Sunday, December 5, 2010

Little Women (Repertory Philippines)

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Bickering sisters, womanhood, elaborate ball gowns. Not really my cup of tea. At least it is a musical, which makes it more interesting. And even if none of the things mentioned would be of interest to you, there are other subplots within the play that feature universal themes such as Jo’s ambition, for example.

The only vague recollection I have of Little Women is that cartoon series where the woman is named Jo and his husband is named Fritz. They run some sort of orphanage together. If I am not mistaken the title of that series was also Little Women. However, after seeing this play it seems like this is the prequel to that story. No, I have not read the novel yet.

It is a bit boring but maybe this depends on the person watching it. If you love costume dramas tackling the restricted and very traditional role of women in society during the 19th century then you might enjoy this. However, there are some people who just do not get it. I do not get it. Sorry to fans. But I cannot even distinguish such novels from one another. Their structures seem to be almost the same, very much like modern chick lit. Perhaps reading some of them would shed more light and elicit appreciation.

Story aside, the production values of the show are commendable. They use some sort of material in the background which becomes transparent depending on the lighting used. Otherwise it presents an opaque fake background. The said technique has become an indispensable tool in presenting some narrations of the characters, such as that of Jo's in the opening act of the second set.

I am a really a big fan of Miguel Faustmann. He just disappears in whatever character he portrays. It must be the costume and the make-up, but he can change the tone of his voice and his accents too. Would not have figured out that he plays Mr. Laurence if not for the souvenir program.

Caisa Borromeo is perfect for the role of Jo, and very much deserves the loud applause she received during the curtain call. Her portrayal of the character is done with much conviction, and replete with that passion she sings about in The Fire within Me. The character's being headstrong along with her non-conformity are her best assets, and are a delight to the audience.

Perhaps the best scene would be Beth's death. They fly a kite before she passes away. The scene is just full of metaphors. There you are flying a kite which is your life. You think you have full control over it via the string you maneuver but where it ends up is really up to the will of the wind. But despite that, a few people do become successful in keeping themselves afloat, and creating their own path. And it i because of this theme that the story becomes interesting.

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