Friday, February 26, 2010

CHASING TOFF: A Nostalgic Trip with the Blue Rep

Wow, finally I wrote a column after two months of not writing... Tita Millet is gonna kill me.

No photoA nostalgic trip with the Blue Rep
CHASING TOFF By Christopher De Venecia (The Philippine Star) Updated February 26, 2010 12:00 AM
Have you ever wondered what it’s like to live in a parallel universe? It’s sort of like ours but certain status quos are overturned. Deviant becomes the norm, and the norm becomes delectably unsettling. The same ol’ high school setting applies, the same ol’ pop cultural references, and the same ol’ love bites and relationship shenanigans — only, the gays rule the school and the straights, well, they are now subject to a wallop of societal prejudice. And to add spice to this unseemly reality warp, the Poindexters have taken hold of the school and the Troy Boltons are now relegated to the lowest echelons of the social hierarchy. Talk about “totally f***ed!”

In comic book lingo, think Marvel Comics’ House of M where mutants are revered and humans are all of a sudden forced to live on the fringe. But in theater talk — adding to all the wonderful and exciting productions coming this year — think Zanna Don’t, Ateneo Blue Repertory’s season finale for 2010.

Zanna Don’t takes place in a topsy-turvy world where homosexuality is the norm and heterosexuals must battle anti-straight prejudice. The story is set in Heartsville High in fairy tale America where a lot of cultural realities still apply, only the heterosexuals are subjected to extreme heterophobia. The plot revolves around Zanna, a teen fairy matchmaker played by Jay Carandang and Lawrence Camacho, and the hell that breaks loose when a boy and a girl fall in love.

The musical, originally an off-Broadway production written by Tim Acito starring Queer Eye for the Straight Guy’s Jai Rodriguez, has been touted as a fan-favorite when it played in the UK and the Big Apple. And it will continue to visit our local shores under the wacky direction of zany duo Carelle Mangaliag and RR Herrera. Felix Rivera and Pauline Gaerlan provide the musical direction with JJ Ignacio on set, Miyo Sta. Maria on lights, and Gio Gahol on choreography.

On a more personal note, while I’ve been thoroughly unhinged from the college setting, a year strong and adjusted to the corporate world among other preoccupations, this production seems to wax nostalgic for me since most, if not all, of my batch mates in Blue Rep, are graduating this year. This will be their last production with Blue Repertory, the premiere college musical theater org in the country and my loving home for a good two and a half years in the Ateneo.

I can’t believe it’s been four years since our first Blue Rep production together, Hope for the Flowers. I was a junior then and the majority of my Blue Rep batch mates were freshmen, eager, willing, and excited to take on the theater and college world. Back then, Blue Rep’s current and outgoing company manager, Aye Ortiz, not to mention most of our colleagues, were new to the scene and were just about to commence their journeys towards thespian self-discovery.

Hope was like a “spring awakening” for most people; in fact, many have discovered performing to be an immovable and eternal passion – so much so that they can no longer imagine a life without it. Many have also gone on to star in professional theater productions like Altar Boyz, Hairspray, N.O.A.H., and the Repertory Children’s Musical. I wish them all the best as they move on to the real world. And for those of you who are reading this, don’t dwell on the sadness of losing a home; rather, be comforted by the fact that you will always have a home away home. Congrats, guys!

* * *
Catch Zanna Don’t at the Rizal Mini Theater at the Ateneo de Manila University. 2 p.m. shows on Feb. 27 and March 6. And 8 p.m. shows from Feb. 26 to 27, and March 3 to 6. For ticket inquiries, you may contact Cassie Manalastas at 0917-8969797

* * *
Catch me if you can at and read my weight loss chronicles. Currently at 199 pounds from a staggering 225. 34 more to go.


  1. thank you, toff! :D when are you watching?

  2. hey paul. i might watch this friday or saturday :)