Not all of us have the means to set foot on the US and have the chance to enjoy the musical and visual delights of Broadway musicals. In the 80’s where Madonna and Cindy Lauper ruled, I was the odd one who spent nights listening to the recordings of Les Miserables, Miss Saigon, Cats, Phantom of the Opera, West Side Story, and so many other popular musicals. I could only imagine how it must be like to be actually there, watching the musical unfold before me on the stage, and soak in all the drama and the heights and depths of a truly passionate performance by professional stage actors and actresses. I have read of the elaborate sets, the moving and revolving stages, the lights, the full orchestra with their music that could fill one’s soul … and I could but sigh and dream and imagine! Alas! Not everyone have the good fortune.
Music continues to move me. Even with marriage and motherhood, and all the seemingly endless concerns that life brings to us daily, I still take every opportunity I could get to indulge this one interest that has persisted through the years. Fortunately, the hub of Dumaguete’s cultural soul, the one we simply refer to as “Luce”, is but a stone’s throw away.
Thursday, July 1 saw me and my daughter headed towards Luce to watch Hinilawod, an epic tale of love and heroism, of vanquishing monsters, and adventurous princes whose exploits paved the way for the rising of Panay Island from the sea. I went there expecting an enjoyable night of music of which I was not disappointed. But what I did not expect was the texture and the detail that went into everything! Simply put, the richness of the production left my mouth hanging wide open. It was simply amazing!
I guess that I had gotten used to the usual productions that we see here in Dumaguete, rich in performances but kind of minimalist in terms of settings. We focus on the performance or the story but everything else that goes around is left pretty much to the imagination.
But this time around, we walked through dark scary forests and fought horrible monsters. We entered caves and shot down a monstrous flying bat. And we survived a catastrophe which saw people drowning in gigantic waves. We witnessed everything in vivid color and vibrant sounds. We were entranced by the energy of the entire production as the story was told in songs and dances amid music and sounds made by traditional instruments.
Hinilawod was a wonderful experience and should not be missed especially by children who have always wondered how a tikbalang looks like. Too bad the tickets are all sold out. But despair not. Hinilawod will be coming our way again on April 22 and 29, 2011 as announced in its website www.hinilawod.com.
That is something to watch out for, for Hinilawod is not merely a production wonder. The epic itself should be introduced to our children as a source of national pride. It is a testament of our people’s creative genius and an integral part of our culture. Furthermore, the epic is a testament that the Filipinos were a far cry from the depiction of an unenlightened race that the Spaniards “discovered” and had introduced to “civilization”.
On a more personal level, this Broadway dreamer took great delight at having watched Hinilawod as it showed a little glimpse of what a Broadway musical could be like. Simply wonderful.