Year 2!
Daisypath Ticker

Wednesday, September 21, 2005
Un Anglais
My bedside companion for the moment. This is why I love reading.

Excerpts from:
The Mother Tongue (English & How It Got That Way)
by Bill Bryson

Chapter One. The World's Language

More than 300 million people in the world speak English and the rest, it sometimes seems, try to. It would be charitable to say that the results are sometimes mixed.

Consider this hearty announcement in a Yugoslavian hotel: "The flattening of underwear with pleasure is the job of the chambermaid. Turn to her straightaway." Or this warning to motorists in Tokyo: "When a passenger of the foot heave in sight, tootle the horn. Trumpet at him melodiously at first, but if he still obstacles your passage, then tootle him with vigor." Or these instructions gracing a packet of convenience food from Italy: "Besmear a backing pan, previously buttered with a good tomato sauce, and, after, dispose the cannelloni, lightly distanced between them in a only couch."

Clearly the writer of that message was not about to let a little ignorance of English stand in the way of a good meal. In fact, it would appear that one of the beauties of the English language is that with even the most tenuous grasp you can speak volumes if you show enough enthusiasm---a willingness to tootle with vigor, as it were.

To be fair, English is full of booby traps for unwary foreigners. Any language where the unassuming word fly signifies an annoying insect, a means of travel, and a critical part of a gentleman's apparel is clearly asking to be mangled. Imagine being a foreigner and having to learn that in English one tells a lie but the truth, that a person who says "I could care less" means the same thing as someone who says "I couldn't care less," that a sign in a store saying ALL ITEMS NOT ON SALE doesn't mean literally what it says (that every item is not on sale) but rather that only some of the items are on sale, that when a person says to you, "How do you do?" he will be taken aback if you reply, with impeccable logic, "How do I do what?"


But perhaps the single most notable characteristic of English---for better and worse---is its deceptive complexity. Nothing in English is ever quite what it seems. Take the simple word what. We use it everyday---indeed, every few sentences. But imagine trying to explain it to a foreigner what what means. It takes the Oxford English Dictionary five pages and almost 15,000 words to manage the task. As native speakers, we seldom stop to think just how complicated and illogical English is. Every day we use countless words and expressions without thinking about them---often without having the faintest idea what they really describe or signify. What, for instance, is the hem in hem and haw, the shrift in short shrift, the fell in one fell swoop? When you are overwhelmed, where is the whelm that you are over, and what exactly does it look like? And why, come to that, can we be overwhelmed or underwhelmed, but not semiwhelmed or---if our feelings are less pronounced---just whelmed? Why do we say colonel as if it had an r in it? Why do we spell four with a u and forty without?

Answering these and other such questions is the main purpose of this book. But we start with perhaps the most enduring and mysterious question of all: Where does language come from in the first place?

posted by The White Rabbit at 8:48 AM | Permalink | 2 Speak Up!
Sunday, September 18, 2005
Mic Traffic
Woke up to a beautiful morning that has now been marred by an excruciating karaoke fiend who's been let loose from his cage a few floors above me. "It" is now belting out "Be My Lady" at the top of its lungs, zapping my brain cells, and rendering me more and more catatonic with every passing second. My poor, pitch-sensitive ears cannot take any more of this. There should be a law!

Now I'm being treated to a Visayan-accented version of "Copacobana"...yes, well, that makes it so much better.....!

If I try very hard, I can force my mind to focus on the wonderful events of last night. Our 11th show of "Footloose" went off with nary a hitch and with such relentless exuberance that the smiles on our faces at curtain call were off the wattage meters. The show has never been better, and the audience let us know it with such generous gusto. Rony was in the audience--maybe that had something to do with it! Haha. He's home for the weekend, really just to see his friends' shows (the all-male cast of Taming of the Shrew, the vacuum-packed version of Little Mermaid, and definitely, our very own Fast Times at Bomont High...a.k.a Footloose!), and of course, to steal some precious moments with his Bubu. Monday morning he will be flying back to the "happiest place on earth", this side of the equator. Although at the moment, that label is debatable. It can get pretty happy over here, too, when your show is a hit and you're surrounded by a truly joyous bunch of crazy actors. It can't get any better than this.

