BWW Review: GEE-GEE AT WATERINA, Not Another Gay-Themed Drama
Manila, Philippines--Being old and gray is a one-way road that awaits everyone. This is the central message of "Gee-gee at Waterina: Ang Musikal," where two old gay friends, Gee-gee and Waterina, revisit the horrendous living conditions during the Second World War and face the new challenges of an uncertain future.
This original Filipino musical, which features the original music by Jesse Lucas, is not your typical cross-dressing production. In fact, its story does not revolve around the elements of glamour and color; instead, it celebrates life's lessons, even including the most painful chapters of our history. The show's appeal is not in its aesthetics but in its aching nostalgia.
The show's subject matter is intriguing as it is something that's rarely discussed in history books and it's seldom frequented because of its complex controversial issues.
This is not another gay-themed drama, too. It's a one-act musical where you can see yourself from the eyes of its characters who are trying to resolve a normal problem that everyone would eventually face later in life.
One thing that will strike the audience is the plainness of its plot and the actors' simplified delivery of the lines from the script, which easily builds a connection with the audience.
The play's funfair is found in the powerhouse performances of Norman Penaflorida and Roeder Camanag in the titular roles. Only a few thespians in the industry can execute the finesse and cutting-edge acting skills of Camanag; this production becomes his personal playground for a creative expression that showcases various theatrical techniques--old and new. Penaflorida's acting skills, on the other hand, are unfailing; his Gee-gee's "maternal instinct" is both lovable and effervescent. These seasoned actors' methods are loud, but not chaotic. Their emotions complement each other as if their parts were written just for them.
On that small stage, director Andrew de Real and choreographer Lezlie Dailisan become masters of space because of their wise choices in the staging and movement; there's still an element of spaciousness as the actors dance and move with ease.
"Gee-gee at Waterina" was originally a one-act straight play, written by Dennis Teodosio.
Justo Justo, former Pasay City councilor and AIDS activist, and Walter Dempster Jr., also known as Walterina Markova, were Teodosio's inspirations for his play-turned-musical.
"Gee-gee at Waterina: Ang Musikal," produced by Artist Playground, runs at Arts Above, Artist Playground (West Avenue Building, 112 West Avenue, Quezon City) now through Sunday, August 26, 2018.
Buy tickets (P1,200-P1,500) from TicketWorld.com.ph.
Photos: Teatro Pinas