Now Reading
The trippy, theatrical spectacle that is the Parokya ni Edgar musical

The trippy, theatrical spectacle that is the Parokya ni Edgar musical

Avatar photo
  • The newest jukebox musical is an amalgamation of comedy with commentary, women empowerment(?) with crass jokes, crazy randomness with a story that somehow works but also… does it?
Parokya ni Edgar musical

We Filipinos have this quirk: We say something profound and so quickly downplay it through humor. Whether it’s the “joke” or “charot” or “eme” tacked at the end of a sentence, or—and this seems to be the go-to punchline of the hour—repeating the clever word or phrase in a high-pitched, questioning tone (questioning tone?! You know what I mean.)

This brand of Pinoy humor is so unique you can’t translate—and I think that’s the same feeling I got after watching “Buruguduystunstugudunstuy,” the new Parokya ni Edgar musical by Full House Theater.

The one-heck-of-a-mouthful-of-a-title aside, the musical written by awarded playwright Rody Vera and arranged by musical director Ejay Yatco, much like the discography of the band that inspired it, is heavily Pinoy-coded. Cheeky—at times, crass—humor, maximalism, and even the way social commentary is delivered seems subverted by the campiness of it all.

Parokya ni Edgar musical
Pepe Herrera as Mr. Suave

An enigmatic story, much like the title

While the creative team and the cast have been incredibly secretive with regard to the musical’s synopsis (always just blanketing the discussion with Parokya ni Edgar’s own words: “You better get ready for a big surprise”), it’s also quite difficult to summarize everything that happens without it becoming a case of “explain it like I’m five” or an example of the “better than it sounds” trope.

Nevertheless, the writer must write, and so we try: The story seems relatively simple, and perhaps we can even say it follows a typical structure. Hero—or in this case, heroines—played by Felicity Kyle Napuli, Marynor Madamesila, Natasha Cabrera, and Tex Ordoñez-De Leon (as the partially handicapped high school student Aiza, poor scavenger Jen, humble lady guard Girlie, and heartbroken matron Norma, respectively), have problems. They are brought together by a strange drumbeat that only they can hear. On their birthday, no less.

Parokya ni Edgar musical
Girlie (Natasha Cabrera) being greeted by her fellow security guards on her birthday

They are then whisked away to the fantasy world of “Parokya” where they are able to escape (but also find solutions to) their problems. The time spent in this new world, meeting peculiar characters, starts a transformation within them, which ultimately leads to them once again facing the problems they’ve left behind but now armed with a new perspective.

It seems simple, but its true charm (and many of the questions) lies in the staging—the details (and there are many!), the worldbuilding, and of course, the music.

From start to finish, “Buruguduystunstugudunstuy” is a feast and feat in costume and stage design. It is all at once spectacular and campy and quite literally out of this world—a success in allowing audiences to suspend their disbelief at the theater.

Each world within the Parokyaverse (a term they’ve coined for the overall universe in which this story takes place) is clearly defined visually, and it is easy to see the production did not skimp on details or budget. It employs nearly every trick in the book to deliver what the setting—the world—requires: flying, puppets of all shapes and sizes, multi-level stages, skates, lights, projections, smoke—the works!

But of course, half the work falls to the people behind and within these pieces of stage magic. Napuli, Madamesila, Cabrera, and Ordoñez-De Leon make for a colorful combination of leads, with their characterizations distinctly unique. All vocally impressive, these four women make the characters interesting, endearing, and entertaining enough for us to invest in their journeys. 

Parokya ni Edgar musical
Marynor Madamesila as Jen and Noel Comia as her brother Tikmol

Napuli seamlessly switches from the angsty, tortured teen to the free young spirit Aiza transforms into in the Parokyaverse, while Madamesila seems effortless as she juggles being sister, friend, love interest, and enlightened being. Ordoñez-De Leon, meanwhile, is the unexpected comic with her loud expletives and her easy banter with Mr. Suave (perfectly played by Pepe Herrera). Balancing the quartet is Cabrera’s take on Girlie (never mind that the name is funny in itself, especially if you, like me, are one of the people who like calling people “girlie”/”girly.” Yes, girliepop.). Girlie the lady guard is understated and quiet, in contrast, for example, to Norma (the yapper!). To the point that it adds to the mystery of her character.