I now close this entry to the passionate, if Ginebra-soaked strains of "Even Now". Even you, Rony, would want to strangle Barry Manilow now and wrap him tightly around a cactus tree. I'm not kidding.
posted by The White Rabbit at 9:03 AM | Permalink | 2 Speak Up!
Tuesday, September 13, 2005
Top Billing
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Wow check this out! Rein is now officially a Nuyda! Hehe. Who needs signed documents when his name now appears on the official family birthday cake for our numerous September celebrants? With no less than top billing! That, to me, is more legally binding. Haha. Thanks to my sisters and brothers, of course, who have warmly embraced their new "sibling". Now all we need is a wedding cake....

posted by The White Rabbit at 3:23 PM | Permalink | 2 Speak Up!
Young Again
Real people's reviews. Very heartening. Now, these are the people we love performing for! God bless them for just sitting back and enjoying every minute.

Clickthe reviews:
September 12, 2005

Cut (foot)loose to feel young

The year that “Footloose” came out on film was the same year I came out of my mother's womb (unless it's true, the story my folks used to always tell me that they just found and picked me up from a dump). It starred Kevin Bacon, who shot to iconic status after that although he had a double for the dance scenes. For the staging of “Footloose the Musical” here, the main performers didn’t need doubles. They may have understudies, but these alternates are what you call triple threats--they can do three things well in equal measures such as dance, sing and act.Now if you get two triple threats, what do you get? Double trouble. (My math has always been poor, but I get this equation.) And trouble comes in the form of the country's R&B prince Jay-R and TV personality Iya Villania, who as threatrical greenhorns make smashing debuts in the 80s-inspired musical.

In "Footloose," the two are seen as troublemakers: he strives to repeal a decree and she repels her father.Ren McCormack encourages dancing which is actually against the law in the churchgoing town of Bomont. This was decreed by the church minister, Reverend Shaw Moore, who wields the kind of power everyone submits to--except his daughter, Ariel.

The girl gets around, says one song; she has been kissed a lot and she sneaks out beyond curfew. In a small town like Bomont, anyone who runs with the motorbike crowd and flirts with the bad boy is fodder for gossip. Needless to say, Ariel is one popular girl. This may be why she gets naturally drawn to the newcomer in town, Ren McCormack, who also craves the limelight. The attraction later proves deeper than hots at first sight. They find out they have more in common: an absent father, a loss in the family, an unquenchable thirst for little freedoms that youth should afford.

Ren, bringing change with him, is unpopular at first (change always meets resistance) but when the other youths see things from his perspective, he becomes their champion. And their cause? Just for the decree to be lifted and they could dance to their hearts’--or feet’s--content. Why, even King David and other Bible characters did it, Ren argues in one of the town council meetings. The council is closed-minded, however, and sticks to their principle of upholding the decree in memory of an unfortunate accident: when four kids veered off the highway to their deaths on their way from a dance on the other town. And one of the kids just happened to be the reverend’s favorite son. Iya Villania isn’t a revelation--not because she wasn’t fetching, but because I already heard proof that she can work her pipes, albeit from a segment on the Myx channel where she belts out that Aegis song with the lines Ang halik mo/namimiss ko/bakit iniwan mo ako…. This isn’t to suggest she is less of a performer than she actually is. Her feet just need to be a little looser, but Iya sings with heart. She proves in this musical that she can render songs into a classier level. “Almost Paradise” certainly doesn’t sound like a jukebox feature anymore.

