The Sarswela Flyer
Exactly two years and two months ago, Macrine and I attended a Sarswela, Walang Sugat (Not Wounded) in the open-air amphitheater at the Moriones River Bed Park in Boac, Marinduque, Philippines. This memorable event reminded me of the first filipino musical (in Ilonggo) that I had attended during my childhood years in Iloilo. It also reminded me of the Starlight Theater in Kansas City, Missouri in the late 1960's when we had annual summer subscriptions to Broadway musicals, such as West Side Story, Bye Bye Birdie or The Sound of Music.
For those of you who are not familiar with word Sarswela. It is just a musical play or drama in Tagalog or any of the major languages in the Philippines. It is sometimes a comedy, sometimes a tragedy, but usually had a happy ending. "Walang Sugat" was written by Severino Reyes, The Father of the Sarswela of the Philippines.
Below is Eli Obligacion posting regarding this event.
"Severino Reyes' sarswela masterpiece goes on stage in Marinduque. Performed by Barasoain Kalinangan Foundation, Inc., awarded CCP Gawad para sa Sining as Best Theater Group in the country.
A component of the Philippine International Arts Festival 2010. Directed by Armand Sta. Ana. It stars Rey Clement Maaliao as TENYONG, Karren Uaje as JULIA, Ron Mariano as MIGUEL with Maria Ireen Crisostomo, Rowel Escalante, Crystal Mendonza, James Dimagiba, Joseph Rejoso, Melandro Pascual, Wilfredo Alberto, Christopher Adriano, Lemuel Galman, Egie Boy Galman, Ryan Managbanag, and 12 koro members.
In the production are Joseph Cristobal, Armando Sta. Ana, Estelita Dela Cruz, Consolacion Gamboa, Jose Ruel Paguiligan and Glen de Jesus. Lights and sound by the CCP Technical Crew.
The BKFI "Walang Sugat" production was originally mounted as part of “Sarsuwela Festival 2009” held at the U.P. Theater. It was the Father of Filipino Sarswela's statement against imperialism and oppression.
It depicts the cruelty of the Spanish friars and the experience of Filipinos in their hands. The story revolves around the hero Tenyong and how he outwits people trying to separate him from Julia, his love interest. The many twists and turns of this sarsuwela, made into a movie twice, has made it very popular among theater audiences.
This sarswela returns to Marinduque after 108 years, when "Gran Compania de Manila" the original production, presented it in Boac on Dec. 8, 1902 in celebration of the town fiesta with future president, Manuel L. Quezon as special guest".
The actors and actresses had beautiful voices, but sometimes the background tape orchestration music was so loud you could hardly heard the words and lyrics. I enjoyed very much the patriotic song, Ang BAYAN KO ( My Country). The costumes and scenes were beautiful depicting the time during the Spanish colonization of the Philippines. The show opened with the shooting of Dr. Jose Rizal, Philippine National Hero. The play had several comedic moments which made the crowd laugh. The duets of the lead actors were beautiful and their voices blended harmoniously. Macrine and I enjoyed the evening very much.
Thank you Eli for inviting us to this rare event in Marinduque's cultural scene and environment and in the two complimentary front seats. Our congratulations to the commiteee for starting right on time and to you for advertising this memorable musical and historical drama.
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