By ABIGAIL M. ADRIATICO
HARDSHIPS ARE inevitable in a person’s life. People are normally confronted by choices they have to make every single day. Some might come out lucky. Unfortunately, some might end up becoming victims of their choices—trapped inside a spiral of negativity that is difficult to overcome.
This is the central theme that Mediartrix depicted in its musical Stages; Impossible Crossroads as part of its 25th-anniversary celebration last April 22 and 23. Written by Kiszhi Pagaduan and directed by John Mark Saga and Mae Calderon, the play tells the story of three college students and their journey towards overcoming their inner struggles.
Trindie (Lianne Sibal) constantly doubts herself and her capabilities; Alberto (Koj Custodio) struggles with finding a sense of belonging; and Luna (Chantelle Batac) suffers from a severe burnout from her passion. Together, they attempt to deal with their struggles and, at the same time, give support to one another.
Despite the restrictions set by the University that forced the production to premiere virtually, the use of various techniques paved the way to its overall success. This was noticeable when the entire cast sang their rendition of “No Day But Today” from the famous musical Rent. While dressed in black, they all appeared in the frame, blending with the scene. This editing choice made it seem as if they were in the same place.
In addition, the musical direction is phenomenal. Each song number managed to highlight the vocal range of each main cast, aided by the melody of those in the supporting roles. But despite the commendable audio mixing, there were parts wherein the vocals did not synchronize which eventually distracted the audience.
Apart from their mesmerizing vocals, the acting likewise manifested excellence.
Through subtle gestures and mannerisms, Sibal profoundly communicated Trindie’s relentless self-doubting impulses. Custodio’s somber expressions, partnered with the delivery of his lines, gave weight to the struggles in belongingness of Alberto. Lastly, Batac’s moving depiction of an emotional breakdown was conveyed naturally through her haunting solo, showcasing her musical prowess and acting skills in one scene.
Aside from the main characters, the supporting actors also add more to the story through their expressions and lines of dialogue in the background. With the choreography and the editing, their presence is reminiscent of an actual performance on a physical stage.
Given the themes that the musical explored, the story mainly deals with the plights of college students that may be relatable to the audience.
However, the plot seemed to lack the detail that would have differentiated it from those that have tackled the same issue. It comes across as cliche how it showcases that a single conversation easily remedies a complex problem of one’s psyche. The narrative would have benefited more from including realistic solutions such as getting help from mental health professionals alongside the support each character received.
Although the story does not offer anything new in this narrative of inner struggles, its emphasis on the importance of a support system in enduring one’s inner turmoil still holds true.
Overall, Stages; Impossible Crossroads imparts the idea that there will always be people ready to lend a hand regardless of what life may throw. It is only through holding on to a life that one will indeed be able to see the fruit of a challenging but fulfilling journey. F