It’s hard to remain objective during the start and end of a relationship. We feel things through our lens, whether it’s relief, despair, or confusion. The only way to view a relationship objectively is if you’re an outsider. Now, you can put on your voyeur hat and witness the crumbling of a relationship through Sa Wakas.
Sa Wakas is a musical about heartbreak set to Sugarfree’s songs. We are introduced to Topper, a photographer on the rise. He is in a relationship with Lexy, a successful doctor. Because of her busy schedule and her lack of support for his creative career, he develops an affair with Gabbi, a magazine editor. The story is told in a nonlinear narrative, which is an effective method to drive in the feels.
The musical is an excellent watch because of its honesty and poignancy. There was a time when local pop culture was obsessed with campy mistress movies with dramatic confrontations and one-liners. Instead of falling for this trap, Sa Wakas focuses on the dynamics of a failing relationship caused by a third party.
What I liked about the musical is how it humanized all three characters and portrayed them in a sympathetic light. Those looking for structure in the form of a clear narrative and an identifiable villain will initially be disoriented because neither are present here. In the case of Sa Wakas, we are left to wonder: is it Topper, whose inability to make decisions caused pain for two women? Or is it Lexy, who has a demanding job and a somewhat condescending attitude towards Topper’s career? People may point to Gabbi, but her vulnerability may make you question your prejudice.
Using Sugarfree’s songs to guide the story is an inspired choice. The band is known for their gutwrenching songs, and they are used to great effect. Two of my favorite scenes used lines from “Mariposa,” “Kung Ayaw Mo Na Sa Akin” and “Hari ng Sablay,” where Topper sings “Sawa na ‘kong mag-sorry, ayoko nang magsisi.”
Vic Robinson played an impressive Topper. Robinson had great comedic timing and he knew how to draw out scenes to elicit emotions from the audience. Plus, his vocal chops have an uncanny resemblance to Sugarfree’s vocalist Ebe Dancel. I also enjoyed Caisa Borromeo’s Lexy, and she captured the character’s quirks and unintended haughtiness. Meanwhile, Justine Pena’s tenderness charmed me.
I first watched Sa Wakas in 2013 and I enjoyed watching it again. Not only did it entertain me, it showed how much I’ve grown as a person. Watching it again was a completely different experience because who I was then is different from who I am now. That’s the beautiful thing about the musical: it means different things for different people. The title Sa Wakas itself is open to interpretation. Yes, it may be the title of Sugarfree’s debut album. In English, it could mean “finally” or “the end,” depending if you’re Team Gabbi or Team Lexy.
Sa Wakas is staged from January 12 to February 12 at the Power Mac Center Spotlight in Circuit Makati. The musical is created and produced by Charisse Pammit, directed by Andre Nikolai Pamintuan, and with musical arrangement by Ejay Yatco. Joining the cast are Abi Sulit, Moira Lozada, Laui Guico, and Hans Dimayuga. Alternating with the cast are Pepe Herrera (Topper), Cara Barredo (Lexy), and Marrone Cruz (Gabbi). For more information and ticket purchases, visit www.sawakasmusical.com.