Watch Me Entertain Myself!

Sacha Guitry once said, "You can pretend to be serious, but you can't pretend to be witty." Oh yes, I'm the great pretender.
(pilot episode: 20 January 2004)

Monday, August 16, 2010

To Abs And To Hold

Of course, the title alone is daunting. I mean, Orosman At Zafira? Like, who are they? The furthest you know of past love teams is Guy and Pip, Vi and Bot. Maybe you only go as far back as Romnick and Sheryl. And dude, “Orosman and Zafira” ain’t as snappy as Brangelina or Bennifer.

Worse, it is written by Francisco Baltazar, also responsible for Florante At Laura, also known as “Florante’s Mega-Emo Post While Tied To A Post, Er, Tree.” Also known as “Think Of Laura.” I mean, we all took it in high-freakin’-school, and did anyone really, truly got it?! Let’s face it, old Tagalog to us today is Shakespearean English is to the Brits these days: whatfor art thou speaketh? And now Dulaang UP has staged this komedya using Baltazar’s old Tagalog. Daunting title, daunting writer, daunting language: why should one troop to Diliman and spend more than 2 hours being daunted?

I will leave it to the likes of THE Gibbs Cadiz and friends to persuade you why Orosman At Zafira is a fantastic production, one that brings Baltazar’s verses to powerful, pulse-pumping life.

I, however, was one of those who, had I concentrated too hard on listening to the verses, would have had a nosebleed. So, in the interest of convincing people to put aside their fear of “But I won’t understand a thing!” and just watch the play, I will now attempt to give you Orosman At Zafira For Dummies.

It’s about three tribes and their royal shenanigans. Aldervesin covets Gulnara, the betrothed to his sultan; the other tribe leader, Boulasem, covets the sultan’s throne. So Aldervesin plots with Boulasem to get rid of the sultan. The third tribe, led by Zelim, is composed of Goth punks wearing black arm-shields similar to what tricycle drivers wear, sans fiery designs; they are very loyal to the sultan. When the sultan is murdered, warla ensues involving all three tribes. Warla is done via dance, so you can think of it as the battle for the Philippines’ Best Dance Crew.

Boulsaem triumphs and becomes the new sultan. He instructs Abdalap, his younger son, to marry Gulnara. But Abdalap covets Zafira, daughter of the slain former sultan. But Zafira only has eyes for Abdalap’s older brother, Orosman. Abdalap kills their father. Brother goes up against brother; more dancing warlaloo ensues. Call it Dance Dance Revolution.

Director, choreographer and chief torturer Dexter Santos (yes Dexter, your choreography is torture, but it is exquisite-to-watch torture!) managed to do what I’ve never seen a musical before do: let the movements and dances fill in the gaps of understanding. So even if you have a wersh-wersh accent and cannot tell the difference between kagila-gilalas and kagiliw-giliw, you’ll still get what’s happening onstage. Unless you’re distracted by the all the gorgeous, sexy abdominals that the male leads exhibit onstage.

Oh yes, the abs.

In the end, the message is clear, and it is etched in the men’s midsections: the better your abs, the better your chances of surviving a war. The first ones to die were the, uhm, healthier ones. Who’s the last man standing? Orosman, played to six-pack perfection by Jay Gonzaga’s abs. Ultimately, Orosman At Zafira is really The War Between the Abs and the Ab-Nots.

So, if all those musculature talk doesn’t convince you to watch Orosman At Zafira, then let me put it to you plain and simple: It’s a F**KING great theatrical experience! So don’t be a dummy and watch it before it ends its run this August.


Mac Callister said...

malamang now that u said its more abs and abs people will see it na!LOL

sayang di ko mawawatch!LOL

Kiks said...

hahahahah, what will become of the ab-nots?

romnick sarmienta was an ab-not. lalo naman si bot. pretty sure juancho gutierrez was in the same league.

siiigh, times a changing. our glam-orosman, abful.

(could there be a movie version of this for the uprooted beckies of lore? or stage it abroad perhaps? as we are very visual, our lauras and umooros-man here will definitely enjoy such an opus)

Kane said...

I actually have seen the play two years ago. I barely understood it, but the choreography was superb.

All I remember were the actors leaping and jumping and that's all.