JUST A THOUGHT: ‘Anyone who keeps the ability to see beauty never grows old.’ – Franz Kafka
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MUSICAL ON PRESERVING HERITAGE HOMES: Little did we know that quietly, unheralded, a musical play that promotes preservation of Filipino culture through the restoration of colonial Filipino homes is playing somewhere, some place near.
The musical is as timely as news of heritage homes and buildings being torn down to give way to more malls and other places of commerce continue to hog headlines.
In recent times, we have seen the demolition of the old Jai Alai building on Taft Avenue (now a supermarket), the Army Navy Club at Rizal Park (now a hotel), to name just two. Those were landmark structures known for their period architectural design and history.
On the other hand, “Mansyon” is just as relevant in the light of the million-peso restoration currently being done at the Metropolitan Theater on Liwasang Bonifacio, central Manila. A positive development, for a change.
Theater and arts lovers eagerly await the Met’s reopening, said to be this year. How nice if “Mansyon,” whose theme the Met could easily identify with, could also play at the Met in the near future.
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CONFLICT BETWEEN THE OLD AND THE NEW: A reader, Coratec Jimenez, has informed us about “Mansyon,” an original Pinoy musical about a conflict between the owner of an ancestral home and his balikbayan granddaughter, who has absolutely no affinity with the decaying mansion.
“Mansyon” opened at the UP Abelardo Hall last March 18 in support of Bolboc Heritage Group of San Juan, Batangas. San Juan town itself has several heritage homes that face either restoration or destruction, depending on the need or circumstance.
Leon M. Mayo is credited for its story, music and lyrics. An architect by profession, he is an advocate of heritage conservation.
Others in “Mansyon’s” production credits include Ruth Alferez (director), Lawrence Jatayna (musical director), Michael Bulaong (arranger), and John Quintana (scriptwriter).
Playing key roles were Brylle Mondejar, Ina Salonga, Greg de Leon, Melanie Dujunco, Christine Joy Mangahis, Kevin Posadas, and Kevin Alen King. Good to hear that Brylle, who started as a talented teen singer on “That’s Entertainment,” has transformed as a theater actor.
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PURE ENTERTAINMENT: “Mansyon: Isang Musikal,” says Coratec, is a refreshing original Pinoy musical play that anyone who appreciates a song-and-dance drama presentation will definitely enjoy watching.
It has no artsy-fartsy, highfalutin pretentions of being intellectually heavy or philosophically deep. “Mansyon” is pure, uninterrupted entertainment with a thought-provoking, nationalistic, cultural theme.
The play’s central message is to promote preservation of Filipino culture and heritage through the restoration of colonial Filipino homes. Many of these were built way back during Spanish times.
Coratec writes that for her, the procession scene in Act 1 had tremendous audience impact.
She says, “The procession scene led by the priest started at center stage, went down and proceeded to the back, turned and passed through the side aisle then exited through the side door, all the while singing and chanting in their well-blended heavenly voices, lighting up the dark with their candles and evoking a spine-tingling, solemn, awesome atmosphere.’’