Last night, I was at PETA for the press preview of Rak of Aegis, the theater company's closing production of its 46th season. The rock-comedy musical features the songs of Aegis, with original story by Liza Magtoto.
Aileen and Kenny (played here by Poppert Bernadas) talk about the YouTube video that would propel Aileen to stardom
Rak of Aegis is set in Villa Venizia (referencing Venice), a town recovering from a flood. The town is still submerged and local businesses are floundering, but the locals are getting by with the world-famous Filipino spirit. Aileen wants to change all that by uploading a video of herself singing, hoping Ellen would discover her and give her money. She instantly becomes a YouTube sensation, and the town capitalizes her singing prowess amidst the tragedy.
Isay Alvarez-Sena, Robert Sena, and Aicelle Santos give powerful powerful performances as Rak of Aegis' leads
The cast gave a 20 minute preview of the production and I was impressed. The three leads - Aicelle Santos as Aileen, Isay Alvarez-Sena as baranggay captain Mary Jane, and Robert Sena as Kiel, Aileen's father, gave strong performances that brought the house down. I particularly liked Robert Sena, whose powerful vocals almost overpowered the entire cast's. But his wife Isay Alvarez-Sena and Aicelle smoothly balanced that out, giving a fresh take to classic Aegis songs. Take note that Halik first came out in 1998!
With choreography by Gio Gahol, who joined the press preview
Aicelle Santos performing Christmas Bonus, one of Aegis' greatest hits
Frankly, I am a new Aegis fan. Sure, I've heard of Halik, Ulan, and Luha, but I only got to appreciate the band last year when I realized their robust range and emotional lyrics that could cut through every cynic's heart. After the performance, Nikko and I agreed that the band deserves icon status because every Filipino knows at least one Aegis song, no matter their socioeconomic status. They may be masa, according to a Rappler writer who was there, but I think that the band has a universal appeal that makes them a guilty pleasure of everyone - bakya or sosyal. As proof, my brother knows Halik and Ulan even though he's part of the latter group. Leloi Arcete, who did the PR, also told me of a sosyal Scholastican friend who secretly asked how much tickets were, claiming she was a huge fan.
The cast of Rak of Aegis. Funny how the photo looks dramatic even if it was a candid shot
Myke Salomon (alternate to Kenny), director Maribel Legarda, playwright Liza Magtoto, and choreographer Gio Gahol entertain questions from the press
PETA was inspired to do Rak of Aegis after the company participated in post-Ondoy relief efforts through psycho-social debriefings in Binan, Laguna. Of course, the title is a twist on the Broadway musical Rock of Ages.
Rak of Aegis will premiere on January 31 and will run until March 9, with shows every Friday, Saturday, and Sunday at the PETA Theater (5, Eymard Drive, New Manila, Quezon City). Tickets are now available at TicketWorld.