Jay-R is no doubt the star of the show. With a commanding height, a restless spring to his step, and a smart-alecky ‘tude, he easily gets into the role of a city boy displaced in a stiff small town. And as what have come to be expected of him, his moves make you feel light and his voice even lighter. The grownups are a superb support: Audie Gemora (the executive producer) gets under your skin as the immovable minister who later makes a piercing confession (sings it, actually, in “I Confess”); Agot Isidro, she whose singing sounds richer in theater, is winning as the submissive wife and understanding mother; and you’d wanna hug Carla Martinez for being Ren’s supportive mother.

The soundtrack goes for nostalgia for those familiar with the 80s hits “Let’s Hear It for the Boy,” “Holding Out for a Hero,” and “Dancing in the Streets,” besides “Almost Paradise” and the title song. Even for those vaguely familiar with these songs--like me--can’t help but sing along to the catchy beats. As I emerged from the Meralco Theater (yes, in that main Meralco building that would be concave should it fall on its face along Ortigas Avenue where it stands) last Saturday, I detected a little yearning for my early years in that era of pencil-cut jeans, tops in a mishmash of colors still reeling from the 70s’ psychedelic, and perms. But most of all the music--which someone was insisting to me before was the best. Now you know about an alternative to age-defying creams and other goo: watching “Footloose” to feel young again! If you aren't anymore, that is.
posted by The White Rabbit at 9:06 AM | Permalink | 2 Speak Up!
Monday, September 12, 2005
Abante Mga Kababayan!
Now THIS is a review worth posting! Haha...hilariously honest views from no less than an Abante writer! Take note of the Beauty & the Beast comparisons. Hahaha...Thanks again Oliver!

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JayR, swak na swak sa 'Footloose'

Hindi kami inantok kahit hapon ang press invitational ng Footloose the Musical nu’ng Sabado sa Meralco Theater dahil buhay na buhay ang mga production numbers nito at walang nakabubugnot na eksena.

Ang ganda ng direction ni Chari Arespacochaga at nag-shine ang buong cast ng dance musical, hindi lang ang mga bidang sina JayR at Iya Villania.

Hango sa 1983 hit movie at Broadway musical na Footloose, kuwento ito ng city boy na si Ren McCormack (JayR) na mula sa Chicago ay napilitang lumipat sa munting bayan ng Bomont kasama ang kanyang ina nang iwan sila ng kanyang ama.

Pagdating doon ay agad niyang nakabangga ang istriktong local minister na si Reverend Shaw Moore (Audie Gemora) na mahigpit na ipinagbabawal ang anumang kasiyahan sa kanilang komunidad lalo na ang pagsasayaw.

Ang tanging kumokontra kay Rev. Moore ay ang rebelde niyang anak na si Ariel (Iya Villania) na kapagkuwan ay napaibig kay Ren.

Kasama ang kanilang mga kaibigan na naghahanap din ng kalayaan ay pinatunayan nila sa buong bayan na walang masama sa pagsasayaw at sa bandang huli ay naibalik nila ang saya at sigla ng kanilang munting bayan.

Swak na swak kay JayR ang role niya sa musical dahil sa totoong buhay isa rin siyang balikbayan mula Amerika na piniling manirahan dito sa ‘Pinas.

Ang lakas ng stage presence ni JayR at nadala niya ang kanyang distinct R&B style kaya nagkaroon ng bagong buhay at interpretasyon ang kanyang role.

Effortless ang kanyang dance moves at napakakomportable niya sa stage kaya hindi mo iisiping ito ang theater debut ng R&B Prince.

Hindi rin mukhang first timer si Iya Villania na bukod sa malakas ang dating ay ang ganda ng boses (magkakaroon na siya ng abum sa Regal Records).

Hindi typical goody-goody girl ang karakter niyang si Ariel at ipinakita pang nakikipagharutan siya sa mga lalake at panay ang halikan nila ng bad boy BF niya at town bully na si Chuck Cranston (Jonard Yanzon).

Type na type namin ang duet nina JayR at Iya ng love theme ng Footloose na Almost Paradise na inawit nila habang kunwari ay nasa ilalim sila ng tulay na secret hideaway ni Ariel.