As if these four aren’t characters enough, they’re joined by the loud, brash, crazy Bigotilyos, led by Mr. Suave (of course!). They’re versions of the men the leads have encountered outside the Parokyaverse, which triggers but then comforts(?) them. 

One of the foremost questions when it was revealed that this Parokya ni Edgar musical would feature four female leads was how could the message of these songs be translated for the female context. What story could possibly unfold that would reconcile the seemingly hypermasculine music with the female lens? 

In the finished musical, romantic love is, as expected, featured (how could you not, when some of Parokya ni Edgar’s biggest hits are iconic courtship hits like “Harana” and “Gitara”). But what’s more impressive is what’s implied amid the crazy workings of the Parokyaverse. 

In this grand escapist fantasy, we are shown (and told) of the inherent strength women have. Women are the only ones, apparently, capable of standing up to the unexplainable, all-powerful force in the Parokyaverse—and only women are capable of persisting.

Parokya ni Edgar musical
Felicity Kyle Napuli as Aiza

Overstimulating the senses

As much as the story featured transportations and transformations, the musical arrangements of Yatco, too, transformed the well-loved music of Parokya ni Edgar from the gritty rock we’d hear on the radio or by a street corner in the neighborhood, or blasting from a karaoke several blocks away into fun, magical melodies for the stage. 

The four women leads also make these already relatable songs into more dulcet anthems, their clear voices adding to the depth we can glean from often simple lyrics. But also, it’s just more badass to hear ladies spit bars a la Chito, Kiko, and Gloc.

Ultimately though, “Buruguduystunstugudunstuy” is foremost a musical of high production and entertainment value. It’s one of those shows you can come in with a 2MB brain and still have fun. (Because, as Parokya says, “Don’t think time away, before you know it, the show is ended”—kidding.) It’s a display of so much visual and aural stimuli, and so much Pinoy-coded humor and details, you could really just come in to feast your senses in this new world. 

Parokya ni Edgar musical
The cast and crew of “Buruguduystunstugudunstuy” with Parokya ni Edgar

The thing with this musical is that in the moment, it’s so overstimulating that you’re just stunned and mesmerized by the whole thing. The stage, the costumes, the ensemble work(!!!)—the whole shebang, really—is astonishing. But when the glimmer fades and you’re left to simmer in the regular house lights, you start thinking either “What was that?” or you actually have no thoughts at all—just a mind swimming in the memories of the spectacle you just witnessed.

But, if you fancy to have a little think, there are nuggets to pick up around the Parokyaverse, too. If you look past all the glitz and smoke and mirrors (literally) hard enough.

“Buruguduystunstugudunstuy” runs until June at the Newport Performing Arts Theater. Directed by Dexter M. Santos, written by Rody Vera, musical direction by Ejay Yatco, choreographed by Stephen Viñas, costume design by Raven Ong, scenic design by Lawyn Cruz, lights design by Meliton Roxas, Jr., video design by GA Fallarme and Joyce Garcia. Starring Kyle Napuli, Marynor Madamesila, Natasha Cabrera, Tex Ordoñez-De Leon, Noel Comia Jr., Pepe Herrera, Nicco Manalo, Jasper Jimenez, Boo Gabunada, Jules Dela Paz, MC Dela Cruz, Stephen Viñas, Cara Barredo, Chaye Mogg, Cheska Quimno, Franco Ramos, Iya Villanueva, Francis Gatmaytan, Jep Go, Jim Ferrer, Jillian Ita-as, Julia Serad, Khalil Tambio, Liway Perez, Mark Antony Grantos, Maronne Cruz, Miah Canton, Mikaela Regis, Neo Rivera, Paui Luzuriaga, Ralph Oliva, Red Nuestro, Sarah Facuri, Teetin Villanueva, Karmi Santiago, Albert Silos, Ashlee Factor, Katrine Sunga, Noel Rayos, Ring Antonio, Rofe Villarino, Aixia Mallary.

situs judi online terpercaya slot online tergacor situs slot gacor catur777 slot online idn poker judi bola sbobet slotgacormaxwin game slot online QQLINE88 3mbola catur777 slot gacor 2024 slot gacor maxwin resmi
Agen Situs Pkv Games Terpercaya slot online
Situs Judi Bola Online situs idn poker idn poker
daftar gambar togel
PROBOLA agen daftar situs judi slot online terpercaya dengan games pragmatic play yang sangat populer
situs slot pulsa