Aug 20, 2009

[Theater] tick, tick...BOOM! (Ateneo Blue Repertory)

tick, tick...BOOM!Growing up Atenean, I was no stranger to theater. you have to admit, the ADMU makes sure there's a healthy theater presence starting with ACT in grade school all the way to the various theater groups at the college. I've seen my fair share of school productions of varying degrees of quality but regardless they're usually generally enjoyable, one way or another.

You need to sort of respect things for as they are - these are budding artists who are honing their craft so there's no point in expecting Tony-level performances from them (or from most theater groups in the country, sadly enough). But at the same time, one can look forward to some interesting productions may they be lesser-known off-off-OFF Broadway productions to the major shows that have already gained world renown.

I was lucky enough to get invited to watch this particular production by a friend and given sudden availability for the night, I was glad I was actually able to go. One can never get enough musical theater in his life.

I watched Ateneo Blue Repertory's staging of Jonathan Larson's tick, tick...BOOM! last Saturday, and it turned out better than expected. It certainly made for an interesting evening, especially given I had not heard of the play before.

tick, tick...BOOM! used to be a one-man performance act that Jonathan Larson (yes, of RENT fame) used to stage himself. After his death, it was adapted to be a three-person play in a highly interesting fashion. The story follows the life of Jon (yes, it's practically autobiographical in some aspects), an aspiring musical composer who's about to turn 30 and is feeling the pressure to make it big before time "runs out". The two other main characters are Michael, his life-long friend and for now his roommate who gave up his acting career to become a marketing executive and Susan, his dancer girlfriend who is considering starting a family and leaving New York. The story is building up to the workshop staging of Jon's play "Superbia", upon which all his hopes and dreams are now pinned on as part of his play to find the success he's been looking for before his birthday.

The actors for the night were Marc Baluyan as Jon, Ivan Aldover as Michael and Mian Dimacali as Susan.

I can appreciate why Marc was cast as the lead role - he certain;y has the kind of singing voice needed to carry the character. Acting-wise he was decent, although clearly he didn't feel comfortable swearing or being overly intimate with Susan. Ivan was decent as Michael, although he didn't make much of an impression whether vocally or in terms of his acting, but maybe that's just me.

The real gem of the show was Mian, who was just amazing as Susan and the various other roles she played during the night. It's hard to try and do all those voices on stage in order to represent the diverse roster of roles like Jon's Jewish talent agent and many others, and she managed this flawlessly. She also has a pretty strong singing voice and is well on her way to really making a name for herself, I'd like to think. Plus she was just a lot of fun!

Overall production was pretty good. It didn't overly feel like a minimalist college production and it certainly captured that Larson New York feel. The diversity of the sets and the scenes they created was pretty impressive given the amount of stage space they had to work with.

Overall is was a decent performance and certainly a nice way to enjoy the evening. I think I just might try catching more blueREP productions in the coming months, depending on what's showing.

blueREP's tick, tick...BOOM! gets 3.5 belts out of a possible 5.


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