Okey rin ang version ni Iya ng isa pang hit song from Footloose na Holding Out For A Hero.

Hindi na nakagugulat ang galing ng mga beterano ng teatro na sina Audie Gemora at Carla Martinez (ina ni Ren na si Ethel McCormack).

Kahit nakapikit ay kaya nilang gawin ito pero mararamdaman mo ang puso ng karakter nila bilang mga magulang na pilit inuunawa ang kanilang mga anak.

Na-touch kami sa karakter ni Agot Isidro-Sandejas bilang matiising asawa at ina na si Mrs. Vi Moore.

Makabagbag-damdamin ang solo number niya na Can You Find It In Your Heart. Ang ganda ng pagkakaawit dito ni Agot at in fairness ay bumagay sa kanya ang mother role kahit wala pa siyang anak in real life.

Nakatutuwa rin ang buong ensemble lalo na ang tatlong girls na kaibigan ni Ariel na sina Rusty, Urleen at Wendy Jo na ginampanan nina Caisa Borromeo, Kyla Rivera at Nikki Valdez respectively.

Ang galing ng kanilang trio, lalo na si Nikki na kuwela bilang girl na hindi lapitin ng boys. First time ding mag-teatro ni Nikki.

Ang pinakagusto naming karakter ay ang sobrang aliw na bespren ni Ren na si Willard Hewitt na ginampanan ni Giancarlo Magdangal.

Agaw-eksena ang tatanga-tangang si Will at pasok na pasok ang mga punchline niya.

Ang lakas ng tawa namin nung tanungin siya ni Ren kung anong ‘idea of fun’ ng mga lalake sa Bomont at sumagot si Will na nagmumuwestra sa kanyang kamay na tipong ‘nagbabayo’ (o nagma-masturbate)!

Dedicated sa parehong kaliwa ang paa at mama’s boy niyang karakter ang dance number na Let’s Hear It For The Boy at ang cute song number niyang Mama Says. Standout si Giancarlo dahil siya ang pinakamatangkad sa cast at siya lang ang palaging nakasuot ng cowboy hat.

Dating miyembro ng vocal group na 17:28 si Gian at ngayon ay may sarili na siyang banda na kung tawagin ay Industria. Siguradong super-proud kay Gian ang girlfriend niyang si Aiza Marquez.

Ang nobyo ni Aiko Melendez na si Jonard Yanzon ang ka-alternate ni JayR sa papel ng bidang si Ren.

Kung sa Beauty and the Beast ng Atlantis Productions ay inantuk-antok kami, dito sa Footlose ng Stages ay gising na gising ang diwa namin at gusto naming makikanta’t makisayaw.

Maaari n’yo pang mapanood ang Footloose the Musical sa Meralco Theatre sa Setyembre 16, 17, 23 at 24 (8:00 PM) at Setyembre 17, 18, 24 at 24 (3:00 PM).
posted by The White Rabbit at 5:22 PM | Permalink | 3 Speak Up!
Frisky blast from the past
Jay-R acquits himself admirably in 'Footloose'

First posted 08:44pm (Mla time)
Sept 11, 2005
By Gibbs Cadiz
Inquirer News Service

Editor's Note: Published on page D1 of the September 12, 2005 issue of the Philippine Daily Inquirer.

ONE ALMOST FEELS BAD trying to form objective thoughts about a musical as innocuous and eager to please as "Footloose," the stage incarnation of the cult 1984 film that starred a young Kevin Bacon in high-waisted baston pants and frizzy hairdo. That blast from the past, quite a humdrum film but a guilty pleasure nonetheless, has acquired a warm nimbus of nostalgia around it, thanks no doubt to the affectionate way that crazy, neon-colored era is remembered by its now thirtysomething denizens.


