“Kung may pagkakataon, gusto kong ialay ang unang patatanghal ng “Gee-Gee At Waterina, The Musical” kina Walterina Markova at JJ, at sa kanilang buhay na masaya, malandi, maingay, makulay, at pagkaganda-ganda.” – J. Dennis Teodosio, Playwright
With the recent success of the locally mounted musicals, more theater companies are bound to present that kind of art form to probably adjust to the taste or the demand of the millennials. A story doesn’t have to be modern, as long as the approach of the production emanates from the contemporary and soulful rendition of the narrative.
This is what Artist Playground is all about and soon to open its 4th season. From an original script initially staged at the CCP Virgin Labfest in 2005, and a short film version came a year after as a Cinemalaya entry, the play Gee-Gee At Waterina is back with a twist. This time, it will be presented as a musical with all new and original music composed by Jesse Lucas, based from the story, book and lyrics by J. Dennis C. Teodosio, choreographed by Lezlie Dailisan and will be directed by Andrew de Real.
Gee-Gee At Waterina, The Musical is based on the story of Markova, a “comfort gay” during the Japanese Occupation in the Philippines, and his friend Gee-Gee, their struggles, their pains, their joys and their lives, and how to deal with their lives as golden gays. It also tackles about true friendship and acceptance of what life has to offer now that they “old and gay.”
Aside from being the artistic director of the company, Roeder Camanag, a two-time ALIW Best Stage Actor winner and currently a board member of the Gantimpala Theater Foundation, will play the role of Waterina. He is also the artistic director of the Valenzuela City Center for the Performing Arts. While Norman Penaflorida, a theater actor, production designer and event host, will essay the role of Gee-Gee.
“Matagal na rin akong di nakapag direct ng play,” said De Real, the director of GMA 7’s noontime top rating Sunday show Sunday Pinasaya. “But when this was offered to me, immediately I said YES! And I’m glad I’m back with my first love…theater. The play mirrors the fear and insecurity of each member of the LGBT community, the feat of getting old….being alone and lonely. Pero sa huli ay may realization…that it’s okay to be old, happy and gay.”
For the writer, J. Dennis Teodosio, a Carlos Palanca Memorial Awards winner for Literature (screenplay, teleplay, one-act play and essay), he claimed that he is happy with the development of the play because the production is giving new ideas about the characterization of Gee-Gee and Waterina.
“Sa muling pagbabalik ng Gee-Gee At Waterina as a musical, wala na akong takot kasi alam ko na madali nang matanggap ng mga manonood na ito ay ‘di lamang tungkol sa dalawang matandang bakla. Higit sa lahat, ito ay tungkol sa pagkakaroon ng totoong kaibigan at pagtanggap sa kalakaran ng buhay,” he said. “Pumayag ako na baguhin ang ending ng dula dahil gusto kong ipagdiwang ang tunay na kabuluhan ng buhay na masaya, may pagtanggap, at walang maskara.”
Currently, Teodosio is based in Yangon, Myanmar. He develops and writes TV series and programs for Forever Group Co., Ltd and designs and conducts training programs for Myanmar Media Development Center. He founded the Yangon-based independent film group “The Creative Playground” in 2014.
A top-notch composer, Jesse Lucas writes music for film, TV, theater and dance. He has won several awards from different award-giving bodies like URIAN, FAMAS, Star Awards, Young Critics Circle, Metro Manila Filmfest and Aliw Awards. In 2005, he won the Screamfest International Film Festival in Los Angeles for the film Sigaw (Scream).
Gee-Gee At Waterina, The Musical will open on August 18, 2018 (7 p.m.) at Arts Above, Artist Playground II (112 West Venue Bldg., West Avenue, QC). Other playdates: Aug. 19, 25 and 26. For inquiries call or send SMS to Ms. Kimberly Somoza (0975-9193179). Other members of the ensemble are Sean Nolasco, Nel Gumalog, Romeo Palma, Jr., Joseph Karol Dela Cruz and Bench Ortiz.