What gives a theater a great meaning is when it transforms to be a social act. – Master Orson Welles.
This is certainly no longer an appropriate truism as compared to Audie Gemora’s “Noli Me Tangere” – The Musical, cast by the Tanghalang Filipino theatre group at Manila’s CCP or Cultural Center of the Philippines – Tanghalang Aurelio Tolentino. Read a summary of the novel, Noli Me Tangere from Noli Me Tangere Buod Kabanata 1 – 64 for your reference prior to watching the musical. The show is a part of the celebration of the group’s silver anniversary in accordance with the Twenty-fifth theater season for the years 2011-2012.
The musical takes place with libretto by Bienvenido Lumbera, National Artist for Literature, music led by Ryan Cayabyab. Costume and design by Salvador Bernal, a known National Artist. The show had been cast by mainstream actors, Mark Bautista and Gian Magdangal who alternates as Crisostomo Ibarra. Cris Villonco acts as Maria Clara.
Noli Me Tangere – A Quick Overview
In this cautiously delivered musical play of, Noli Me Tangere, José Rizal’s novel, the Tanghalang Filipino brands a courageous dash on the wonderfully unforeseen: a gripping overall performance of the comedic as well as the significantly dark inside the national hero’s revealing of the Filipino story underneath the Spanish colonial time and faith-based rule. It seems that Gemora was in fact simply too delighted to tell the love story within the novel—Crisostomo Ibarra and his love interest, Maria Clara. That passion, vast as it was, has become interlaced in most of the incidents encircling the humble community of San Diego.
At some point, the relationship had gotten worse. It was when the young Ibarra just arrived from Europe, just to learn that his father perished. In the midst of the engagement of the main characters, the new parish priest, Padre Salvi portrayed his fondness for Maria Clara. The fondness of Padre Salvi has turned into an obsession that eventually led the parish priest to strategize the seize and death of, Crisostomo, Maria Clara’s lover.
The strong bond between the couple, Crisostomo and Maria turned out to be fraught, by the exposure of Maria’s biological father, Padre Damaso (also a priest of the period) was the person behind Crisostomo Ibarra’s father’s (Don Rafael) demise. It was the final embarrassment against the family – Ibarra’s. After receiving information from Elias, the rebel, that he was now the goal of a killing strive, the young Ibarra chose to flee before Padre Salvi’s men could successfully take his life. Like in the novel, the death of Elias and Maria Clara finally entered the convent marks the end of the stage play.
It would have been impossible to encapsulate the entire novel and its story into a single play, therefore, the director simply focused on the love story of Crisostomo Ibarra and Maria Clara. It is a straightforward, yet deep enough preamble to begin with. But that, that may be frequently missed in the interactions of the novel, Noli Me Tangere, offered the entire cast with an adequate peg by which the retelling of the story could possibly be more valued by the younger generation.
The simpleness through which it had been retold wihtout dropping the novel’s social discourse was incredible, naturally. Audie Gemora’s desire to deliver the novel, Noli Me Tangere to the young Filipino found success in this musical.