Honestly, I have a liking for musicals. Given the right blend of songs, the performance, and of course, the story. Watching “Ang Huling El Bimbo,” brought me back to the nostalgia of my youth, in my High School days when we performed our school’s musical play, “Just Teen”. I could sense how these people have been totally attached to their characters and co-actors. I could imagine how fun it is while doing the play. And how hard it is to let go of the characters and the relationships developed along the way until it ended. Rehearsals alone are fun and exciting. Especially when all your co-actors are fun to be with and enthusiastic. There will be no boring days and I saw that from those actors.
I wouldn’t divulge on the technical aspects of the play because it’s not my line. But I’ll throw in what I thought about the song choices. I wouldn’t go for specifics, but what I will point out in this review is its overall outcome, my thoughts, and the story of the musical. I felt compelled to write a review, for such creativity as this musical play.
Love. Freedom. Betrayal. False Hope. Broken Dream. Our primordial thought.
We were all once a child. We all at one point had that rich mind full of dreams and ambitions. Going back, did you imagine yourself fulfilling that degree you were aiming at that time? Or the job you thought was cool and practical that made you decide your chosen career path today? Maybe it was triggered by your youthful passions and naivety. Now, have you accomplished it?
Joy, Hector, Anthony, and Emman are just typical teenagers. They represent all of us, during our youths going through our adolescence and teenage years. Their achievements, hardships, and frustrations are that of a typical youth. Imagine, we were all excited for all the new things in our life. We are young. Hopeful. And untainted from all the filth in life. We feel joy from the simplest things. We sympathize with the sad things that our eyes could only perceive. We have a great time without having to worry about anything.
We join organizations without thinking if it will benefit us in the future or just feed our rebellious side of personality. We are wrapped up with our emotions. We just want to fight for our rights inside the box we only knew. Or do we just join and search for peers because we want acceptance and validation? Hector, Anthony, and Emman created their bond because they were all roommates sharing the same aspirations and the youthful angst of being in control of themselves, of their life now that they are in college. Despite their differences, they managed to create a brotherhood without joining fraternities which is prevalent in the 90s.
Hector, who wants to prove something and pursue his passion in arts, thus, becoming a director. Anthony, who wants to become an entrepreneur but hiding his real identity from his macho dad. He did manage to become a businessman and managed to tie the knot but at the expense of being trap forever. Emman, who created a liking for activism that may have originated from his obsession for his girlfriend, then later dumped him. But he managed to become a government employee. Joy, our lovable Joy, your typical girlfriend who easily falls in love because she is also lacking in it herself. She has the typical ambition of finding the right guy and settling down.
Just like them, we haven’t had any clue about the enormous difference in the statuses. We haven’t had any clue about the harsh realities and adversities of life that await us. We make instant decisions out of our emotions that we aren’t able to support nor sustain in the long run. Creating regrets and broken dreams in the future. We are living in front of a great curtain that will unveil once we enter the real world. We are living in a world of comfort created by our parents and the school system. We thought that we are free from the consequences of our life decisions. We just live in the moment (YOLO!).
Our youth, those were all great memories. Just like the scene atop of the car. Hector, Joy, Anthony, and Emman thought that it was the best time of their lives. Priceless. However, the naivety in life we know is as dangerous as pointing a gun at our heads, (the pivotal scene – rape scene). Those we thought trivial will dig our graves in the future. Those we don’t pay attention to will leave a scar in our personality, in our self, and in our society. Those betrayals will fill us with doubts, and fears. Being impulsive comes with a price. Guilt, stocked over time will make you its slave. An invisible slave of deceit. It cripples you inside until it becomes part of your system. Guilt binds you and hinders you towards your personal freedom. It takes away your optimism in life to a dead end. And because of guilt, you could sever one of the most important connections in your life.
Delusion. Depression. Choice. Misfortunes. Self-Worth. The Process. The Stage. The reality we created.
This is one of the saddest parts when Hector, Emman, and Anthony turned their backs away to Joy. The friends you admired, respected, and loved. And it happened in the worst part of her life. You see, in life, these are common scenarios that everyone would experience. It will test your expectations. There will be unexpected things that we are unable to endure. Battles that we are unable to fight. Joy’s positivity in life suddenly became a delusion. It bled her to no end becoming a misfit, and misguided heading to a pitfall, a catastrophic pitfall I might say.