So here comes "Footloose" some 20 years later, retooled as a toe-tapping Broadway musical with Kenny Loggins' propulsive soundtrack serving as the matrix on which the show's story of teenage rebellion and unbridled dancing is pegged. Should we be happy enough that a linchpin film of our zit-filled, espadrille-clad adolescence has been thought good enough for translation to musical theater? Or should we dread the potential for travesty and idiotization, the same fate suffered by, among other musical film-to-stage casualties, "Singing in the Rain," "Seven Brides for Seven Brothers," "Beauty and the Beast," "Fame" and "Saturday Night Fever?"

When it opened on Broadway in 1998, with additional music by Tom Snow and libretto by Dean Pitchford based on his screenplay, "Footloose" was thoroughly whipped by the critics, led by Ben Brantley of the New York Times who called it a "flavorless marshmallow of a musical."

Either Brantley is an unreconstructed sourpuss, or we Filipinos are really better at singing and dancing, because the local production mounted by Stages, currently running at the Meralco Theater, is a frisky, amiable show that may still be a marshmallow, but one flavored with enough sugar to keep you on a high.

Cheery narrative

The material lends itself well to musical theater. First off, its Capra-lite story, about a restless city boy named Ren McCormack who relocates with his mother to a stuck-up Midwest town and roils the place with his free-spirited ways, fits right in with the cheery narrative landscapes most Broadway musicals traffic in.

Revolts against silly rigidity are a story arc present in so many other movies, from "Pleasantville" to "Chocolat." But it's only in "Footloose" where our hero gets to break-dance his frustrations away. (There's a more recent one, "Billy Elliot," and now it's a smash musical in London.) The clincher is the movie's chart-topping soundtrack. Hits like "Let's Hear It For the Boy," "Almost Paradise," "Holding Out For a Hero," "Dancing in the Streets" and the title song have become hidebound '80s emblems. But hearing them blasting from the stage, reorchestrated and given new contexts, is oftentimes to experience the delight of seeing something dated made fresh.


A good example is "The Girl Gets Around," sung by Sammy Hagar in the movie soundtrack. In the film, it underlines a sequence showing the headstrong preacher's daughter, Ariel (Lori Singer in the film, Iya Villania in this show), playing a dangerous prank with the town lowlife, Cranston, while their trucks hurtle down a dirt road. Here, Cranston sings it as both an explanation and a boast, a declaration of his pride at being this girl's pick against everyone else's wishes. And as bellowed by Felix Rivera (great voice), the transition is seamless.

Similar magic happens with "Almost Paradise," a song that was for the '80s what "Broken Vow" is to today. With an updated arrangement that wisely ditches the tinny sound of synthesizers, and sung as a ballad of romantic acknowledgment rather than as a full-throttle derby piece, the song successfully transcends its kitschy roots. It also allows Jay-R, playing Ren opposite Villania's Ariel, to show off his pliable pipes by mixing Broadway-style singing with the dips and curls of R&B vocalizing.


Jonard Yanzon headlined "Footloose" in its first week, and Jay-R takes over for the rest of the four-week run, with the former sliding over to the role of Cranston. How do they compare?Ren's transformation from bad boy to firebrand requires a performer of edgy charisma. After all, this new kid galvanizes an entire community to renounce the sanctimonious swill-- that dancing and rock n' roll are the harbingers of drugs and depravity-- that the Rev. Moore has been dishing out for years. In this sense, Kevin Bacon was perfectly cast in the movie. Even in stillness, the actor radiated a coiled, smoldering presence-- a trait absent in Yanzon. Not that he doesn't try his damn best. Yanzon is a sensitive actor and a powerful singer-- certainly one of the best voices in the business today. But there's no way to go around this: He looks paunchy on stage. That extra flab makes him appear shorter than he is, and coupled with an unself-conscious stoop, the image he creates is altogether ordinary and never heroic. A genial chap, certainly, but not a leader. Tellingly, as Cranston, he is more in command, and thrice as interesting.


