"Mind you, THE HORSE AND HIS BOY, unlike thousands of Narnia fans called Narniacs, is not my favorite book," quote Ms. Luna Griño-Inocian, the playwright of Trumpets' The Horse and His Boy. Despite her statement, she did a splendid work re-writing the story in a modern approach. It is where generation of today would relate to the characters of the story in a fun, thrilling, and adventurous way of delivering it--an epic ride to everyone who sees the show.
The Horse and His Boy is the fifth book in the series "The Chronicles of Narnia". This book hasn't been produced in a film (unlike the first four) but has been produced on the Philippine stage that has been made possible by Trumpets.
Philippines is very privileged to witness this epic story long after its stage adaptation in 1990 at the Charter Theater, Preston. Much for the background, the show offers so much more that it will leave you in awe for days, perhaps your lifetime as you adapt the story in your life.
Here are some points why you shouldn't miss the Trumpets' production of The Horse And His Boy.
1) it is a show that "looked like a musical, felt like a musical, sounded like a musical but WASN'T a musical" the idea of the production described by its artistic director, Jaime del Mundo. I was fooled as I expected a musical play; the fact that Trumpets was known for its musical productions.
Nonetheless, the stray they did was just awesome. And in fact, it did seemed like a musical for the magnificent music they produced for the show, plus the song numbers at the end of the two acts.
2) Whether a Narniacs or not, you'll love it. Surely, Narniacs would love to see their favorite book series come in life. It may not have been produced in film, but hey, it's in Philippine stage why not let it pass. A non-Narniac must beware, for after watching the show would transform you into a Narniac. Overstated, but more or less you'll be much curious about the story that you'll be encouraged to read the other books and watch the films just like me.
3) "Philippine theater has finally witnessed a flawless performance after a long time," a statement from a media during the press night. Without a doubt, I certainly agreed to this comment. But then on second thought, I haven't yet been seeing theatrical performances for a long time, perhaps the one who brought this statement is right for so many media people agreed with it. But I am most certain that what I have witnessed during the show was flawless. Without a blink, I saw nothing but utter performance.
4) Familiar faces have come back to Narnia. Trumpets have already produced the first book, "The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe" from The Chronicles of Narnia. If you have seen and loved their production of The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe, you'll feel all the love back again as some of the casts have returned to reprise their role or take on a different one. Some of them are Jeremy Domingo who played Aslan, The Great Lion in both the productions; Steve Cadd, Mayen Cadd, and Robie Zialcita are back for a different role. I was just one of the unfortunates who have not seen The Lion, The King, and The Wardrobe's production. I hope that they would re-stage it soon.
5) Fabulous set design. I was stunned when I first laid eyes on the stage. I saw a map and mountains that are realistically made with fabrics. Back drafts with seemingly odd cut which creates an illusion for mountain ranges with a beautiful, bright moon. I also observed the creativity on the palace's design, the walls, the cave, and the stables. These are all made possible by Mr. Mio Infante, the one I also remembered who did the marvelous set for 9 Works Theatrical's production of La Cage Aux Folles.
6) Warriors, Kings and Queens, mythical creatures, all of them had fantastic costumes. I definitely felt like they really are from another world with their costumes, side-by-side the set.
7) "... I had to wear that seemed less like a costume and more like a vehicle," said Joel Trinidad, who played Bree, the talking horse of Narnia. Yes, before I went to watch the show, I was wondering how they would give life to the horse especially it is "The HORSE and His Boy". I expected a very inanimate horse made of plywood or a puppet with a voice over, but then this epic ride exceed my expectation. Truly, they gave justice and humour to the horse with Joel's excellent job.
There is a war to be saved by our four unlikely heroes. Action! Fighting scene! Choreography! Indeed, a wonderfully made war. Synchronized movements, thrilling background music, sword fights, and puppetry spiced up the action. You'll see wha I am talking about when you watched the show.
9) "The bottom line with any Trumpets production should be that in some way the audience would get a glimpse of God," said Steve Cadd, who played King Lune and has been in several Trumpets production. Aslan, The Great Lion, the creator and one true king of Narnia, is what he talks being the glimpse of God. The fictional story was paralleled to Christianity, where Aslan (resembled as God) oversees one's journey and leads him/her to his/her destiny. It gave me a chill, a lesson that struck me when our hero realized that he has the most fortunate fate, reversed of what he deemed most unfortunate from what he has been through.
I believe that everyone is being guided by God. In our right moment and in the right place, we would eventually feel that we have reached our destiny. Hardships, trials, challenges, or whatever you may call it, it is all part of our journey to learn in life and become a better person.
We just have to enjoy every moment of it with the people we ride along our journey and make a one hell of an EPIC RIDE.
Now, you might not want to be left behind this epic ride. Catch the remaining shows on November 14 and 21 (Saturdays, 3PM ad 8PM), November 15 and 22 (Sundays 3PM) at the Meralco Theater, Pasig City.
For tickets, visit ticketworld.com.ph or call the Trumpets office at 901-34-64.
See you in the theater
Review by Daniel Cruz
Edited and Photos by AXL Powerhouse
More photos of The Trumpets' The Horse And His Boy kindly go on the official fanpage of AXLPowerhouse.