We conform to what we think is practical and allowed ourselves to just be taken away by the currents of societal norms. The reality will slap you big time in a manner that you will feel the scorching flames of hopelessness, poverty, corruption, unfair practices, injustice, and miserableness. In a manner that you won’t be able to get out. Similar to Joy, our predicament sometimes affects our choices. On her part, Aunt Dely tried to convince her to return in the province. Indeed, she has a choice. But what did she do? Honestly, we all have this “Joy mentality”. We have these misconceptions that there is no future in suburbs and countrysides. That there is no life in the province. We were brought up to believe that, going to the countryside is only for leisure. No! Remember that we make our choices in life. I am telling you, there are self-made millionaires in the province.
Joy allowed herself to sink in her misfortunes. She chose what she thought was practical. What she thought was inevitable. Repeating the cycle of bondage to her daughter, Ligaya. The same fate she tries to evade. She resorted to clutching unto the blade of the knife, engaging to clout with false hopes. Becoming promiscuous by using her body like it’s just casual, and allowing herself to be a vehicle of drug cartels. To a point that it disgusts her to the depth of her bones. That is not survival! She allowed herself along the process. She set her own stage into her own trap.
Hector, Anthony, and Emman managed to create a better future because they were able to graduate. Honestly, they are the epitome of millennials today. There are some people who should get off their high horses. They sever ties and connections with you because you are no longer relevant to them. You have no purpose anymore. However, in their cases, their minds were clouded with guilt. This guilt severed everything they all once shared with Joy. Leaving the latter without resolve. No apology. No console. She was left alone, the most realistic circumstance one would feel in life. That guilt affected all of them and made them distant, despite that Joy tried to reach out.
We all have been to that point in our life. Joy’s chosen path is relatable to most of us. Remember, we create our own path. We have the option of setting our own rules and goals in life. It’s unavoidable that you will experience the shittinesss of life. But what transpired in her is that hope, the strength to go on, and the willingness to change. She was in fact, human after all. Sadly, it was too late for her. And I think, it was in all honesty, the rightful demise for her. The law of nature only took its turn.
Think of yourself right now, I know that there were decisions and negligence that you wished you could have done something. You can’t change it, that’s a fact, but just like Joy, you have the power to redirect your path. Remove the guilt, reach out to a friend. Stay connected regardless of your differences. Never burn bridges to the people that came along in your life. You have the power to do it right this time.
Moral Of The Play:
For every promise, there is a price to pay. ~Jim Rohn
This is the message of the play that was not emphasized or understood by some reviewers. And this is the loophole of the play. Going back, Hector, Anthony, and Emman made a promise to Joy in Act 1. This promise was broken when an unfortunate event happened. They promise to protect her, to be with her, and to love her no matter what. However, those unfulfilled promises turned into guilt, remorse, and abandonment of a once dear friend and a loved one. Those broken promises made all their life miserable. It was the cause, and what they were reaping are the effects.
And the ironic part is, or I don’t know if the playwright was aware of it, they broke their promises to Joy at the height of their youth, and then made a new promise to Joy’s daughter in the end. Like what? Promising for the sole purpose of fulfilling an unfulfilled promise? That’s an awful ending for a dear friend because of their own guilt and fault. Joy could have changed her misfortune if Hector, Emman, and Anthony didn’t sever the tie. Although, we’ve seen that Joy was indebted to Anthony for some reason.
Overall, the play was almost perfect. It gave you that consistency from start to finish leaving you wanting more. The song choices were decent and did a different approach to the other songs. Some arrangements were astounding, while some were mediocre. This falls down on preference. The characters were portrayed well. Especially the character of young Joy, she gave justice to the role. There is lacking in terms of acting for the part of the three younger versions especially young Hector. But I love their enthusiasm, it didn’t bore me a bit. Of course, the adult casts did a great job as well as all the supporting roles, production, and the entire ensemble.
What part of the play were you deeply related to? Were you able to relate with the misfortune of Joy or the rest of the three? Did the hit musical play, Ang Huling El Bimbo satisfy your curiosity and willingness to watch it again? Tell us in the comments section below.