13: Awkward Made Cool

It’s the age many adults would like to forget—the first year of teenhood, the final year of childhood, or somewhere in between. Remember what you were like when you were 13?

I thought I pushed those awkward memories deep into my subconscious, but watching the July 27 show of Blue Repertory’s 13: The Musical in my alma mater, Ateneo de Manila University, was a bittersweet reunion with my childhood.

The story is about Evan Goldman, a New York kid on the brink of turning 13. After his parents’ divorce, he is forced to move to Appleton, Indiana. Through his eyes we see the difficulties of making new friends and building a reputation from scratch. The setting could actually have been anywhere, as it presents the universal teen struggle of fitting in.

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Although the play was made up of typecast characters and tried-and-tested campus scenes such as bullying and first kisses, the story had depth and many hilarious antics from the versatile cast of 11 who played not only main roles, but chorus duties as well.

My friend Javi Atayde (left) and I (bottom left) with director Toff de Venecia (middle row, second to the left) and the cast of 13: The Musical after the July 27 show." width="450" height="337" /> My friend Javi Atayde (left) and I (bottom left) with director Toff de Venecia (middle row, second to the left) and the cast of 13: The Musical after the July 27 show.

My friend Javi Atayde (left) and I (bottom left) with director Toff de Venecia (middle row, second to the left) and the cast of 13: The Musical after the July 27 show.” width=”450″ height=”337″ /> My friend Javi Atayde (left) and I (bottom left) with director Toff de Venecia (middle row, second to the left) and the cast of 13: The Musical after the July 27 show.

I was most impressed with Nikki Surtida’s portrayal of Eddie, one of the three sidekicks of campus heartthrob Brett. I had initial misgivings when I found out that Blue Rep picked a female to play a 13-year-old male bully, but Nikki’s performance was both believable and entertaining.

The lights and set designers also deserve a round of applause. With so many scenes and set changes in the play, the team maximized their creativity and ingenuity within the Fine Arts Theater’s limited size.

The songs by Tony Award-winning composer Jason Robert Brown were poignant as expected. The lyrics unearthed the lessons I learned not so long ago when I was my own version of Patrice. Whether you’re a grown-up geek like myself, or a cool kid about to enter your teens, this play will pull your heartstrings.

Catch the last two weeks of 13: The Musical!
When: August 3, 4, 8, 9, 10 and 11 at 8 p.m. August 4 and 11 at 3 p.m.
Where: Fine Arts Theater, 3/F Gonzaga Hall, Ateneo de Manila University, Katipunan Avenue, Quezon City, Philippines.
Ticket price: P200 each

Cast:
RJ Santillan: Evan
Bernice Reyes: Patrice
David Mercado: Archie
Raya Esteban: Kendra
Roxci De Leon: Lucy
Darrell Uy: Brett
Nikki Surtida: Eddie
Wrench Canicosa: Malcolm
Arjo Mejilla: Simon
Aby Esteban: Cassie
Marone Cruz: Charlotte

Artistic Team:
Director: Toff de Venecia
Asst. director: Meg Yatco
Musical director: Reb Atadero
Asst. musical director: Dana Marquez
Choreographer: Mica Fajardo
Lights designer: Miyo Sta. Maria
Set design: CJ Francisco

Photos courtesy of Ateneo Blue Repertory



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