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14 May 2018 Comments (0) Views: 173 FilipinARTS

‘Changing Partners’ retains its Magic onstage

(A Review)


After it was successfully mounted in 2016 via Philippine Educational Theater Association’s (PETA) stage and filmed it via Cinema One Originals Film Festival in 2017—it reopened on Friday, May 11 and this time at the Filipino-speaking premiere company’s main theater. The original cast members who breathed into the two characters of Alexes and CrisesAgot Isidro, Jojit Lorenzo, Anna Luna and Sandino Martino also reprise their roles after doing it on its film adaptation under the direction of Dan Villegas.

It is good that the film has created a lot of buzz for this Vincent DeJesus’s opus and it allowed new set of audience to see how good the direction of the stage musical is—done by none other than Rem Zamora.

Though there were scenes in the film that weren’t included in the stage production (this latest stage production), which aren’t really necessary in the said medium; the charm of this musical is not just about the its story, but its music by the genius of DeJesus. If in its previous staging, the keyboards were enough to move its audience; this time, the inclusion of cello as an accompaniment gave more meaning to every emotion that the characters are trying to send to their audience. Every note, every word, the sound and the song were heart-wrenching.

Four couples are presented onstage. The Alex-and-Cris couples (Isidro-Martin, Lorenzo-Luna, Isidro-Luna and Lorenzo-Martin). The couples are in the same struggle (whether they are in a straight or gay relationship) but they change partners in the progression of the musical. To those who saw the film without seeing the stage version—they may have had some difficulties in figuring who’s who in a particular relationship; but onstage—Zamora was able to create the blocking for the four characters with seamless precision.

Despite the changing of partners—the intensity of emotions required for each couple the director was successful in magically handling its transitions from one scene to another. Set on a bigger venue—it still made the production intimate in many ways. It was still able to convey the same message about love, about trust, and about relationships. The brilliance of DeJesus is inked in the stories of the four couples. He was able to bridge the gap between ages and even the issues of same-sex relationships.

But the best part of the stage musical which the film couldn’t quite capture was the confrontation scene between the four characters; overlapping of lines and emotions; but still achieving the same kind of punches and impacts to their silent audience; struck by the overwhelming realities that bite or poison every relationship in today’s world.

Always kudos to Lorenzo, Isidro, and Martin; however, Luna managed to shine in her portrayal of Cris, the woman involved with the two Alexes. Her voice just pinches the hearts and leaves such hurts. All four actors deserve not just nominations in the upcoming BroadwayWorld Philippines Awards, but they should be getting the plums.

It still has its last weekend shows on May 19 and 20, matinee at 3pm and gala at 8pm, respectively. Tickets are available via TickeWorld. Contact (632) 891-9999.

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