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June 26, 2014

5 Reasons Why You Should Watch PETA's 'Rak of Aegis' Re-run

Necessary Repetitions: 5 Reasons Why You Should Watch PETA's 'Rak of Aegis' Re-run

by Francis Christian Lubag
Why is there a new article? Sure. Just because PETA’s Rak of Aegis is staging a rerun doesn’t necessarily mean we have to write about it again. Problem is, our review of its original run is buried in too deep of this site, which will make you – let’s face it – too lazy to look and read it (that is despite Google’s existence).

But beyond that pragmatic reasoning is the fact that Rak of Aegis, while not perfect, warrants your attention — whether you’ve seen it before or not. So this time, for the sake of convenience, we will not write a new review. Here’s a quick list of why you “really really” should watch Rak of Aegis (because apparently, long articles are boring and list articles are the way to engage a lazy generation such as ours):

1. A Familiar Filipino Story
Rak of Aegis revolves around a struggling community that was struck by heavy rainfall (i.e. like what most of the country experiences most of the year),which resulted in heavy flooding (i.e. what most of the country experiences every year) and was exacerbated by bad urban planning and blatant corruption and commercialization (i.e. pretty much everything and everyone in the country). Keeping this in mind, saying that Rak of Aegis carries a compellingly familiar story seems completely underrated – and the root cause of its familiarity is, quite frankly, because we as a society just won’t learn.
Don’t get me wrong though. The story’s not depressing despite its serious topic. In fact, the show is showered with the beaming rays of wit and comedy, which ultimately makes the bitter pill of our reality much easier to swallow. More importantly, it doesn’t commodify the tragic experiences of our nation. It makes a critical statement on how we deal with such tragedies and questions our shallow concept of resilience.
A former professor once shared us a quote saying “give the people what they want in a form that they need”. Well, ladies and gentlemen, here it is.
Special Note: If you haven’t seen the show in its previous run, you must remember that before you say “aww that plot is so dark and “indie” (whatever that means), there is actually a sweet love story in there. So rest assured your mainstream rom-com sensibilities won’t be “that deprived or violated”.
2. Definitive Pop Anthem of Modern OPM
Okay. Let’s not be sticklers on the genre. Aegis is not strictly pop – more pop rock, actually. But we have to admit its immeasurable popularity. Even the most “alta” segments of our highly socio-economically stratified society know an Aegis song or two. Beyond that though, Rak of Aegis brings a new level of appreciation and understanding to the songs of this popular band. Myke Salomon arranges the song and appropriates them in almost perfectly seamless fashion. Yes, there are certain songs that feel forced like “it just has to be there”. But the arrangements and the songs will make you want to listen – and even sing Aegis’ discography days after you’ve watched the musical.
Special Note: Watch out for the musical’s sweet rendition of Hahanapin Ko, comical take on Mahal na Mahal Kita, and its chillingly vindictive version of Gumising Na Tayo.
3. Powerhouse Cast
Rak of Aegis’ plot centers on a community trying to survive the havoc of a natural disaster. Hence, the audience’s connection to the communal struggle stems from the way the actors perform their respective characters. I’ve noted before that we can always expect Isay Alvarez and Robert Seña to be amazing. And watching Aicelle Santos continues to give me that sense of relief as I’ve declared that she’s someone to watch out for in the theater scene when I first saw her in Katy and I’m happy that my declaration continues to be true in the Rak of Aegis rerun.
Aside from that, I have to make a special mention on two actors: Cacai Bautista’s comic timing is wonderful (and her enchanting singing voice is quite surprising) and Jerald Napoles’ take on the charmingly-lovestruck-despite-his-alphamale-built Tolits is cute and endearing.
Special Note: New cast members have been announced recently like Arnel Ignacio, OJ Mariano and Jimmy Marquez, among others. I have not seen them yet in their Rak of Aegis personas but I’ve seen their previous work and they are all amazing actors. I wish I get the chance to see them play Fernan, Kiel, and Jewel respectively.
4. Enchantingly Gritty Stage Design
Just when you thought you have a pretty good grasp on what kinds of universes the stage can hold, Mio Infante brings us a whole barangay partially submerged in flood reeking with desperation and agony. The intricacies of his stage design – complete with dangerous charm of planks and an actual boat – expose the grit of a community in need. It also perfectly encapsulates the claustrophobic effect in a community alienated from the rest of the world by a disaster.
Special Note: The Sunflowers. I will not say anything about it anymore. Just watch out for it.

5. True Blue Original Filipino Theater Production
The truth is, there is no shortage in original Filipino theater materials in the country. We’re just not willing to watch them. We’d rather spend money on a touring production of a popular musical or play or see a local adaptation of a Broadway hit (or maybe not really a hit. Just something that was staged in Broadway. For a while. Which was critically panned. But it created so much buzz that it somehow justifies adapting it here). Not that there’s anything wrong with that per se. In fact, it provides us with a deeper and wider horizon for personal cultural exposure.
But in the process of opting for the foreign, we fail to recognize and support our own. Maybe to say that some local productions tend to be quite high-minded is somehow valid. But as I’ve said earlier, Rak of Aegis gives the people what they need in a form that they want. It is not alienating and it opens doors to appreciating the local theater community in general.
I’d give anything just to see 'Katy! The Musical' again, because it’s really a wonderful theater gem. Now, PETA gives us the opportunity to see the charm and quasi-realism of Rak of Aegis again. This article was originally titled “Necessary Redundancies”. But I figured redundancies require the pointlessness of the subject’s recurrence. And let me tell you now, despite its imperfections, there’s nothing pointless about Rak of Aegis’ rerun.

​PETA's Rak of Aegis of Re-run runs from June 20 - August 21, 2014 at the PETA Theater Center. For tickets call Ticketworld at (63 2) 891-9999 or visit
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Event Info

PETA's Rak of Aegis Re-run

This June, PETA opens the re-run of Rak of Aegis from June 20 to August 31. The musical is now scheduled to have 67 shows at The PETA Theater Center with a total of 30,000 audience members expected to flock the theater to see this monumental music extravaganza.
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