Jan 4, 2018

If there is one classic film every Filipino knows about, it’s probably Ishmael Bernal’s Himala starring Nora Aunor.

I didn’t see its entirety until I was in college, but I remember recognizing impersonations of the iconic “Walang Himala” monologue even in grade school. It’s an iconic film that bagged most of the awards at the 1982 Metro Manila Film Festival and was even sent as the first Filipino entry in the competition section of the prestigious Berlin International Film Festival. And this year, we’re going to see its musical adaptation.

This February, the Sandbox Collective will present the stage adaptation of Himala still penned by master screenwriter Ricky Lee with music by Vincent de Jesus. The adaptation will feature Aicelle Santos in the role of Elsa along with Sandino Martin and Bituin Escalante.

This, however, is not the first adaptation of Himala on stage. In 2003, Tanghalang Pilipino first presented Himala on stage under the direction of Soxy Topacio with set and costume design by Gino Gonzalez, choreography by Joe Jay Cruz, and lighting design by Benjamin Villareal Jr. Back then, it was May Bayot who played Elsa with Isay Alvarez and Dulce for other major roles. Topacio and Bayot later won at Aliw Awards for the adaptation. In 2007, it was then presented at the Shanghai International Theater Festival.

Himala’s return to stage is an apt homage to most of the actors who worked on the film. With a limited budget from the Experimental Cinema of the Philippines, Himala featured many theater actors including Ama Quiambao as Sepa, Spanky Manikan as Orly, and Joel Lamangan as the casting director.

Himala (the film) will always have a special place in Philippine Cinema and in our hearts, but we’re still excited on how this upcoming adaptation will tell Elsa’s story.

Himala runs from Feb. 10 to Mar. 4 at Power Mac Center Spotlight, Circuit Makati. For tickets, visit Ticket World

Read more:
Why is Nora Aunor not a National Artist?
The agony and ecstasy of being a ballet dancer
Remembering the Manila Metropolitan Theater

TAGS: Aicelle Santos Himala Ishmael Bernal Nora Aunor Ricky Lee Sandbox Collective Soxy Topacio Vincent de Jesus