Saturday, November 19, 2011

Ariel, Triton, Ursula and Sebastian came Alive on Stage!

I had the opportunity to watch the premiere of The Little Mermaid at Meralco Theater last night.  I was able to snatch some discounted balcony ticket from Ensogo with 50% in savings.

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I was early at Meralco Avenue, about 5:15 although the tickets from Ensogo could be claimed at 6PM.  I hitched a ride to Meralco with my officemate because I have no idea on how to go there except by cab perhaps.  The other route posted on the internet needs to pass by the traffic jam infested EDSA so even if he will leave the office at 4:30PM, I also grabbed my bag at the very same time as he did.


Giant nativity welcomed guests at the gardens of Meralco.  There are no lights to illuminate it at night though.  I remember last Christmas, the Meralco Building is one of the brightest as it tells people not to conserve electricity during the Christmas Season.  Haha!

When 6 PM arrived, employees from Ensogo arrived to put up the table for the tickets.  Good thing, I was one of the early birds, I still had the chance to choose seats.  When they realized the queue is very long, they stopped the seat choosing to entertain the play viewers a little faster.  After getting my ticket, I went out to McDonalds to have dinner and kill some time.  Show starts at 8PM.

The long wait was worth it.  The story of a little mermaid who fell in love with a human prince came alive on stage.  The Broadway musical had its Asian debut last night and I was lucky to be one of the first to watch it. It tells about Ariel, a princess mermaid, youngest of King Triton, who fell in love with the human Prince Eric and had to exchange her voice to the sea witch in exchange for legs and a chance in love.

I have loved this Disney creation since I was a kid.  I have memorized some songs like Part of that World, I could still sing it by heart.  It is the music of my childhood.  Daughters of Triton, Under the Sea, Kiss the Girl scene is as vivid as if it was just yesterday that mom brought home a beta max tape of that cartoon movie.  Ariel is one of my most loved princesses and Prince Eric was MY prince.

I was at awe at how Atlantis Production dealt with such complicated material.  The mere fact that scenes changes from sea to land and back again is complicated as physics.   The use of light and colors has set the mood and stage of which setting the characters are in whether they are at the deeps of King Triton's kingdom or the "surface" by the rocks with Scuttle the seagull, or even at the lair of Ursula or Ariel’s treasure throve of human things. All of their props are simple yet painted the perfect picture of what I have seen in the Disney animation film of 1989.  I like the idea that they installed rollers to big props to easily pull and push them on and off the stage.

What I loved about this play the most are the costumes.  They are intricately thought of, they are very generous with the material, and they are flamboyant with detail. The big production scenes like Under the Sea and Kiss the Girl was superb when a lot of fish and other aquatic creatures came alive with costumes that could walk and act like animals when the actors move.  A big factor for the success of this is the incorporation of puppets, in the play.  Wayang or shadow puppets interpret the scene of Ariel saving Eric when he drowned as well as when Ariel lost her tail and had legs. Other ensemble actors had traditional Japanese puppets or bunraku and Cambodian puppets, nang kaloung on some parts of the show.  All these had been studied by directors Bobby Garcia and Chari Arespacochaga.

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Rachelle Ann Go as Ariel (Photo from Atlantis Production)

I think the actors are very splendid.  Rachelle Ann Go lived the spunk, adventurous and free spirited Ariel.  Erik Santos, who played Prince Eric, was fitted for the role.  I never thought their voices are powerful until last night.  I know they are celebrities and singers but singing voice for theater is entirely different than for concerts.  Everything has to be magnified.

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Erik Santos as Prince Erik (Photo from Atlantis Production)


I commend OJ Mariano and Jinky Llamanzarez who played the roles of Sebastian and sea witch Ursula respectively, because you could actually see that they love what they do and enjoys each of their performances. You will get into the groove because of them.  


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Jinky Llamanzarez as Ursula and OJ Mariano as Sebastian
(Photos from Atlantis Production)


Other actors who are as superb are Calvin Millado who is King Triton, Ikey Canoy who plays Scuttle and Lee Viloria as Flounder. Even after they made their bows, all of these actors are still into their roles!

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Calvin Millado as King Triton
(Photos from Atlantis Production)


I just loved it.  I can't stop giving applauses last night.  It transported me to my childhood and back!  Two thumbs up for The Little Mermaid.  Bravo Atlantis Production!

-o0o-
The Little Mermaid
Atlantis Production
Meralco Theater, Ortigas

Show runs until December 11, 2011.  Get your tickets and be awed of this spectacular play. If you have little girls (and boys), give them an early Christmas treat, they'll surely enjoy the show!

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