Last Saturday I had the great fortune to be able to watch the second to the last staging of Zsa Zsa Zaturnnah: The Musical at the CCP. Thanks to Carl Vergara, who happened to create, write and draw the awesome comic from which the play is based on, me, Budjette and Cams got to watch what I believe to be one of the best and most inspired comic-to-performance translations ever.
Interestingly enough, me and Cams actually almost came late to the affair thanks to heavy traffic on EDSA. Thankfully we were able to arrive shortly after the theater doors opened, and we were on our great second row seats (right behind actors Roderick Paulate, Cherrie-Pie Picache and screenwriter Ricky Lee as the show started.
The whole theater itself was surprisingly small- I don't know if there could have been more than five hundred people in the whole audience. The stage spilled out into an aisle between the audience and out into the exit area. The stage itself seemed sparse and I wondered how they would be able to visualize and bring to life a superhero comic. Did they succeed?
With effing Flying Colors.
I have to say that I have never, ever been to a play that had me laughing so much and so into the performances. Granted, this has special resonance for me being a beloved comic (I am such a big Zsa Zsa fan), but darn, I have to commend director Chris Millado, Musical composer Vincent de Jesus, comic adapter Chris Martinez and the rest of the play's production staff for such a vibrant, faithful and innovative translation of the original comic... I wholeheartedly believe that Zsa Zsa The Musical is just as viable a comic book-to-movie translation as any of the big budget superhero flicks. No, really. It's that darn good. How else can you describe a play that succceeds in visualizing montage panels, goes so much deeper into characters and actually improves on the already hilarious gags and dialogue from the comic? I found myself seeing comic panels brought to life right before my eyes again and again.
I have to applaude the entire cast, with special mention of Eula Valdez who not only looks SMASHING as Zsa Zsa, but impressed everyone with her POWERful singing voice and total performance. Then there's Agot Isidro as the villainess Femina Varoux who just gets the look down PERFECT, as well as keeping a straight face throughout all her entirely english dialogue... Tuqx Rutaquio as Ada (Zsa Zsa's alter ego) and Ricci Tan for being THE personification of the comic's Didi. Kudos and wholehearted applause to the rest of the cast and the members of the Tanghalang Pilipino Actors Company who brought this perfect play to life. Superheroes, brilliantly campy humor, Matrix martial arts, Giant Frogs, zombies, big hair, skimpy outfits... What's not to love? Abzolutely Amazing!
The only negative is the relative few people who have seen this gem. I know every single staging has been SOLD OUT, yet many many more people have not seen this show. I truly hope ZZTM gets a re-staging, and perhaps in a bigger venue. This play simply has GOT to be seen by more people. If you read comics you absolutely MUST see this play. Carl, congratulations for being the first contemporary comic creator to see your baby realized in perhaps the best way ever. WOOHOO!!!
Cams, Zsa Zsa (Eula Valdez) and one Happy MADman.
Carl and his superheroine with Budjette.