High Flying Peter Pan
Written and photographed
By Jude Bautista
Peter Pan (Jean Marc Cordero) doesn’t just lift off the stage he flies. Incredulously he flies out into the audience over people’s heads. This much beloved classic has always been about action, the fight scenes and journey to Neverland. Can there be a character that celebrates the joy and wonder of childhood more than Peter Pan? There have been countless productions of the classic locally but no one comes close to the Ballet Philippines version. Ballet is the perfect medium to translate the many action scenes.
Ballet Philippines Peter Pan will run from December 4-13, 2015 at the CCP’s Tanghalang Nicanor Abelardo (Main Theater). If there is only one live show you will take your family to make it BP’s Peter Pan. Whether your age is 6 or 96 it’s sure to be a thrill. Going there plants that seed of appreciation of dance especially ballet in your child. They’re not even aware of it as an educational activity but works on a purely entertainment level. There were quite a few kids watching. Students and their parents from several schools thoroughly enjoyed themselves.
Different talented dancers from BP alternate roles. Jean Marc Cordero, Cyril Aran Fallar, Victor Maguad are in the role of Peter Pan. Rita Angela Winder, Jemima Reyes, Monica Amanda Gana for Wendy. Victor Maguad has literally grown up in Peter Pan having played the roles of Michael, John, now Peter.
There was nothing like seeing Peter fly over kids heads on the front row. Or having Croc (Jimmy Mateo) chase down Hook (Garry Corpuz) down the aisles. Everyone was having a hoot. BP Artistic Director Paul Morales said the audience involvement was really part of the charm of the previous staging, “It was part of the original show. That comes from a good theater tradition like pantomime they do that a lot. For children’s show its something that will give kids a more visceral experience.”
The illusion of flight is also crucial as this is Pan’s special power. So flight has to be given special attention, “The flying for this show has always been by FOY. Foy is an American company that specializes in flying. In fact, they did the original Peter Pan on Broadway and they do a lot of the Peter Pan shows all over the world. They also did the Repertory Philippines a few years ago. They’re the most professional. They have their own equipment especially made more comfortable than the other ones. They have a big work ethic on safety and all of that. OK siya kahit imported at medyo mahal. It’s a difficult illusion to pull off.”
Flying by Foy (from official website) calls itself “the most prolific and widely-respected theatrical flying service in the world.” The company was established in 1957 with its headquarters in Las Vegas, Nevada. Along with the equipment and personnel they also have their ‘Flying Director’ Johnny Pickett working with choreographer Edna Froilan and the dancers.
Jean Marc Cordero as Pan has had the most experience with Foy going through it in the same role 5 years ago. For this year, they only had 5 days to rehearse the flying, which isn’t ideal. He admits that he still gets excited with the sensation of flight no matter how many times he’s done it. Human operators are the secret in the smoothness of both takeoff and landing. They watch and anticipate movement of Jean Marc during the performance.
There are slight discomforts as the harness was designed for singers who do not have as wide range of movements. Rita Angela Winder as Wendy mentioned the added 3 kilos could make their leaps on stage a little bit more difficult. Seeing the results on stage makes it all worth it.
The soundtrack is a combination of 1954 Broadway production from Mary Martins and some classical music. Surprisingly, the music and dialogue is just as timeless as the story of Peter Pan. The lack of a live orchestra in the pit was also maximized. As one of the many funny scenes that surprised both kids and adults is when Hook falls into the river (the orchestra pit in this case) and disappears. The hilarious chase scene with the crocodile ensues to the front row of dozens of screaming kids worried for Hook.
Apart from the Broadway musical there are other sources. Morales said, “There are some pieces like classical music. One is a syncopated clock famous piece, fight scene. Indian music some of it is traditional music. A lot of it is from the musical. The mermaid scene is another piece of music. Peter Pan is this old old work you have this book. You have this great animation (from Disney) so there’s a lot of that influence we try to bring and capture.”
Watch out for the young performers in the roles of Tinkerbell (Janine Myrtell Arisola, Gilliane Therese Gequinto, Joanne Therese Sartorio), John (Erl Sorilla,Victor Maguad, Ricmar Policarpio)& Michael (Daniel Andes, David Andes) even the Lost boys (Ricmar Policarpio, Maila Jean Habagat, Jacqueline Mercado, Isabel Shy, Karla Santos, Louise Lao, Jhomar Loneza,Justine Orande, Mines Solomon, Sophia Andes, Izza Liong, Gianna Hervas, Bryan Abano, Eriel Sunggalia). They just might be the next to take flight as Wendy or Peter Pan.
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This entry was posted on December 5, 2015 by jude bautista. It was filed under Fashion, Music, Theater and was tagged with 1954, adults, Ballet Philippines, BP, BP Artistic Director, Broadway, Broadway production, Bryan Abano, CCP, classic, classical music, Croc, Cyril Aran Fallar, Daniel Andes, David Andes, Edna Froilan, Eriel Sunggalia, Erl Sorilla, flies, Flying by Foy, Garry Corpuz, Gianna Hervas, Gilliane Therese Gequinto, Hook, Isabel Shy, Izza Liong, Jacqueline Mercado, janine Myrtell Arisola, Jean Marc Cordero, Jemima Reyes, Jhomar Loneza, Jimmy Mateo, Joanne Therese Sartorio, John, Johnny Pickett, Justine Orande, Karla Santos, kids, Lost boys, Louise Lao, Maila Jean Habagat, Main Theater, Mary Martins, Michael, Mines Solomon, Monica Amanda Gana, Neverland, orchestra pit, pantomime, Paul Morales, Peter Pan, REPERTORY PHILIPPINES, Ricmar Policarpio, Rita Angela Winder, Sophia Andes, soundtrack, Tanghalang Nicanor Abelardo, theater tradition, Tinkerbell, Victor Maguad, visceral, Wendy.