Should we move on and forget about Martial Law?
For playwright and Dekada '70s director Pat Valera and his team, that would be a resounding no.
They're bringing back the musical adaptation of Lualhati Bautista's 1983 novel on stage for two weeks until March 8 — right on time, too for the commemoration of the 1986 EDSA People Power Revolution this week.
"Dekada '70" is a carefully woven piece that depicts the struggle of a middle-class family during the Marcos dictatorship. On stage, Valera and his team made sure the struggles showcased in the book would still relatable to our time now.
We're happy to say they didn't disappoint. Below, we list seven compelling reasons to catch the play.
1. It's Lualhati Bautista-approved
The author of the renowned novel herself has approved of the play. Bautista has given the team a free hand to turn the novel into a musical was reportedly amazed with how good a team of young people has been able to portray something that has happened even before they were born.
As Valera recalls, Bautista, through the show, found hope in the continuous struggle of the youth to fight for the country’s freedom.
2. It’s timely and relevant
What’s the best way to commemorate the 34th anniversary of EDSA People Power Revolution and to look back to the First Quarter Storm, 50 years ago? To watch a musical that will not only fuel your patriotism and nationalism but will also enlighten you on why you should #neverforget the atrocities under the Marcos regime. Dekada ‘70 is the perfect fit for this.
But even if the issues that are tackled in the story happened a few decades ago, the message is still relevant to the country at present. “Sana nga we don’t get to stage this play anymore,” Valera tells GMA News Online. “But unless magkaroon tayo ng ala-ala ng kasaysayan na marapat nating ipaglaban, then we need to restage this.”
3. It's a show for the whole family
In a bid to make the restaging relatable to millennials, the show brings front and center the various struggles faced by the Bartolome brothers — which is not to say Valera and his team has veered away from the original material that focuses on their mom.
Valera and team deftly remained true to the novel as it still showcased the struggles of the mom and the dad. With extra attention given to their sons, Dekada '70 the musical was also able to highlight the conflicts among the entire family.
During opening weekend, the audiences showed an impressive age range, with elders who've obviously survived Martial Law to the younger people, who have already learned the dark days through history books. That's not mentioning the collective sobs and giggles everyone inside the black box theater.
4. It features original songs
Valera and Matthew Chang’s work in the musical direction of the show appeals to both emotion and memory. All the original songs will trigger personal battles — on how voices are lost, how voices are fought for and how voices are found.
And because they are very personal, you'll be surprised at how the songs will effortlessly stay at the back of your head. Get ready for a serious case of LSS.
5. It is directed by a Palanca awardee
Valera is a playwright and a theater director known for his social commentary but there's more to him than his spot-on observances of social issues.
He is two-time winner of the Palanca award, winning his first Palanca in 2016 for the one-act play, “Gawani’s First Dance" and then again in 2018 for his full-length play, “Symphony.” This should assure you that Dekada is well-written and well-made.
Valera’s artistic team is also composed of talented people with Chang for the musical direction, Dana Marquez for the orchestration and Ohm David for the set design. Convincing and passionate portrayal can be witnessed in the throw of lines of seasoned theater actors Stella Cañete-Mendoza (Amanda), Juliene Mendoza (Julian), Jon Abella (Jules) and the whole cast portrayed their characters.
6. The cast features a lot of new and unexpected faces
This restaging should appeal to those who've watched the show before. We mean: Juan Miguel Severo (Willy), Justine Peña (Evelyn), and Boo Gabunada (Em) have joined the cast. The ensemble will also feature newcomers, such as Ransom Collective band member Jermaine Choa Peck.
7. There are only a few tickets left
If brisk ticket sales should tell you anything, it's that Dekada '70 is one to watch. Fight your way in to get a seat — the musical adaptation of Dekada ‘70 runs from February 21 to March 8, 2020 at The Doreen Black Box, Areté in Quezon City. — LA, GMA News