Rak of Aegis: PETA Opens with Filipino Songs by Aegis This 2014
When in Manila and you want to understand the Filipino spirit through music, there’s only one band to turn to: Aegis. And for the first time ever, the discography of one of the country’s biggest cultural phenomena will be part of an original rock comedy musical: Rak of Aegis. This stage adaptation is brought to you by the same people who staged the adaptation of Lino Brocka’s Bona.
Aicelle Santos as Aileen, the promodizer hoping to achieve fame and fortune by posting a hopefully-viral video
Set in the fictional town of Villa Venizia, the townsfolk are recovering from a typhoon reminiscent of Ondoy. Local businesses are floundering, tempers are flaring, and resources are drying up, but the local spirit is definitely waterproof. At the center of the musical is Aileen, a mall promodizer with dreams of recording herself on YouTube and meeting Ellen DeGeneres, hoping she can achieve the wealth and fame that will save her town. She becomes a viral sensation and the town capitalizes on her fame amidst the tragedy.
The powerful leads: Robert Seña, Isay Alvarez-Seña, and Aicelle Santos perfected every Aegis song
WhenInManila.com was invited to an intimate press preview of Rak of Aegis – one of the must-see plays in Manila this first quarter of 2014 – and we were blown away. The cast was led by the Seña powerhouse, tenor Robert Seña and his captivating wife Isay Alvarez-Seña. Aileen is played by Aicelle Santos, and their performances brought an electrifying touch to a setlist that requires larger-than-life vocals. After all, Aegis is not for the weak of heart. You need vocal prowess, or at least enough confidence to sing an Aegis song.
Kakai Bautista was one of the surprise hits. She charmed us with her voice and her sense of humor
The cast, who would take the daunting task of singing every existing Aegis song
The cast is rounded out by Joan Bugcat, Kalila Aguilos, Poppert Bernadas, Myke Salomon, Pepe Herrera, Jerald Napoles, Neomi Gonzales, Kakai Bautista, Julienne Mendoza, Gie Onida, Ron Alfonso, and Phillip Palmos.
The story began when playwright Liza Magtoto was documenting a psycho-social debriefing session that PETA hosted in Laguna after Ondoy struck. And when a few jokes passed around poking fun at the film adaptation of Rock of Ages by doing Rak of Aegis, director Maribel Legarda knew they had a goldmine on their hands. Everything fell into place when Magtoto heard the line “ngunit heto, bumabangon pa rin,” in Basang Basa Sa Ulan.
Rak of Aegis is about resiliency, but writer Magtoto also demands accountability and true service, social issues PETA is known to tackle
PETA is known for socially relevant and entertaining plays, and Rak of Aegis fits the bill for a PETA production. It is a story familiar to many Filipinos, of resiliency during calamities, and the lengths we go to to stay afloat. Aegis’ hit Basang Basa Sa Ulan is the perfect theme song, but the other numbers, a 20-strong medley of hits and songs never heard before, have been creatively taken out of its original context to breathe life into scenes.
And like the singers who popularized classic Filipino hits Halik and Sinta, the play promises to be a visual spectacle. Legarda hinted at building a flooded semi-arena to make it realistic. But spectacle and innovative stage design aside, at the heart of Rak of Aegis is its story, a tale of unsinkable spirits and resourcefulness, something we Filipinos are proud to have.
When in Manila and you want to feel the Filipino spirit through song, check out Rak of Aegis!
Rak of Aegis
Rak of Aegis runs from January 31 to March 9. Shows are Fridays to Sundays, with Friday and Saturday shows at 3PM and 8PM, and Sunday shows at 10AM and 3PM. On February 23, shows are 10AM and 8PM, and on March 2, 3PM and 8PM. You may purchase tickets at Ticketworld (https://www.ticketworld.com.ph/Online/).
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