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    First look on the suicidal squad and their new look.

Ateneo BlueRepertory Ends 20th Season with Bare

Got the chance to see Ateneo Blue Repertory's closing show for its 20th season a week ago.  Haven't written anything about it because to be honest I don't know what should I say and feel about it.  It is my first time to see the show and contrary to the hype of most of my friends, I'm quite having mixed emotions about it.  So to be completely sure, I took my time to think over before I drop my final verdict.  So here it is.

Bare is the 4th production of BlueRep that I watched since 2005.  Though I haven't experienced a lot of BlueRep show, I'm convinced that this collegiate theater company got what it takes to create a show worth watching.  The fact that most alumni of this organization are now making names on professional theater scene both here and abroad makes me less surprised when the company wowed the audience that night with a breathtaking performance and intoxicating adrenaline.  I'm a very emotional audience.  And I really like being touched on shows that I watched and Bare definitely pulled something inside me.  The main strength of BlueRep's rendition of Bare is the good marriage of excellent performance and a carefully selected material that is both timely and thought provoking.

The star crossed lovers: Peter (Bibo Reyes) and Jason (Jaime Barcelon)

Now where do the negatives fall?  I mentioned that in general I love the overall company performance.  But some actors still fall short on portraying their respective roles.  When I saw the show last week, I'm quite confused of Jason's character (Jaime Barcelon).  He is closeted gay but he acts too soft for a guy.  I don't know if it is intentional but if you are hiding your true sexuality, you must at least not act like one right?  I just feel that the execution is a bit confusing and needs a lot of reworking.  His leading men (played by Bibo Reyes) on the other hand gave a better performance and a much more believable portrayal of his role--Peter.

Nadia (Cassie Manalastas) for me is the most interesting character because of the fact that I can relate to her and she definitely connected to me.  But unfortunately I also felt that she didn't gave everything for that part.  She is supposed to be a sharp tongued fat girl with an attitude inversely proportional to her self-esteem. The energy from her performance is too restricted where she should be not afraid of losing herself. The resident bitch, Ivy played by Marrone Cruz on the other hand who serve as Nadia's direct antithesis perfectly delivered what the script is saying about her.  She is definitely comfortable with the character and not afraid to lose herself to it.  She perfectly justifies both of her wild facade and fragile side making her the best young performer of that night.

Peter (Bibo Reyes), struggling with Nightmares and Dreams

Bare is once again one of those musical theater title that I will put on my list of shows with music that didn't really appeal to me like Spring Awakening and Next to Normal.  For me, the plot wins my attention over the music.  In fact, I'm willing to see the same material as a straight play rather than a musical.  It also didn't help that Teatrino's acoustic is not that good.  I believe that the venue is only designed for not higher than 10 performers singing in unison. The cast is composed of 20 performers and when they started singing all together, the sound becomes unbearable.  The only time I can enjoy the music is during solos and duets.  But  when group numbers are performed, everything goes down hill.

Cast of Bare 2012 with director Ana Abad Santos

Despite all the technicalities I observed, I still believe that Bare is absolutely an enlightening show that everyone should not fail to witness.  It tackles the sensitive issue of Homosexuality among Christian youth and their struggles to fit into society and look for acceptance and true Love.  The material is heavy and I applaud BlueRep for bravely staging such exquisite and honest musical and be able to execute it right and deliver the message to both theater fans and non-theater fans alike.  

Show closes today with 2 performances left at 3pm and 8pm at the Teatrino, The Promenade, Greenhills. For tickets, inquiries and other information, please contact Chiz Jardin at 09165787618 or through email at nicojardin12@yahoo.com.

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