FIVE seasons and 300 shows since it first opened in 2013, Rak of Aegis returns to the stage when Philippine Educational Theater Association (PETA) presents the latest iteration on June 20 to Sept. 2.
“It will still remain relevant because lagi namang may baha sa Maynila [there is perpetual flooding in Manila], said Lisa Magtoto, the playwright of the musical which features the songs of the pop band Aegis.
“Relevant pa din ang theme niya (It’s theme is still relevant). Besides, it is not only about being resilient or about the flood, kundi pagtatanong kung bakit ganito pa din tayo (but it also asks why are we still in the same state).”
The rerun aims to reach new audiences who have yet to watch the musical that highlights Aegis’ karaoke-friendly playlist, including “Luha,” “Basang Basa sa Ulan,” and “Halik,” which were rearranged for the musical by its music director, arranger, and vocal director Myke Salomon.
“Generally, Rak of Aegis is still the same, but the composition of leads will give you new flavors,” said director Maribel Legarda.
Joining the other denizens in the sinking town of Venezia are the nine fresh faces who won in PETA’s Hu Got Talent contest.
The nine winners are theater newbies Shaira Opsimar and Princess Vire (who will alternate in the lead role of Aileen); Kent Pontiverda (Tolits), Adrian Lindayag (Jewel), Remus Villanueva (Kenny), and Marielle Mamaclay, Gil Aguedan, Matel Patayon, and Crystal Paras (ensemble).
Original cast members who will reprise their roles in this rerun include Kim Molina, Pepe Herrara, Jerald Napoles, Isay Alvarez-Seña, Robert Seña, Sweet Plantado-Tiongson, Shiela Valderrama-Martinez, Lorenz Martinez, Kakai Bautista, Juliene Mendoza, Gab Pangilinan, Abi Sulit, and Teetin Villanueva.
Ms. Legarda said this might be the last run of Rak of Aegis, and the goal of the Hu Got Talent tilt was to mine new talents who, like the musical’s lead character Aileen, wanted to be discovered.
“I guess this year, we thought about the Hu Got Talent because of Rak’s sixth season, and maybe on, probably, its last. We want to go back to the premise of Aileen: a no one who wants to be someone. She’s a simple girl who wants to use her art and her voice to find her place in the world,” said Ms. Legarda.
Rak of Aegis, an original Pinoy musical, tells the story of the people in Barangay Venezia, which is submerged in flood waters. For Aileen, there is one way to escape her community’s misery: become a YouTube sensation, be discovered internationally, and turn that fame into money. And she does it. Soon, a concert at Venezia is at the pipeline. But just as everyone is getting ready for the concert-in-the-flood, the waters suddenly subside. Absurdly, the people want the flood back.
Ms. Legarda attributes the success of the musical to its iconic songs, talented cast, and social context of Rak of Aegis.
“We chose an important band, that apparently, so many people across all social classes and ages are familiar with. Then, the story is about a community in floodwaters, which became relevant. In times of crisis, Rak teaches people about the power of resilience and love,” said Ms. Legarda.
Rak of Aegis will have performances at the PETA Theater Center at No. 5 Eymard Drive, New Manila, Quezon City from June 20 to Sept. 2. Tickets are available through TicketWorld (891-9999, www.ticketworld.com.ph). — Nickky Faustine P. de Guzman