Sunday, September 6, 2009

Jack and the Beanstalk (Repertory Philippines)


It would be best to judge this production through a kiddie point of view. If you end up watching this just try to see it with all the childlike innocence you could muster, then probably you might enjoy it. The point is, this is really meant for kids. The stage is full of colorful backdrops and stage props that could be considered as eyesores for adults, but necessary to command the attention of children.

They tweak the storyline a little by introducing the giant as some freako scientist, and his assistants as aliens/robots. It is a new twist that I guess the kids welcome because most of them seem to enjoy it. Also, the giant is not that bad and he does not die. Instead, an evil baron is introduced as the villain. I cannot clearly remember if the version of the story that I know features a baron, but I am quite sure that the giant there is a moron who dies in the end. That does not happen here.

The acting is exaggerated. This is not just theater. It is kiddie theater. Red Concepcion plays Jack in the performance that I saw. I think he does a good job. Even though he would not easily pass as a young boy somehow he manages to form a good rapport with the kids so that every action he makes evokes a certain reaction from them.

I think they also do a good job with the beanstalk. It looks like it is made of plastic and I was forever wondering how the heck could Jack climb that thing without ending up at the Makati Med ER. Eventually they use smoke and lighting effects to make it look as if Jack was climbing the thing when in reality they are just lowering the beanstalk prop slowly from the ceiling, with corresponding backdrop changes.

For kiddie theater I think this musical succeeds. In terms of attendance there were a lot of kids in the audience and I think it is is the first time I have seen a play in a jam packed GB1 theater. The actors also invite the kids to participate and ask for their opinions regarding some decisions, although we all know that there already is a choice made beforehand. At the second half some kids are asked to volunteer on stage and play mock baseball with the giant. After that they ask every kid in the audience to dance on stage with them. In short, very interactive. Kids and feeling-kids would definitely enjoy.

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