‘Bluebird’: The pursuit of happiness

Rome Jorge
The play is an education in happiness, sugarcoated in music and mirth

KIDS HOLD THE KEY. Anton Posadas as Tyltyl and Alessa Zialcita as Mytyl. All photos courtesy of Trumpets

MANILA, Philippines – The simple life is history. More than ever, there’s more to want for children, from the latest must-have gadgets to the fashion fads kids can’t be seen without. Shopping malls, where any joy comes at a price, have replaced public parks and free green spaces.

Parents, too busy working, leave their kids in front of televisions that bombard them with advertisements for junk food and cartoons developed specifically to peddle toys and merchandise. Decades of such upbringing has already produced a generation of boys who never grew up to be men, still collecting superhero figurines and comic books, even as they become dads.

With so much to want, so many more are in misery — for not having, for having no other time but for acquiring and for not knowing what they truly want.

In these sour times, what is needed is an education in happiness, sugarcoated in music and mirth. Trumpets, the acclaimed Christian Gospel theater group, is back with another wholesome family oriented musical. Best known for having brought to life for local audiences well-loved stories such as “The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe”; “Joseph the Dreamer”; and “Little Mermaid”; and for casting famous celebrities such as Gary Valenciano, Karylle, Christian Bautista and Sam Concepcion in their plays, Trumpets presents “The Bluebird of Happiness” with equal fan fair.

The show is set to run at the Meralco Theater from September 27 to October 20.

THE LANTERN. Carla Guevarra-Laforteza is Light

Authored by belgian Maurice Maeterlinck in 1908, “The Bluebird of Happiness” tells the story of how sister and brother Mytyl and Tyltyl are sent on a quest by the fairy Beryluneto in search for the Bluebird of Happiness. The fairy magically transforms their dog Tylo, cat Tylette and a lantern [Light] into persons to help them in their quest.

The children must journey through the Land of Memory to the Palace of Night to search for the magical Bluebird.

Playing the main characters Mytyl and Tyltyl are child actresses Alessa Zialcita and Chimmi Kohchet-Chua, and child actors Anton Posadas and Guido Gatmaytan, respectively. Trumpets bolsters these child actors by casting highly-regarded and well-loved thespians such as:

  • Lynn Sherman as Tylette the cat 
  • Robie Zialcita as Tylo the dog
  • Jennifer Villegas-dela Cruz as the fairy Berylune
  • Joel Trinidad as Night 
  • Carla Guevarra-Laforteza as Light
  • Joy Virata and Steve Cadd as Grandma Tyl and Grandpa Tyl
  • Raymund Concepcion as Father Time
  • Mayen Bustamante-Cadd as Mama Tyl

A huge production, the cast includes some 50 actors.

Jaime del Mundo writes the libretto and lyrics while Rony Fortich provides original music to create an original musical based on Maeterlinck’s work. Its opening on September 27 is nothing less than a world premier.

FAMILY. Joy Virata is Grandma Tyl and Steve Cadd is Grandpa Tyl

A story for today’s generation

Del Mundo reveals that he has updated the story, simplifying it with today’s generation in mind. He explains, “It is a very old play. It is 5 acts long and there are a million characters and it is rather episodic. The original Bluebird play is one of the most famous symbolic plays of its time. So a lot of the heavy handed symbolism has been taken away.

“In the original play, the two children not only had to deal with the dog, the cat and Light, they also had to deal with Fire, Water, Bread, Sugar and a lot more symbolic characters. It was great during that era, but it just muddied up the piece.

“We thought that the storyline needed some adjustments to make it palatable to the action-oriented audiences of today. In the original play, Night and the Cat are not so villainous. But we felt it would be interesting to put the children in danger. We also decided to give them a time limit to their quest. They had to find the Bluebird by dawn to make it more exciting,” he says.

THE DARK SIDE. Joel Trinidad is Night

“It’s filled with entertaining songs,” adds acclaimed stage veteran Audie Gemora, who presented vignettes of the musical to members of the press. True enough, each presentation was a gem guaranteed to entertain audiences.

The presentation also previewed the costumes to be worn, which were elaborate and endearing. Most amusing were the villains Sherman and Trinidad, who performed their characters with gusto and flourish.

Founded upon a beloved literary classic, interpreted veterans, and performed by young talents, “The Bluebird of Happiness” promises bliss to audiences of all ages. – Rappler.com

For ticket information, call 901-4364, 891-9999 or visit www.ticketworld.com.ph.

Rome Jorge is the editor in chief of Asian Traveler magazine.

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