Video: Noel Comia Jr., EJ Ramos Talk How HALIMAW Stands the Test of Time

DLSU Harlequin Theatre Guild’s ‘Halimaw’ runs Oct. 4-7 at Teresa Yuchengco Auditorium, De La Salle University Manila.

By: Oct. 03, 2023

Manila, Philippines—BroadwayWorld has sat down with the two Albertos (Noel Comia, Jr. and EJ Ramos) in DLSU Harlequin Theatre Guild’s first production since the COVID-19 pandemic shutdown, Dr. Isagani Cruz’s “Halimaw” (Monster), a ‘70s sarsuwela retold as a present-day pop-rap musical, which still holds to Cruz’s original book and lyrics and features new music by Vince Lim. 

“Dr. Isagani Cruz wrote ‘Halimaw’ in the ‘70s. All stories reflect the society in some way, but what makes this musical special is it depicts the Philippines during the ‘70s Martial Law era,” Noel said.

“And what’s crazy is that we’ve staged it in the current time, 2023, not editing any parts of the script, but everything there is still relevant,” he added.

In the ‘70s, “Halimaw” was known for its allegorical narrative of the consuming and repressive dangers of power and corruption, critical of former Philippine President Ferdinand Marcos’ regime.

Set in a reimagined fantastical Philippines, “Halimaw” follows Alberto in his pursuit of saving the tyrannical King’s three daughters, the Marias, who are abducted by halimaws or monsters.

Accompanied by two ordinary men, the Juans, Alberto must face the enigmatic siren, Binibining Sirena; the deceptive matron, Ginang Purista; and the devious executive, Ginoong Dragon, to defeat the monsters and rescue the Marias.

Performing alongside Noel, EJ, and HTG’s homegrown thespians are DLSU alum Bene Manaois, who was last seen in PETA’s comedy musical “Walang Aray”; and “Drag Race Philippines” alum Vinas DeLuxe, a drag artist and singer.

Romualdo “Raffy” Tejada directs this production; he directed HTG’s previous productions “Ang Huling Mambabatok,” “Rizal is My President,” and “Fish-Hair Woman.”

Musical director Vince Lim, also a DLSU alum, is tasked to relive the sarsuwela’s original songs by infusing the sound of pop rap.

“Halimaw’s” A-list creative team also includes Carlon Josol Matobato, choreography; Leeroy New, production design; Santi Obcena, costumes and makeup; Roman Cruz, technical direction; Gabo Tolentino, lighting design; and Holland Lou Buella, sound design.

Video: Oliver Oliveros/BroadwayWorld

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