525,600 Minutes


525,600 minutes, 525,000 moments so dear.
525,600 minutes – how do you measure, measure a year?
In daylights, in sunsets, in midnights, in cups of coffee.
In inches, in miles, in laughter, in strife.
In 525,600 minutes – how do you measure a year in the life?
How about love? How about love? How about love?
Measure in love. Seasons of love.

I thought I’d go all cliche with the start of this post and quote the most popular song (is it?) from the musical to start this post. I’ve heard this song so much for how many years but I never knew where it came from until my best friend told me about it. Yes, I’ve been hiding under a rock.

So yesterday, my friends and I glammed up and headed to Carlos P. Romulo theater in RCBC Plaza in Makati to watch 9works Theatrical’s staging of Rent. Okay, so I glammed up — I just felt like being girly because I was at the theater. It’s just right to wear a dress for the theater, right? :P

Dress up :P

But anyway, that’s not the point of this review.

I’m not exactly a longtime fan of Rent, so I went to watch the play with no expectations. I didn’t even read about the story, and all I knew about it was there was a group of people renting an apartment. I didn’t know who the characters were. All I know what that song up there. Because of these known facts, I don’t really think I can give a full-theater review of Rent (then again, I’m no theater expert anyway), so I’ll just write them all down in bullets for easier reading:

  • The Story. Rent is definitely not a play for kids, with all the serious issues that it discusses within the musical. I had a hard time digesting/processing what the story was about at the first half of the play because I had no idea what it was about, but as the second act came, I started to understand the story. Lots of issues came up: AIDS/HIV, homosexuality, drugs, relationships, and ultimately, love.I remember my mom telling me that the only cure for AIDS was love. Back then, I thought love could be bottled up and be given to the people with AIDS to drink (like paracetamols or colon cleansing pills) — I know it’s kind of cheesy — and be healed, as in be rid of AIDS forever. Of course love couldn’t be bottled, but until now I believe that people with AIDS need love first and foremost. I think that’s what the story of Rent tells us: that these people need love. Hence the song, right?Although the story wasn’t as lighthearted as Avenue Q, I enjoyed the story of Rent. My heart broke for Angel, and I got frustrated with Roger and Mimi, and overall, the ending gave me a good and positive feeling inside.

    Favorite scenes/songs: Another Day, La Vie Bohème, Seasons of Love, Without You

  • The Characters. Rent showcases a colorful cast of characters — from the preppy observer Mark to the rocker Roger, to the prim and strict Joanne to the wild Maureen and Mimi, to the somewhat inconsistent Benny. It’s the first musical I ever watched that had both gay and lesbian couples, and “parents” on answering machines.I really liked the character of Mark, who acted as the narrator/observer among the cast of characters. Mark may seem like an outsider as he films/comments on things, and it may seem like he has no issues in life until his roommate Roger brings it up. However, I kind of like that he didn’t seem to have too many hang-ups, especially about romance, even if his ex Maureen did leave him for a woman.

    But the favorite character there? Hands down, it was Angel. He/she is the character that is everyone’s friend, which makes him/her more important and his/her absence feels more poignant over the other characters.

  • The Manila Cast. I’m always in awe of theater actors because acting onstage is not as easy as it looks. It always amazes me how much effort comes with every performance, which is always fresh and on the spot, unlike for movie/TV actors. That said, I think the entire cast of Rent in Manila did a great job with their performances. Granted, there could still be things to improve on — like maybe the chemistry of some of the cast with one another, or maybe a way for some of the cast to “rise” above the others so they wouldn’t be overshadowed by the other characters — but it’s still a good show, nonetheless. I would still urge you to catch its last run this weekend. I’m not exactly raving about it like I did the Altar Boyz, but the fact that I actually took the time to blog about it means I liked it a lot. :)

So yeah. Rent was good. :) Watch it — there are still shows this weekend. I’m serious, don’t miss it.

Up next on the shows to watch list: Avenue Q (another run whee!), and possibly Legally Blonde on June. See where my money is going? Heh.