Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Zarzuela 101: A Review of "Walang Sugat" staged by Tanghalang Ateneo at the Henry Lee Irwin Theatre


By Paul Lee

While the sight of live actors performing may still be a common novelty in this age of online and downloadable entertainment; the idea of watching a live zarzuela performance can still prove to be an experience in itself. Otherwise those born long after its heyday couldn’t help but wonder what sort of entertainment our forbearers must have enjoyed before movies and the television let alone downloadable music and YouTube.

For the benefit of the non-Filipino net surfers out there; a zarzuela is basically a one to five-act play with spoken lines complemented by musical numbers popular during the closing years of the 19th century and the early quarter of the 20th century; and for the benefit of today’s generation the zarzuela can best be described as a Hispanic-era version of a Glee and High School Musical. Though the basic plots of the zarzuelas tended to lean towards love stories; they likewise included socio-political themes-cum-commentaries relevant
to the period. However competition from bodabil (vaudeville), radio and cinema displaced it as the premier form of popular entertainment in the Philippines during the American occupation and it was only during the 1970s at a height of national soul-searching that there had been an upsurge of interest in the zarzuela. Since then; the zarzuela has been acknowledged as the country’s own distinct form of theatre.

If there was one particular zarzuela that had withstood the passage of time; it was "Walang Sugat" written by Severino Reyes and composed by Fulgencio Tolentino. Literally Without Wounds, Unscathed or Unscarred; "Walang Sugat" is a play in three acts first released in 1902 and was set during the Philippine Revolution. Though the plot centres on the romantic relationship between Tenyong a rebel commander and Julia; a young woman betrothed by her mother to marry Miguel, a friar’s nephew in an arraigned marriage; the turbulent backdrop of the Philippine struggle for independence provides both the tension and conflict for the play. Not surprisingly the tensions were felt as Julia’s mother opposed her relationship to Tenyong, who joined the revolutionary movement after his father was killed by the Spanish authorities. Eventually Tenyong was wounded in battle and as he lay dying; he made one final request that is to take Julia’s hand in marriage. At the end of the play; Tenyong miraculously recovers from his injuries as he rose from his deathbed otherwise unscathed, hence everybody lives happily ever after and you have the basic idea behind the title. Since then Walang Sugat has been staged several times by many local theatrical groups; the most recent being staged by the Tanghalang Ateneo theatrical group last February 24 to February 28 at the Henry Lee Irwin Theatre as part of its sesquicentennial celebrations. Admittedly it has been a long time since this reviewer has seen a play; nevertheless give the Tanghalang Ateneo under the guidance of Ricardo Abad credit for managing to do more than justice to Reyes’ classic play on love and war complete with a perfect ensemble cast.


While the leads faultlessly complemented their roles as the characters of the young lovers Temyong and Julia to the point of being too flawless; real kudos should go to the supporting cast especially AJ Constantino who essayed the comic role of the loyal sidekick Lucas complete with a slapstick routine worthy of the best of vaudeville. And following the rule of the foil being the more interesting character than the lead there was Zuriel Valbuena as Miguel essaying the otherwise ineffectual romantic foil of Temyong. Not surprisingly each act is climaxed with the seminal alternate national anthem, "Bayan Ko" which may be ouvre in its desire to infuse nationalism in the audience but this may be what the author had in mind when he first penned the play over a century ago. In that case; the themes of Walang Sugat may have transcended time and succeed in striking a chord with today’s audience.


(Paul Lee is a freelance writer based in Loyola Heights, Q.C. An Ateneo graduate, he is currently finishing his master's in creative writing at U.P. Diliman).

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10 Comments:

At June 19, 2010 at 3:04 PM , Anonymous paul de guzman said...

meron pu ba kayong boud o scrip ng walang sugat kailangan ko lang pra sa dula namin...kung meron po paki send po sa e-mail ko (grrol_47@yahoo.com) ... thanks....

 
At June 19, 2010 at 9:04 PM , Blogger Diliman Diary said...

Hello there. Here is some advice from our writer, Paul Lee: "I think you can get in touch with Tanghalang Ateneo for the script."

Best regards,

The Editor

 
At June 19, 2010 at 10:39 PM , Anonymous paul de guzman said...

thank you po...

 
At June 20, 2010 at 6:05 AM , Blogger Diliman Diary said...

Hello there.

You are welcome!


Best regards,

The Editor

 
At August 1, 2010 at 4:01 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

May buod po ba kau ng "walang sugat" by Severino Reyes? kung meron po, pde po pasend po sa e-mail ko: love_kat03@yahoo.com

thanks po^^

 
At February 21, 2011 at 5:43 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

meron po ba kayong buod ng walang sugat ni severino reyes kasi po kailangan namin sa pakitang turo sa panitikan
pwede paki send sa e-mail ko: raine.net05@yahoo.com.

 
At July 21, 2011 at 9:52 PM , Anonymous marvin said...

pki send namn po sa email ko yung script ng walang sugat ni severino reyes :]] tiredboywun@ymail.com pllss kailangan lang namen ! khit tagpo 4 hanggang 10 alng po

 
At January 8, 2012 at 10:53 AM , Blogger mixzeve33 said...

pwede po bang pakisend rin po sa email ko (evonne_29@yahoo.com)ung full script po ng walang sugat used by tanghalang ateneo, please po. thank you po in advance . god bless ^_^

 
At March 1, 2012 at 12:17 AM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

MERON PO BA KAYONG SKRIP NG "WALANG SUGAT" PLS PENGE NAMAN PO MAGTATANGHAL LANG PO KAMI SA SCHOOL KUNG MERON PO

TXT NIO LAMANG PO AKO
09289551732

AT SA FACEBOOK PO
JHEMTOT FORTASILVA

 
At August 10, 2012 at 6:00 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

KUNG MERON PO KAYONG SUMMARIZATION NA PO NG SCRIPT NG WALANG SUGAT PAKI MAIL NA LANG PO gchrome221@yahoo.com..

SALAMAT PO!

 

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