BWW Review: THE KUNDIMAN PARTY Has Never Been More Relevant; Show Closes Tom.
Manila, Philippines--THE KUNDIMAN PARTY deserves this rerun, especially now we're on post-midterm elections. The play with music, a cultural-political drama, written by Floy Quintos and directed by Dexter Santos, has never been more relevant.
Originally staged at the Wilfrido Ma. Guerrero Theatre, University of the Philippines, last year, the restaging of THE KUNDIMAN PARTY, which now plays at PETA Theatre, also in Quezon City, welcomes new cast members Nonie Buencamino (Senator Juancho Valderama), Boo Gabunada (Bobby), and Gabriel Paguirigan (Ludwig), among others.
The play follows the story of retired singer Maestra Adela (Shamaine Centenera-Buencamino) who firmly believes in the transformative power of the kundiman (traditional Filipino love songs). Together with young, social media citizen Bobby and Maestra Adela's closest circle of female friends, who are referred to as "titas," they challenge the nation's pressing political and social issues via a creative protest.
The good news is: It's still fun the second time around!
Quintos manages to strike a balance between its serious and funny elements, especially those moments that involve Maestra Adela's "titas."
The fierce Frances Makil-Ignacio (Mayen), the motherly Stella Cañete-Mendoza (Helen), and the wacky socialite Missy Maramara (Mitch) click and fit perfectly in the private life of a reclusive voice teacher. Their bond and their personalities are absolute caricatures of women with different sets of truths.
In these challenging times, these empowered titas are the ideal company we could ever wish for.
Centenera-Buencamino's Maestra Adela, on the other hand, personifies the kundiman, which is probably forgotten or neglected for too long by the younger generation of Filipinos, who may be familiar with kundiman but don't pay much attention to it. Lacking the depth of the original Bobby (Kalil Almonte), Boo Gabunada, who plays the rebellious son, Bobby, in this restaging, exposes Maestra Adela and her music to the online audience.
That scene where Miah Canton's Antoinette is serenading Gabunada's Bobby with the love song "Bituin Marikit" could have been a romantic and tender moment onstage. But the actor's eyes are not gazing on her, which sends out a different message to the audience. Most of the time, Gabunada's acting is loud, disruptive, and exhausting.
Nonie Buencamino, who plays Bobby's loving father, makes a stirring performance. His speaking lines are rather brief but important. His performance in this play reminds everyone in the audience how good an actor he is.
As Juancho, Buencamino speaks with utmost authority but with much love and understanding for his son--it's tough love.
Also in the cast are Jenny Jamora (Mitch alternate), Rica Nepomuceno (Melissa, a former kundiman singer), and Gabriel Paguirigan (Ludwig, Maestra Adela's pianist and sidekick).
THE KUNDIMAN PARTY runs now until tomorrow, June 2, 2019. Get tickets via Ticket2Me.net.
Photos: Vladimeir Gonzales