BWW Review: THE THEORY OF RELATIVITY Boasts Well-Written Songs, Simple Story
Manila, Philippines - To open Ateneo Blue Repertory's (blueREP) 28th theatrical season, the company is staging The Theory of Relativity, a song cycle, with music and lyrics by Neil Bartram and book by Brian Hill. Originally written for college students in mind, the show celebrates a story that reflects the students' very own lives.
This production of The Theory of Relativity limits its stage design into merely three large panels of mirrors and pays more close attention to the singing abilities of the cast. Surprisingly, the venue that can fit at least 70 was filled to the brim with students, parents, and even resident critics armed with pens and ticklers when we watched a performance.
The audiences are seated as if onlookers in a typical school setting - eavesdropping and listening to their schoolmates' lives.
This "scientific" and "educational" theater experience is built on the notion of teenaged dreams and endeavors, problems and even triumphs. It is something designed and researched to mimic the daily lives of the curious, exploring young adults.
The show is for everyone's consumption though, which is filled with realizations and childhood lessons. It is a coming-of-age story that would surely remind you of how you were in your student years.
At first sight and with a title as straightforward as this, one would think this piece is nothing but an allusion to science yet the opening is indeed energized and upbeat. The theme of the play is simple and common but this kind of simplicity makes the piece deep and quite moving. It tells about the surprising interconnectedness of everyone's lives. It also brings about revelations that affect relationships, friendships and the often-used theme of love.
With songs meant to remind you of your days in the classroom, the creators made sure to adopt real and true stories to pierce hearts and generate chuckles. The theory of The Theory of Relativity is how it connects and leaves a mark not only through the lyrics but also the music that was not composed as show tunes but as anthems no matter how triumphant, sad, or hopeful the stories are.
Directed by Andrei Nikolai Pamintuan, the play mixes old, conventional themes to produce a freshly baked version of lives often told and retold to a point of being too repetitive.
Perhaps the gift of this theater experience is the combination of well-written songs and the simplicity of the story.
The actors give justice to the songs and their free-acting movements expose how raw these talents are and how this play and blueREP continue to be a mine for new thespians, shaping the industry and making it more vibrant and fun.
Photos: Jam Binay