Theater: Rak of Aegis

"Rak of Aegis"

A rock comedy musical using the songs of Aegis will tackle Filipino resilience, or how the country faces and resolves compromising situations, whether this be a natural disaster or a broken heart. S et in a subdivision that has been flooded for two months, “Rock of Aegis” will revolve around the love interests of the main characters, whose names are derived from those of Aegis band members as a tribute to the Filipino novelty rock group that made waves in the 90’s.

If I can only say one thing about Rak of Aegis, it is this: it’s entertaining. But this is a blog and I have to expound, so I’ll say this instead:

Rak of Aegis takes your expectations, smashes it, and then sings vocal acrobatics while dancing on top of your smashed expectations. Whether that’s a good thing or a bad thing… You will have to watch it yourself to decide. For me though… It’s definitely not one of the better Filipino musicals in existence.

Wait. What? Yes, Rak of Aegis is not a perfect musical. Story-wise, it’s a bit of a mess. There are four story lines with no clear focus of which is the most important…until they tie it all up in the end. That’s when you realize that the most important character in the musical is the one thing you don’t really pay attention to–except for the spectacle it presents.

And this is a shame. I actually think any one of the four stories could have been made the main arc–while letting the other three flourish as subplots that become a surprise part of the main thread all along in the end.

Rak of Aegis also does a disservice to its wonderful cast of actors, all of whom bring their A-game in the performances, because its story lacks focus from beginning…up until the beginning of the second arc.

No one leads the musical. You don’t have a Marc Cohen. You don’t have an Elphaba… or a G(a)linda. You don’t have a Zsazsa Zaturnnah. Heck, you don’t even have a Maxie. The musical doesn’t know if it’s going to be a love story for the younger cast, or a love story for the older ones; It doesn’t know if it’s a call to action (it does become that in the end), or a family story.

The good thing is, although the story is confused, the music is definitely not. Rak of Aegis is unapologetic in its use of their source material: the Aegis songs. They mix and match verses from different songs, giving new life to the raucious videoke staples. And you’ll even be pleasantly surprised at how they rearranged some of the songs to make them into a heart-wrenching, if gut-busting, ballads about losing the one you love.

And then there’s the ensemble. They’re the most hardworking bunch of people in this production, I’m sure… Well, behind the set managers and their props people. It is to them that I credit how infectious the joy of Rak of Aegis is. They’re unwavering energy, on top of their larger-than-life presence (while portraying different characters) are a hoot to watch.

I maintain my stance that Rak of Aegis could still use some edits on the way its story unfolds, but I am sure of one thing: this musical will follow the footsteps of Zsazsa Zaturnnah Ze Muzikal in inspiring a new cult…following.

Rak of Aegis continues its run at the PETA Theater until March 9, 2014.


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