pangilinan was truly incandescent with her haunting yet calming voice that made our hearts beat and our eyes weep with every song.
And how can we every forget Myke Salomon. He took the center stage as Cyrano and gave a tremendous performance even while double hatting as the musical director. I’m pretty sure I’m not the only one who was thankful that he agreed to take this role this time instead of his previous role as Christian in 2018.
His vocals were truly powerful and remarkable, perfectly paired with his character’s strength, wisdom and wit.
Mula sa Buwan still unfolds the love triangle of Cyrano, Roxanne and Christian amid the war but this run’s tweak in staging and script dug deeper to make a piece that’s more reflective of the current times.
The group of youthful actors who fought for their freedom of expression and survival of the arts resonates how the theater industry fought to rise through the pandemic when most were restricted to perform and live their passion.
How they survived and persevered through the war, perfectly captured with their Matatapos Din performance, expressed how guns and weapons are not the only weapons for survival. Music, words of strength and defiance, love and friendship can also help everyone surpass even the most grave challenges.
The play also explored on humanity’s vulnerability when it comes to emotions but also showed the audience how this can become our strength to course through life.
Cyrano and everyone’s desire to go to the moon reflects what most of us want and feel – the desire for a better world where everyone has a safe space to live, love and dream. Indeed, Mula sa Buwan is like a sliver of hope to continue to dream and fight for the things we believe in.
So here’s to hoping for an avalanche of great production following this daring and outstanding step of Mula sa Buwan.
Mula sa Buwan runs until September 11 at the Samsung Performing Arts Theater, Circuit Makati. For tickets, visit msbtickets.net/ticketworld.
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.