REVIEW | ‘Silver Lining’ Is A Stirring Original Musical Drama
“Silver Lining” is the musical drama that Filipinos, reeling from the trauma of the 2022 national elections, need. It is a drama that relives the horror of the dark days of martial law for millennials who weren’t around there yet.
In the new stage musical “Silver Lining,” the boomers that experienced martial law and millennials who hardly care about what happened in the past, preoccupied as they are with mental-health and other self-absorbed concerns, clash and tangle and come to peace in what amounts to a bull session between the generations.
With songs composed by art-gallerist and musician Jack Teotico, book written by Joshua Lim-so, and direction by Maribel Legarda (“Rak of Aegis,” “Care Divas”), “Silver Lining” is the musical drama that Filipinos, reeling from the trauma of the 2022 national elections, need. It is a drama that relives the horror of the dark days of martial law for millennials who weren’t around there yet, while helping their parents and elders heal their wounds and enabling both generations to resolve their differences.
The musical drama is about Leo (Ricky Davao), Anton (Joel Nuñez), and Raul (Raul Montesa), now in their senior years, who form a band for the golden anniversary of their high school. After composing original songs and rehearsing with their families, they’re told by organizers they can perform only three numbers.
In order not to let their efforts go to waste, they decide to stage a musical drama based on their growing-up years. In the process, Leo relives his romance with Julia, whom he met on campus but who later disappeared after she and Raul were accosted by Marcos’s dreaded Gestapo-like MetroCom at the start of martial rule.
But Raul won’t have any of the painful and divisive exploration of the past dealt with in the play, warning they could become the target of red tagging, so he steers the production toward safe escapist entertainment.
Although alienated from their fathers because of their seeming detachment to their own personal troubles, Dalai (Maronne Cruz), Mart (Shaun Ocrisma), and Rico (Jep Go) take back control of the production and investigate the real cause of Julia’s disappearance.
Well-told and entertainingly staged, “Silver Lining” derives its effectiveness from its play-within-a-play structure, its songs (with musical direction, arrangement, and additional music by Vince Lim), and overall technical excellence: PJ Rebullida (choreography), Charles Yee (set design), Tata Tuviera (costumes), David Esguerra (lighting), Joyce Garcia (video design), Bambam Tiongson (sound design), and Jamie Wilson (technical direction).
Its success as a musical drama owes as well to the energy of its mostly young cast.
Particularly effective are the actors who play the young Leon, Raul, and Anton – Albert Silos, Jay Cortez and Noel Comia Jr. (who’s the youngest Cinemalaya best actor, for “Kiko Boksingero” in 2017), respectively. Ditto with Cruz, Ocrisma, Go, and Krystal Brimmer (who plays the young Julia).
Which is not to say that the veterans in the production can hardly keep up. Davao in fact exhibits phenomenal energy and drive in his singing and dancing and delivers the dramatic scenes with crackerjack finish. Montesa, Nuñez, and Nenel Arcayan, who plays Anton’s wife, are also a joy to watch.
Overall, “Silver Lining” is a very stirring musical drama that not only entertains and delights but likewise challenges viewers from across the generations to reflect on the darker chapters of contemporary Philippine history, in order to heed the warning of Spanish philosopher George Santayana: “Those who cannot learn from history are doomed to repeat it.”
"Silver Lining" will have a final weekend run on Oct. 27-29 at the Carlos P. Romulo Auditorium, 4th floor, RCBC Plaza, Makati City. Tickets are available on Ticket2Me.net.