Isang astig na review ng JOE: The Rocksicale.

[Uh, sorry, school-related stuff. I had to post it here in my update blog because the guidelines said it should be in a wordpress blog and I was rushing to make a new blog just for this… so yeah. Review under the More tag. Sorry guys.]

Last January 12, 2013, Force Majeure Management Experts held a gala presentation in SM North Edsa of “JOE: The Rocksicale” (A Rock Musicale), a live theatrical rock musical featuring a contemporary take on the life of our National Hero, Dr. Jose Rizal. The play expresses the importance of Rizal’s works in the modern Philippines and as well as the hardships he has to make to accomplish those, making the results more worthwhile and significant to us Filipinos.

The play doesn’t view Rizal as a hero. The play views him as a regular person. Many people said that a person we look up at would be hard to sympathize with, but like us ordinary people, he was also a human, made out of flesh and blood, a person of morals, beliefs, wishes and feelings. The play levels him to us, because we fail to see what he really is in books and classroom discussions. We merely see what he is through his deeds and acts, and with this we cannot really judge him nor understand him. But we see the underground of the reasons for his deeds, and this is the point where human psychology meets political demise.

Joecas’s role in the play is paralleling to Rizal’s at some extent. Rizal has to choose between his country and his love, but he chose the former. Joecas is given the choice between the truth of the history or artistic beauty, and education over entertainment.

Unfortunately, he chooses the latter for both, to which it gives inaccuracies to history which he was given the job to portray. Many people find history entertaining, but the mere presence of artistic touch can make it more pleasing to the lot. It was quite immoral for Joecas to make such a risky gamble to make something so childishly vulgar yet applicable for the lot’s entertainment.

With the prospect of historical inaccuracies due to such things, there are lots of questions about them. There was an episode of Matanglawin, for example, that aimed to remove the image of Bonifacio wielding a machete and wearing a red handkerchief. Such image was a typical Filipino’s typical view of Bonifacio.

If Bonifacio himself is not actually a machete-wielding Katipunero, what about Rizal? What sort of lies had uncovered the real Rizal? History writers cannot be blamed of these mistakes – as a chapter from Rizal’s work reflects, news cannot pass from mouth to mouth without big changes. We don’t know what are lies or truth, so like lawyers in a courtroom case, we need to think of the contradictions, by critical thinking. Not everyone can do it, yeah, but a few people can. Logical thinking can help us.

With logical thinking, let us look at the play a little more in the logical side.

Most of us had probably seen countless Rizal plays and musicals, or at least heard of them. But this musicale is a different bunch. The play doesn’t just focus on Rizal, firstly, but it focuses on someone similar to him, someone we can relate to in our modern times. We usually can’t understand stories that are focused on other cultures or timelines, so having a protagonist like Joecas that is so different yet similar to Rizal in ways is a smart and unique approach.

Just imagine – Joecas is a stubborn person; a person that loves his art and job so much he sacrifices everything for it. It’s the same for Rizal, who loves his country so much he sacrificed everything, even the one he loves.

But you can’t say they’re the same either.

It was quite the sight. The story on Joecas’ sight was quite cliché, I admit, with these love triangle thing going on with Hunter, Joanne and Joecas; but it was a nice way on how they connected the story of Rizal on their own, and as well as doing parallels. How Joecas was similar to Rizal, how Joanne was similar to Josephine, and so on. Their viewpoint toward Rizal’s true story was seen as well, and everyone seemed to see him both as a hero and as an ordinary person with fears and feelings. They argue about things like children and they don’t resolve anything much in the end, but with Turing watching, serving as the “moral compass” in the story, the fights were mellowed a little. But the arguments, the conflict, everything was perfect. Even if the story on Joecas’s side sounded typical on some telenovelas, it is great on how they made something so common and relate-able be connected with something unexpected like our National Hero, Rizal. It just shows on how we common people can actually be similar to Rizal because he’s someone like us as well. We learned how to be content, be happy, be proud of what we stand for. Such a simple yet alluring story, connected with such an admirable person whose love for country faced all odds.

To sum up my opinions on the music, it was awesome. The one that livens up the beauty of a musical is, of course, the music and the singing. With the story being a literal “musical within a musical”, they were able to liven the mood of the story, and back it up. We feel what the characters feel and I can really tell they are enjoying what they do. And it is a “rock-sicale” after all; it is meant to match Rizal’s story to modern times. And it totally matched, because me (who have weird tastes in music), of all people, loved it. Like, can you release something like an OST CD or something, because I’d totally want that.

And even though it is a historical musical play, it cracked me up at times. The script is so naturally written it felt like they weren’t acting at all; they sounded like they were talking. And the story – like I said—was cliché at best in my view, but the humor was so entertaining it brought up the dark moods of some parts. And the actors lived their characters up! A usual tip in any acting job is to “be your character”, and they pretty much did that, yes.

Hiniram mo na nga girlfriend ko, damit ko, hihiramin mo pa.

Although filled with annoyance, this line never failed to make me laugh. Oh, and the “astiig” parts, too. They were cool.

And being an artist, I love the art aspects of this musicale. From the set, the props, the costumes. You can see the effort they placed in the artistic aspects. (I liked how the entire theater would black out to hide the replacing-of-BGs going on in the background, and I was like “Woah, how did those stuff get there so fast”). It’s not just that every costume fits their characters well, I also liked the one-color theme in some acts. There was this one part where they’re all wearing red, all wearing yellow, etc. I can’t really say much because … I was pretty absorbed in the play in general. You forget about details if the musical in general is rendering you speechless (or in tears; either way!) in its awesomeness.

In general, this musicale is a charm. It is like a precious gem found in a hopeless quarry, and a treasure to keep and remember. A gem has flaws, but one overlooks it as everyone admires its beauty and radiance. Another play by this group would give smiles to everyone, even me.

3 responses to “Isang astig na review ng JOE: The Rocksicale.

  1. Uh Lumen… let me guess… you are forced to watch this right?….

    This is probably the biggest single reason why theatrical performances isn’t widely popular here in the Philippines… Forcing someone to watch a show under the guise of School project will not make people interested in it. Last time they did this to me it I was forced to watch some show at the CCP complex (that was in the 80’s)and even though the performers are probably giving their best I unfortunately couldn’t appreciate it because well… I was forced to watch it instead of letting my curiosity lead me there. So not only I ended up hating it I now am imprinted with an instinct to avoid theatrical performances…

    They should have let people chose what to watch in their projects. You will be guaranteed that the works the students will present will at least be presented with enthusiasm…

  2. But then again… solely based on what you wrote here… I can assume you are having a blast when you watched this show….

    Too bad all we have back then are some classical crap that’s probably directly ripped from the book… word-by-word ;_;

    • The first time when I was given a choice, I picked to steer clear from the plays. XD I didn’t seem to see the sense in paying a large amount to make a reaction. And plus comics are in my scope way more than writing.

      Last year and this year, well we DO have to. But it was a blast anyway so I didn’t mind, and all my friends are going and all and the humor was just so irresistable. I like writing now so I guess I shouldn’t bother. And I know the feeling of classical-plays-with-script-directly-ripped-from-the-book vibe. It sucks =_=

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