By Precious Lee Cundangan
Manila, Philippines, October 1, 2012 - When a four-year-old kid, who has a short attention span, watches his very first children's play, and nicely tells you, "Please be quiet," when you were trying to explain some of the play's scenes and characters to him, it is a good sign that the production may have succeeded to engage its desired age group.
That was exactly what the children in the audience experienced when they watched Kids Acts Philippines' "Peter Pan: A Musical Adventure in Neverland" at Star Theater at Star City Saturday night.
"Peter Pan" is an adaptation of James M. Barrie's classic children's book, featuring book, lyrics, and direction by Luigi Nacario, and music by Eugene Belbis.
The show's flying scenes alone were very impressive because the flight harnesses, expertly fitted to the actors, moved freely around the theater (unlike what we saw in past locally-produced "Peter Pan" productions).
The play was made up of only a few young actors that were obviously well-trained to do multiple roles. Most noticeable among the performers was Carl Guevarra whose rendition of Peter Pan, the boy who wouldn't grow up, was feisty with a tinge of innocence. Gian Gloria (Wendy Darling) showed impressive singing prowess. Hazel Maranan (Tiger Lilly) exuded an alpha female persona that endeared her to her audience.
From the music, to the lyrics of the songs, to the huge, colourful movable cardboard sets, Nacario and Belbis painstakingly ensured that everything on that stage has incorporated
American psychologist Dr. Edward Gardner's "Eight Intelligences for Children's Learning," where youngsters in the audience do not only get to appreciate theater as an art from, but learn from it as well.
The show's music and lyrics were light, fun, whimsical, easy-to-remember, easy-to-sing, and Broadway-ish; the songs were deliberately created to sound Broadway, according to Nacario and Belbis, because "Filipino kids are accustomed to hearing musical and western music."
Nacario and Belbis, I should say, are our very own Jim Eiler and Jean Bargy, renowned creators of children's musicals.
Nacario and Belbis know what type of music to include in a play; they also know how to correctly adapt children's books for the stage without losing their true essence and storyline.
Kids Acts Philippines' "Peter Pan: A Musical Adventure in Neverland" runs until Wednesday, October 3.
For tickets, call (632) 750-1551, (63) 915-447-8959, (63) 919-4338-565 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Tickets are also available at TicketWorld Manila at (632) 891-9999 or visit www.ticketworld.com.ph.
Photos by Kids Acts Philippines