This February, the Philippine Educational Theater Association (PETA), makers of the hit musical Rak of Aegis, is returning to the theater for full live performances featuring a brand-new original musical, Rody Vera’s Walang Aray!
It top bills Star Magic’s “hottest musical couple” #KDLex, KD Estrada and Alexa Ilacad, alternating with triple threat theater artists Gio Gahol and Marynor Madamesila as Tenyong and Julia.
Walang Aray was chosen to launch the company’s comeback and cap the company’s emerald year after waiting in the wings since its first laboratory performance in 2018 and 2019.
Why Walang Aray? “It’s necessary, after three years of what we went through — not only the pandemic, but also the elections — to do something irreverent and funny. I think that is what people need right now. They need a space to laugh, to sort of allow themselves to have fun and enjoy something,” shares PETA artistic director, Maribel Legarda.
“But of course, in PETA, it’s not just having fun,” Legarda adds, “PETA believes that good comedy makes you think and reflect, and Walang Aray is exactly that.”
Presented by PETA with Indie.Go Media in partnership with Star Magic, Walang Aray is a genre-defying adaptation of the screenplay of the same name, based on Severino Reyes’ classic zarzuela Walang Sugat.
“We must evolve. We cannot do things over and over the same way, we must change, challenge, and chase forward. That is why Walang Sugat evolved to Walang Aray, from the stage, adapted to screenplay, and back to the stage— and we tried to make the comeback different,” Legarda explains.
Legarda describes the new musical as “a play that is really entertaining but at the same time, reflective of us as Filipinos and our own histories.” Walang Aray richly mashes the timeless classic with contemporary language, funk and pop tunes, and tongue-in-cheek humor.
Playwright Rody Vera shares what he hopes audiences will take away from the musical: “It feels like we’re doing this play produced by ‘the mechanicals’ in Act 5 of A Midsummer Night’s Dream, where at that point, all that was strange and horrible is now past, that while we’re aware these things indeed happened and may happen again, we’re also here to remind people that theater, always… ALWAYS dies and is born anew,” he says. “I wish they’ll have as much fun watching as the prod team had mounting it.”
The cast also features PETA artists Jarred Jaicten, Kiki Baento, Carlon Matobato, Gie Onida, Norbs Portales, Neomi Gonzales, John Moran, Yeyin de la Cruz, Ayla Garcia, Ada Tayao, Tom Bienvenida, Donn Boco, Gerard Dy, with Gardo Exconde and Csai Habla as the swings.
Walang Aray will run at the PETA Theater Center from Feb 17-May 14, 2023.