I've seen Facebook posts on ads that Rent would be restaged again, this time in Rockwell. I really had a good experience with Rent working with them last February, so I got all excited to watching the show again. Although I'm not in the crew this time, I'm glad that at least I get to see the play, watching it instead of backstage with the audience and of course, giving these guys moral support. So when I got invited to watch RENT, I answered with a big, fat, enthusiastic YES!
Rent is a story that's close to my heart. It's a story about passion, love, struggling, and happiness where anyone could relate, whatever age, social status, or sexual orientation you have. I love a show that really talks to everyone. I admit having the guilty pleasure of actually considering of trying out for the cast but decided against it when I needed a bit more immersion to sharpen the hibernating acting chops. It's the type of story that you would love to take part in. It's so cool too that it was also staged on December, since Rent's first scene was set during Christmas time (let's hear Mark Cohen sing now, "December 24th 9 p.m., Eastern Standard Time").
This run is currently staged in Rockwell Cinema 2 (yes! a stage play inside a cinema house!). The challenge of the production was to convert a set that was set on a relatively bigger stage to a smaller performance space. The set was impressive though, although there were minor adjustments too like with blocking and changing choreograp
hy . But as director Robbie Guevarra said, "It was a challenge and I love challenges."
With only 2-1/2 weeks to rehearse, cast members worked twice as hard prior to opening night to master their lines, songs, and dances. Aside from the old cast we fell in love with last February, this December's run also had newer additions to the Rent family:
mian Dimacali portrays the role of Maureen Johnson, the performance artist ex-girlfriend of Mark Cohen who dumped him for a lawyer named Joanne (played by Jenny Villegas).
As Gian Magdangal returns as Roger, his real-life love Sheree takes on the role of Mimi. Mimi would be notable for her solo, Out Tonight. Despite the fact that Mimi's character is HIV positive, she doesn't stop herself from loving and living. They were really cute onstage during Press Preview, with the cat-and-mouse flirting of Lig
ht my Candle Number.
Bohemian-turned-yuppie Benny is played by theater veteran Lorenz Martinez. Benny's character used to be roommates and friends with Mark and Roger, two of the main characters before he marries a rich woman, buys the building Mark and Roger stays and constantly torments them with paying up the rent.
I'm glad AJ Bautista and OJ Mariano reprised their roles as Angel and Collins. Every Renthead would agree with me that although Angel and Collins were both male, they were the perfect example of love. I got all kilig during I'll Cover You's lyrics:
"I think they meant it when they said you can't buy love. Now I know you can rent it a new lease you are my love on life, be my life."
"Just slip me on I'll be your blanket. Whenever whatever, I'll be your coat."
I love the song since speaks compromise and equality instead of wimpy and submissive love songs. The melody's also happy but it's a song that definitely touches the heart. In contrast, its reprise, sung during Angel's funeral would bring you to tears with a slower tempo. Angel and Collins were both poor with AIDS yet they never gave up on each other. Collins was at Angel's side from the time Angel took care of him when he got mugged up to the time it was Collins' turn to take care of Angel when he got weak. If this isn't a perfect example of love I don't know what is.
It was quite different though watching it in the audience, but it was quite refreshing as well since I got to see the show from a different angle. It was a great show despite adjustments with the new venue and only 2-1/2 weeks or so of rehearsal, press preview was really great and I had fun during the entire show, also a bit nostalgic remembering how it was backstage as well. Of course there were little boo-boos like problems with the sound, but these things are forgiveable since of course this was the first performance in a different venue. But still, the cast and crew did a very remarkable job with the show and able to get the message across. 9works took on their challenge this time, and always in every performance, Best Show Ever! :)
Catch RENT for a limited run of 8 performances at Power Plant Cinema 2 from December 8, 9, 10, 11, 12 (8 PM), December 10 (3:30 PM), 11 (4 PM), and 12 (4:30 PM) Tickets are available at the Power Plant Cinema ticket booth. Call 8981440 or 8981441 or 09088692988.