Jay-R, however, is a masterstroke in casting. The pop star is tall and well-built, charismatic without even trying, and best of all, unfakably hip. On his first day in school, Ren is described as a "smartass." One look at Jay-R's urban, slacker-dude bearing and that adjective comes alive --not exactly negatively. His abilities seem remarkably well-placed. He acts intuitively, and is a supple singer. There is a spring in his walk and rhythm in his talk. When he explodes into rap (in "Dancing is Not a Crime"), or does the vigorous, athletic choreography (by Rene Sagaran and James Laforteza of the Manouevers), he wraps the stage around him-- the mark of a major talent.

Lively romp

Villania, unfortunately, is on the same boat as Yanzon. She warbles competently and looks fetching from all angles. But she is simply too chic and citified, even in hillbilly garments, to come across as a redneck lass, though she throws herself ardently into the role. That same giddy energy permeates the mostly young cast, who twirl and shimmy and belt out their songs with sweet abandon. Chari Arespacochaga's direction of this lively romp is sleek and classy--too sleek, in fact, that the show comes close to being much too sanitized for its own good. The story's scrappy edges have been largely sanded off (reflected in Mio Infante's efficient but cold-looking set), and what's left is an unyielding sense of razzle-dazzle in General-Patronage form. That's not bad in itself. Still, when juxtaposed against the show's surviving adult sequences (Ariel's bump-and-grind tryst in the wharf with Cranston, for instance, or Rev. Moore's arguments with his wife Vi touching on marital discontent), the tension between the material's gritty undertow and its more antiseptic stage ambitions can be quite startling.


Among the "grownups," Audie Gemora as the Reverend and Agot Isidro as Vi are standouts. It's a measure of Gemora's skills that his doctrinaire character becomes the show's most human figure, with an 11 o'clock soliloquy, "I Confess," that is a true emotional cliffhanger. "Footloose" is only Isidro's third stage outing (she was a revelation in "Baby"), but already she is proving to be a gift. Her duet with Carla Martinez, who plays Ren's mother, is a beautifully sung lament about womanly patience and regret. The erstwhile pop singer's voice has grown richer, and she delivers her lines, few as they are, with depth and grace. The kids in the audience, of course, would hardly care. "Footloose" is marketed as family entertainment, so jittery tykes can be forgiven when they loll about in their seats every time the Reverend and his wife launch into one of their chilly spats. Good thing there's more than enough dancing and singing in this show to distract them from grownup woes. For 2 1/2 hours at least, "Footloose" and its merry band make a good case for cutting loose and having fun. Time to dust off those espadrilles. "Footloose" runs until Sept. 25 at the Meralco Theater. Call 8919999, 6354478, 6317252 or visit
posted by The White Rabbit at 8:24 AM | Permalink | 2 Speak Up!
Sunday, September 04, 2005
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Aaaaaaah...our opening weekend is almost over! Everyone is having a great time and we've actually got a pretty good show! Last night has been the best so far. Audiences have been responding well, laughing at all the right places and cheering along in the high energy moments of the story. Like it says in the Book of Ecclesiastes, there's a time for everything, and now is the time to just let our hair down and have fun with this show.

Chari has really helmed this ship well, inspite of some pretty rough seas that production had to sail through, and the enthusiasm you feel from the cast is genuinely infectious. I, personally, derive a bubbling kind of joy from seeing how excited and happy the first-timers are. Hansen Nichols, our extremely boyish Cowboy Bob, tells me at every opportunity--even while onstage in the middle of the show! (haha!)--how the whole thing is just SO much fun and how he now understands why "YOU theater people" love this life so much! I gotta remind him that he is now officially "theater people" too! May our tribe increase!

Jonard (Yanzon), by the way, is EXCELLENT. I am so proud of him. I truly wish he had more shows as Ren. Today will be his last. He will re-emerge as town baddie Chuck Cranston starting next weekend, and I have no doubt he will ace that role, too.

Cut loose one of these weekends and drop by Meralco! See you at the theater!
posted by The White Rabbit at 7:43 AM | Permalink | 2 Speak Up!