Friday, March 04, 2016

Three Stars And A Sun!

.:Three Stars and a Sun: How To Sing #NeverForget For Two Hours:.

Allow me to make this very short and sweet... if you haven't yet, you should be watching Three Stars and a Sun in PETA Theater. There really is no other way to say it.

Greetings from the Mirror Universe!

I'm not going to bore you with a review here, but needless to say, 3 Stars and a Sun reminded me exactly why the PETA of old was considered a political activist during the Marcos era. While "Rak of Aegis" was entertaining and definitely a great musical, 3 Stars was all that, and downright subversive, as it attempts to challenge the notion of power and the perpetuation of a cycle of power-grabbing that leaves the empowered paranoid and the disempowered disgruntled.

It's not just a musical: it's a harsh lesson on history, and how forgetting history dooms us to repeat it.

It's not just a musical: it's a soulful tribute to patriotism, and it took the form of Francis Magalona's music, which has always been patriotic at its very core.

It's not just a musical: it's a cynical yet hopeful lens put upon the dynamics of power and Philippine society, and a reminder to us that Filipino Pride comes from within, and not from how many Mexicans Pacquiao has dispatched in the ring, or how many times Lea Salonga stars in Broadway or Hollywood.

I profess to have my misgivings over "Filipino Pride," but this play stirred it within me, because it showed me what I am personally capable of : the ability to make things better. The ability to put to use the freedom granted unto me.

For anyone who wishes to blame the spectre of EDSA for whatever perceived ills we go through today, the message is clear: why blame a stretch of asphalt when we had 30 years to make good on our freedom in the first place? Freedom never promised us anything beyond freedom, after all.

While watching the musical, I was absolutely enthralled by the story, even when stripped of its allegorical value: who knew that a sci-fi musical could be done, and done well? To posit a third world war, one that was a nuclear disaster, and to posit life in a nuclear shelter that houses only a select few that ended up dividing into two classes, and to infuse all that with the timeless and always-relevant music of Francis Magalona, is to put together a masterpiece that mixes history with recent pop culture and presents a package that can easily be enjoyed on so many levels.

Admittedly, while watching it, I felt a mild pang of regret because I wanted to audition for the musical, but who cares? Whether or not I was there (and I probably wouldn't have made the cut anyways), getting to watch the finished product was what mattered, because it can truly stir you in ways you don't quite expect.

When people say, "wow, that's deep," there's an air of pretentiousness that normally comes with uttering those words. 3 Stars and a Sun doesn't attempt to be pretentious or even unsubtle about its metaphors and allusions, yet still achieves a depth few contemporary pieces of art can match without compensating for their paltriness with pretentiousness.

The message is deep, because it is deep within us: the Filipino is only as powerful as we collectively act as Filipinos, and for as long as we divide ourselves among different lines in the sand, we will remain easy pickings for the vultures who have so much yet leave so little for us. It isn't a revolutionary cry of taking the Triangle and turning it upside down, but of taking the Triangle, and creating unity from within.

And while China steps upon our territory, and while threats from within and without threaten the very fabric of Philippine society, we learn to fight the many battles on many different fronts, as our heroes no doubt did. We learn to look at them and never forget, not just the good they have done, but the mistakes and weaknesses they fell prey to, lest we repeat the very same.

To never forget is not to be mired in nostalgia or historical cynicism, but to be more cognizant of how we go to where we are today. To never forget is to appreciate the Filipino spirit, with all its idiosyncracies and failings, not blindly, but lovingly. To look at what is wrong with us and correct it, instead of rebuking ourselves ceaselessly.

Otherwise, we would be too busy fighting from within to know that from without, we are hopelessly surrounded. But both battles are no less important to fight.

 A happy battle, no less.

3 Stars and a Sun, ladies and gentlemen. Watch it. Enjoy it. And if on some level, it stirs that patriotic spirit in you, find it in yourself to put it to good use. Dahil nasa palad mo ang kapalaran.

Dugong inialay para sa bayan, sayang naman ang kanilang ipinaglaban...

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