By Danny O. Calleja
LEGAZPI CITY, 7Aug2013 – “Ibalong the Musical,” one of the best-staged musicals in Manila, is coming to this city for the Ibalong Festival — a month-long fiesta loaded not only with colors but also with more fun, adventure and economics.
Presented by Tanghalang Pilipino and the City Government of Legazpi at the Tanghalang Aurelio V. Tolentino of the Cultural Center of the Philippines last February to March, the musical presentation showcases the most celebrated epic in Bicol that describes the struggle for better life of Bicolano mythical heroes.
It tells of the introduction of civilization to Bicol’s barbaric land featuring Handyong matching wit and might with the scheming snake, Oryol, a master of deceit who disguises herself into a sweet, young lady to seduce him.
Not to be outwitted, Handyong eventually made Oryol fall in love with him to come up with a love story between the warrior and a monster that defines the greatness of Bicol as it explores an individual capacity for good and evil and a land’s history marked by progress and destruction.
The dance-theater musical interpretation of the Bicolano epic — Ibalon, adapted for the stage by playwright Rody Vera, comes here on Aug. 21 and 22 at the Ibalong Centrum for Recreation as a presentation that is much anticipated by Bicolanos, City Mayor Noel Rosal said Monday.
Ibalong the Musical was written by Vera, a recipient of the Carlos Palanca Memorial Awards for Literature who has written more than 20 original plays, several of which have gained recognition from the same award-giving body.
His adaptation of novels and plays similar to the Ibalong has likewise been recognized.
Combined with Vera’s literary skills and Tuxqs Rutaquio’s adept direction, the actors and actresses from the Tanghalang Pilipino Company will light up the stage as they enliven the distinct Bicolano culture of the play.
One of the actresses is Jenine Desiderio, who personifies the role of the serpent creature Oryol.
Her biggest break in theatrical stage was portraying the lead role of “Kim” in the original cast of “Miss Saigon” in London, England.
Aside from Desiderio’s theater credits, her works also extend to movies, television and records.
The portrayal of the love story between the warrior, Hadyong, and the monster, Oryol, amidst the raging war is one of the scenes to watch out for, Rosal said.
It is blended with the elaborate costumes and backdrops, energetic flight choreography and ethnic hunting music that makes “Ibalong the Musical” truly one of the must-see plays in the Philippine stage today, he said.
The play will be part of this year’s packages of entertainment apart from the awesome escapades and investment opportunities that Ibalong Festival offers for the whole month of August in order to keep abreast with the latest changes in the tourism and business investment trends, the city mayor added. (PNA)