Thursday, February 17, 2011

Orosman at Zafira: A story of love, justice and sacrifices

By Flow Galindez
Original Article can be found HERE

"Buwan man o taon ang bilangin, pag-ibig, pag-ibig at pag-ibig pa rin!" This is how Orozman at Zafira of Francisco "Balagtas" Baltazar struck me when I first saw it in University of the Philippines Diliman last 2010. Gladly, Dulaang UP and Bit by Bit Development Company of Darwin Mariano brings it to a more mainstream audience to appreciate the art and legacy that Balagtas left in the Philippine literature. Now, Orosman at Zafira will run in all Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays of February 2011 at SM Centerstage Theater in SM Mall of Asia.

The masterpiece of Balagtas follows the story of a Zafira, a princess from the tribe of Marruecos who thirst for justice after her father Mahamud was murdered by a Tedenst. Like a Romeo-Juliet set up, Zafira fell in love with Orosman, one of the sons of Boulasem, leader of the enemy tribe. With Gulnara, Zafira asked help from Zelim, the leader of Duquela to slay the murderers of her father. This how the quest for justice and love of Zafira and Orosman had started.

Just when I thought, Dulaang UP and all the performers had shown their best in 2010 that really amazed me. The 2011 production really surprise me from the costume, effects, fight scenes and how actors portrayed their roles. Let me discuss it one by one; the costumes were improved it gave more distinctions between tribes, which unlike before the only thing I can recall was Maurrecos are those with red stitches and accessories, while the remaining tribe it is hard to distinguish. With a bigger space it gives the actors move freely to execute fight scenes including with the props and acrobatic stunts which was rare to do in the UP campus.

Music and lighting effects helps to add with the emotions of each character. I really love how the group of Dexter Santos (Director) and Carol Bello (Musical Director) combines regional instruments with the modern equipments and create wonderful music and it goes very well with the actors singing, acting and choreography. It just when I saw Orosman at Zafira last Friday (Feb 4), I can barely hear some actors because the music is louder and their voices. I just hope the group could correct that in the succeeding performance.

I'm still fascinated with the vocal prowess of Tao Aves (Zelima), and Jean Judith Javier (Gulnara) which are still doing their roles this year. I saw them singing in 2010 and their voices are so powerful. While Maita Angeli Ponce and Sarah Delfine Buencamino who played Zafira alternates were great in doing their roles; Maita was the Zafira last Feb 4, while I saw Delfine perform the prayer during the press conference last January.

Orosman at Zafira, tells the story how women can be brave and strong. The Balagtas' creation gives the limelight to women and how they can empower themselves and fight for their right and justice.That is why this play is worth watching as it reaches out to the mainstream audience.

Orosman at Zafira includes performers like Jay Gonzaga (Orosman), Maita Ponce and Delphine Buencamino (Zafira - alternate), Tao Aves (Zelima), Roeder CamaƱag (Abdalap), Red Concepcion (Aldervesin), Kevin Concepcion and Acey Aguilar (Zelim - alternate), Jacinta Remulla (Gulnara), Jean Judith Javier (Gulnara), Nazer Salcedo (Boulasem), Neil Tolentino (Mahamud), Felipe Ronnie Martinez (Ben-Asar), and the Dulaang UP Ensemble. The artistic team of OROSMAN AT ZAFIRA includes Tuxqs Rutaquio (Production Designer), John Ilao Batalla (Lighting Designer), Anril Tiatco, Katte Sabate, and Patrick Valera (Dramaturgs), Mara Marasigan (Assistant Director), Via Antonio (Associate Choreographer), Irish Pangilinan (Associate Musical Director), and Lao Rodriguez (Accessories Designer). The production team is composed of Atty. Darwin Mariano (Executive Producer), Carlo Francia (Associate Producer), Toots O. Tolentino (PR/Publicity Consultant), Ida Elopre (Production Manager), Ohm David (Technical Director), Loraine Macatangay (Stage Manager), Cherry Bong Edralin (Marketing Manager), and Jojit Lorenzo (Photography).

Catch OROSMAN AT ZAFIRA on its LAST Saturday run
February 26 / 3PM / SAT @ MOA CenterStage

Ticket Price: Php350

Contact Onay @ 0918.536.2116 to reserve tickets.

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