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22 October 2011

The Sound of Music

I was surprised to receive a text message from my sister asking me if I wanted to watch The Sound of Music. The musical started its run at the Newport Performing Arts Theater last October 15, 2011. While my family's musically-inclined (we love music, that's all, hehe), we're not into watching plays and musicals. The only play I recall watching with my family was Miss Saigon. And I'm guessing that we only watched that because my family knows how much I love Lea Salonga and Miss Saigon. Oooppss, I'm digressing here. Anyway, I replied to my sister and asked her if it's free. Hindi daw. Hehe. I said okay and she told me she'll let me know once the schedule's finalized.

The following day, my sister sent me another text. My brother got free tickets for The Sound of Music. She wanted to know if Rhuel and I can make it. Of course, we said yes. =)

So last Thursday, my family and I together with Rhuel and Trish went to the Newport Performing Arts Theater to watch The Sound of Music.

The theater was impressive. The seats were very comfortable. Even the arm rests were cushioned. The bright red seats really looked appealing.

There were two wide screens on each side of the stage. I'm sure that's very useful for those who sat far from the stage. Although, honestly, it distracted me sometimes because I didn't know what to look at - the stage or the screen.

The play was scheduled to start at 8 p.m. It began a little past 8. Not bad actually. There were reminders 15, 10, and 5 minutes before the show started. However, they didn't announce a reminder when the play was actually about to start. They just turned off the lights even if a lot of people were still walking to their seats. But I guess that's what you get for arriving late. Hehe.

Before the show started, we bought a souvenir program at P100.00 each. It was cool. Not your typical souvenir program. They put together articles from 1938 and printed them newspaper-like. The inside page contained details about the play.

Joanna Ampil was our Maria. She was brilliant. She sang  so well and she spoke clearly. I understood her lines. She's one fine actress and I'm glad she played the lead role that night.

Our Capt. Von Trapp was Ed Feist. He was okay but he had the tendency to speak too fast or to mumble. Thus, Rhuel and I would look at each other and guess his lines. Too bad we didn't catch Audie Gemora who's the other Capt. Von Trapp. I'm pretty sure we'd understand his lines crystal clear.

The kids were okay. The girls were good actually. But the boys were quite disappointing. I'm not sure if it's because they were off-mic or something. We were all excited to see Atasha Muhlach, Aga and Charlene's daughter. We were lucky that she was playing Brigitta that night. She's cute. She's a mini Charlene Gonzales. Her signing voice was not that spectacular. Perhaps she was nervous. But she spoke her lines well. She had good diction. She had a lot of speaking lines. Her acting still needs improvement. She was self-conscious and tentative at times. I caught her stealing glances at her co-actors and imitate what they were doing. But she's young. She has all the time in the world to work on that. I'm sure this experience will teach her a lot of things.

Pinky Marquez as Mother Abbess was good. The nuns in the chorus were great. Their voices blended well.

I was disappointed with Lynn Shermann who played the role of Elsa. She was effective as a bitchy stepmother-to-be. But her singing voice was terrible. She was off-key a lot of times. Or maybe we just caught her on a bad night? Sayang, Pinky Amador was the other Elsa. Perhaps, she'd be better.

Over-all, the play was okay. They're lucky they can now utilize digital backdrops. I guess that makes life a bit easier for props people. The digital backdrops were very effective in helping the audience envision the place where the scene was taking place. Perhaps they can improve the videos and make them more realistic. Sometimes I had the feeling that they were taken from Sims or Cityville. Hihi.

The sets were impressive, especially the convent and the interior of the Von Trapp's house. However, I think they need to improve/change the chandelier. It looked kinda tacky. For a very rich family, I expected more. It even looked as if it was going to fall off the ceiling. Parang chandelier lang namin sa bahay. Hehe.

They have to do something about the lapel mics. I know it's bound to show and they had to place it in a permanent spot so they don't need to fix it during wardrobe changes. But some were just positioned weirdly. Joanna Ampil's lapel mic was placed on the upper right hand portion of her forehead. For a few minutes there, my sister and I could not figure out if she had a mole or if a fly was permanently perched on her forehead. It took a while before we realized that it was actually her mic. I was also bothered with Ed Feist's mic which was taped on his cheek. They used a skin tone colored adhesive but it was too obvious to ignore. I think the weird positioning of the mics was the problem for the Von Trapp boys too. We had a hard time comprehending their lines. I'm pretty sure there's a better way to do it.

Rhuel and I were also puzzled why some of the characters spoke with British accents. They're supposed to be  Austrians right? The accent didn't come out naturally for all of the characters, thus, we could not understand their lines. If they wanted to do it that way, they should have trained everyone to speak the British way.

Rhuel complained that the story was not as tight as the one in the movie. I guess time constraint's a factor plus the fact that they had to do it live. He also pointed out that they interchanged songs for some scenes. So I believe he's going to torture me by making me watch the movie this weekend. Hihi.

Over-all, the musical was good. It was a nice experience. I don't think Pinoys are well-versed theatrically and it's about time that we make this part of our culture. I hope we get to see more international plays/musicals being staged here. Hopefully, the prices won't be too steep so people will be encouraged to watch. It helps that the Newport Performing Arts Theater is nearer and more accessible (to us at least, hehe) than the usual venues for plays like CCP. I hope to watch more musicals here. =)

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