Different lives, different stories.
I walked inside the walls of Fine Arts Theater in Ateneo de Manila University. I felt the cold air brushing through my skin and heard the soft squeals of the excited audience. It was the evening of September 17 (Friday), and I was about to witness a fairytale – or so I thought.
There were lights. There was music. And the show began.
The Ateneo Blue Repertory (blueREP), a theater organization consisting of talented students, invited me to attend their opening show, Real Life Fairytales, for the beginning of the school year. Directed by Missy Maramara, the play turned out to be one of the best I’ve seen. As the type of person who’s very picky and uninterested with stage plays, I was surprisingly mesmerized by this blueREP original, and I don’t regret accepting the offer even the slightest bit.
I came across different characters as the play progressed and introduced different plots. There was a search for a happy ending when there seemed to be none, a search for love and happiness, a quest to grasp real beauty, a craving for lost love, a confusion over a strange attraction, and an adventure of conquering fear and pushing it aside. These six stories slowly and carefully made an impact to the audience – short breaths, rounds of applause, tears.
I was sitting a few feet away from the stage, just one row behind the VIP’s, focused and intrigued. My legs started to feel numb from the two-hour show, but I just shrugged it off, knowing it was worth it, as every second was jam-packed and oozing with feeling. My heart kept beating, tantalized by the shocking scenes and tear-jerking lines. My body trembled over words and scenes that unfolded right before my eyes. Here’s a sneak peak of one of my favorites: “I don’t love you anymore.” With the actor’s brilliant delivery of that line, I was overcome by a wild roller coaster ride of emotion. I felt the pain – sudden and sharp pangs, which totally blew me away and threw me off the edge of my seat. Every scene turned out to be painful and gut-wrenching, but I loved it.
I found myself relating to the characters in one way or another. The performances were bold, raw, and powerful. Like them and like everyone else, I’m just trying to find my own fairytale in this crazy, crazy, real life.
It’s honestly really challenging to talk about what happened in the show since I’m avoiding spoiling anything. But in all honesty, it’s better that you guys catch it live so we can obviously fangirl over it. Here are my favorite scenes and characters from the show, at the same time, I was able to interview Justine Narciso, Juancho Escoto, Nikki Cadiz and Alex Masucol. (Warning: the interview consists of spoilers. I strongly suggest that you watch RLF as soon as possible first before continuing! You won’t regret following my advice.)
Narciso claimed that during her memorable scene, The Sandman, “Ayaw” was her favorite line. “It’s something Rosie (Narciso’s character) says a lot in the scene,” she said, “and my director, Missy Maramara, really helped me explore the different ways to say it and the growth and journey of the word in the scene.” Narciso added.
In the said scene, the plot revolved around something heavy, drastic, and painful. I was really, deeply affected, for all the emotions displayed by the character seemed eerily real. That performance is one for the books, for sure. I was cringing and cowering in my seat the whole time, not because of the acting – it was impeccable, by the way – but because of the theme it was trying to address. I was moved to tears, which I wasn’t expecting at all. I hoped the goosebumps would go away, but it didn’t. That’s how strong and powerful the execution was.
“But above all, especially when it comes to rape and abuse, NO means NO. That word is so powerful and there are people who take it for granted and use it against others. “NO MEANS NO” should be reiterated again and again to society to remind people that it is NEVER the victim’s fault,” Narciso then shared her deepest opinion about the plot’s issue. “That’s why the word, AYAW, is so important to me!”
The second scene that totally caught my attention focused on letting go, but at the same time, learning when to stay. Escoto was able to play his character flawlessly in this story. I asked him about his favorite line and his own opinion about it. He said, “My favourite line is the last line in the song. ‘Someone please fix me. Fix me. Fix me.’ That was Lance’s last cry for help knowing that he’s gonna leave Gwen grieving.”
Gwen, the girlfriend of Escoto’s character, Lance, suffered all throughout, and I guess this lets the audience view a more realistic image of the play that hits close to home – seeing a loved one in pain, all the while thinking your pain is greater.
“All his plans and dreams unrealized for her. He’s always accepted his death, but its imminence caught him off guard. It’s just so saaaad!” Escoto added.
For the next favorite scene of mine, it includes a completely complicated story.
“Playing Isabelle, I guess one of my favorite lines would have to be from “Slow Dance”, the song I sing together with my scene partners: And though you won’t let me inside, everything I need to know is written in your eyes.” Cadiz said.
BlueREP didn’t just have an outstanding set of actors and actresses, the songs and choreographies used were also beyond captivating. Just like what Cadiz said, the lyrics already triggered emotions and the audience didn’t need anything else.
Alex Masucol played different characters in Real Life Fairytales. He was included in three different scenes. What’s amazing about these actors of blueREP is that they can portray different roles all at the same time – comfortable, confident, and without any difficulty. I really, really admire the effort they all put into each performance.
For one of his characters, David, Masucol’s favorite line was “Yeah? Well, what does Jesus look like?” For Mr. Lin, “But grief is part of it. You can’t just let go of someone like that.” And lastly, “Woah, boner kill,” is his favorite for Tim. These different lines portray different emotions and feelings. Whether it’s comedy or romance, Masucol was able to pull his characters off.
(photo credits: Ateneo Blue Repertory)
Real Life Fairytales was perplexing, poignant, punchy, punny, and passionate all at the same time. Powerful is an understatement. The Fine Arts Theater, cold and strange and filled with murmur and buzz in the beginning, ended up with people having awestruck eyes, ear-to-ear smiles, and contented hearts.
I, for one, admit that the musical, with its various vignettes, made me realize what the real world is truly all about. We keep on trying to reach what’s ideal, when all this time, we just have to accept the fact that, although we may never exist in a fairytale, we can always try our best to live in the moment and make it as magical – even more.
Smile. Be happy. Take off and fly.
spicycinderella | angel baccay
It’s the last week of RLF! Don’t miss it!
Shows are at 8PM on September 13-17, 20-24, 27-30 and October 1 while 3PM shows are on September 17, 24 and October 1.
Tickets are priced at P300 each. For ticket inquiries, contact Nicole Garcia at 09065745545; for ticket reservations, go to http://bluerepertory.org/Tickets. #RLFblueREP
“I hope that you all find time to watch the play, because the stories we tell talk about issues that truly resonate with us. In RLF, our fairytales are more than just fantasy and magic. We want to share a story of truth, for the most part. For those who’ve watched, thank you so much for all your love and support, because it truly is appreciated. We hope you can help spread the word about this show, and hopefully this play has touched you just as much as it has touched us.”
– Nikki Cadiz
“Please watch Real-Life Fairytales! These stories deserve to be heard. In a way, we are trying to really reach out to those who have experienced these situations in real life and we want to show them that they are not alone and that there are people out there willing to help.”
– Alex Masucol