Thrilling musical adventure

Leah C. Salterio - The Philippine Star
Thrilling musical adventure
Repertory Philippines’ 2019 season ender, The Quest for the Adarna, allows kids and adults to rediscover the story in this modern presentation of the Filipino classic

MANILA,Philippines — Repertory Philippines’ 2019 season ender, The Quest for the Adarna, is a thrilling musical adventure for kids that breathes new life into the classic Filipino epic, Ibong Adarna, produced through Rep’s Theater for Young Audiences (RTYA).

 Just like the grade-school reading material, The Quest for the Adarna takes place in the peaceful kingdom of Berbania, ruled by the beloved King Fernando and his equally beloved wife, Queen Valeriana. They are blessed with three sons princes Pedro, Diego and Juan who are all mighty warriors.

King Fernando of Berbania is sick, and only the powerful voice and the healing powers of the mythical Adarna stand to save him. Naturally, his three sons, the three princes of Berbania, exhibit their might and bravery to save their father.

The youngest, Prince Juan, is also the kindest and the most honest. His search for the Adarna takes him to meet Maria Blanca, the courageous princess warrior from the Crystal Kingdom.

All three sons travel courageously to Mount Tabor in the hope to capture the mythical Adarna. All of them are aware about the dangerous path they have to take just to bring home the bird that will hopefully heal their sick father.

As everyone who knows the enduring Ibong Adarna epic, The Quest for the Adarna is a modern re-telling of the story, highlighted with original music and vibrant choreography. The musical has an English translation of a Filipino classic, with book and lyrics by Luna Grino-Inocian and original music by Rony Fortich.

Making a child-friendly play from a story that includes dark themes and scary scenes was not easy for Luna, but not impossible, too. “I used a lot of anachronism to make The Quest for the Adarna more appealing to today’s youth,” Luna offers.

Admittedly, Luna worked with a “dream of a composer,” Rony Fortich. “I honestly could not have done this musical without his collaboration, beautiful melodies, astute observation, much appreciated and acknowledged advice, succinct suggestions and calm, quiet presence even in the most stressful moments.”

Directed by Jamie Wilson and Naths Everett, The Quest for the Adarna was brought to life for its bright, colorful costumes and child-friendly music. The spectacular cast boasts stage veterans and fresh faces in the local theater industry. Understandably, the cast alternates in their characters in a span of four months — from September to January — that’s why a number of actors are assigned to the roles.

Playing the titular role of the Adarna are Shiela Valderrama-Martinez and Carla Guevarra-Laforteza, with new theater talents Andrea Monique Alvarado and Cara Barredo.

Joining them are Leo John Guinid, Diego Aranda and Neo Rivera as Prince Juan; Arion Sanchez, Jim Andrew Ferrer and Ade Valenzona as Prince Pedro; and Vinni Todd, Luis Marcelo, Sean Nolasco and Andres Borromeo as Prince Diego.

Completing the powerhouse cast are Jay Barrameda, Noel Rayos and Hans Eckstein as the Hermit, Justine Narciso, Alex Reyes and Jillian Ita-as Maria Blanca, Arnel Carrion and Raymund Concepcion as King Fernando and Nans Everett and Ayam Eckstein as Queen Valeriana.

With a touch of The Lion King and Mulan, even an epic film like Lord of the Rings, The Quest for the Adarna allows kids and adults, as well, to rediscover the story in this modern presentation of a well-loved and inspiring Filipino classic. The Ibong Adarna story is veritably reborn in Rep’s season ender.

The colorful and vibrant musical runs until Jan. 28, 2020 at the Onstage Theater in Greenbelt 1, Makati City.

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