Weeks ago I saw a poster promoted by the Foundation for Lay Education on Heart Disease (FLEHD) for a production of “How to Remain Young at Heart: The Musical.” Though I had my doubts as to how entertaining it would be with education on heart disease as a topic, with three magic words –musical, free admission- I decided to attend. Yesterday, May 5, 2014, I watched something at Meralco Theater which I did not expect, to say the least.
First of all, I thought that the musical’s target audience would be lay people. To my surprise, the majority of attendees were doctors, and I felt very out of place. The songs included terms such as “ventricular fibrillation” and “suboptimal intrauterine conditions” among other things. I think this show was targeted at health workers in general, and doctors in particular.
On a minor note, I felt peevish in the beginning because the performance started on a sung prayer which we had to stand for. I will not go further into this topic.
Secondly, it was not a musical. It probably would have been better to say that it was a musical experience. I first had my doubts when I saw that the orchestra was on stage. Though there was a plot, there were no actual characters performing, and one of the first ballet performances had no connection with the lyrics being sung. It was a good thing that three screens were provided on which the libretto was flashed, or else it would have been impossible to follow. However, as I let go of the expectation of a true musical, I began to enjoy myself further.
The show was divided into 6 acts: While the music, some of which reminded me of other works, and lyrics weren’t connected, I did enjoy it in varying degrees. I learned a bit of information in Act I – it was definitely the most educational part of the night. I must say I did not truly enjoy myself until the end of it. The last song, “Haw Haw Hee,” was in Cebuano and was probably the only song targeted to actual lay persons.
Acts II and III were definitely the most enjoyable part of the evening with the bulk of the performances. On the other hand, I did not read anything – and therefore, learn anything – during that period. Why? With the choice of the ballet and the libretto, I chose the former. For one thing, Lisa Macuja – Elizalde. For another, an unknown hot guy from Ballet Philippines did a number wearing a fedora and suspender, sans shirt! Girls, zero percent body fat and muscles in all the places…
Acts IV to VI were not memorable. I left after curtain call – 2 hours after the start of the program. It was only as I got home that I realized that there were a few more songs to go.
It was an interesting night. One I would not like to repeat, but do not regret nonetheless.