Layout By Vincent Yap
Layout By Vincent Yap.

Mula sa Buwan: Illuminating with hope amidst the darkness of times

An ode to misfits, fools, and dreamers, the restaging of the hit Filipino musical Mula sa Buwan tells a story of hope and strength during violent times—a reminder that love persists and so will Philippine theater.

By Kate Loreno | Saturday, 1 October 2022

Directed by Pat Valera, the hit original Filipino musical “Mula sa Buwan” graced the stage at the new Samsung Performing Arts Theater in Circuit Makati from Aug. 26 to Sept. 18 with grandiose production design and lively musical numbers.


The play is based on the French play Cyrano de Bergerac by Edmond Rostand and the Filipino translation of Soc Rodrigo. The original French play and the Filipino adaption tell a story of unrequited love, questioning beauty standards, and hope of a country during the imminent dangers of war.


From the adaptation and direction of Pat Valera, Mula sa Buwan is a modernized sarsuwela set in the 1940s war-ridden Manila wherein soldier Cyrano (Myke Salomon) is in love with his childhood friend Roxane (Gab Pangilinan). As Cyrano picks up the courage to admit his feelings, Roxane confesses that she fell in love with the charming Christian (Markki Stroem). Though it is a story about love told in beautiful poetry, political unrest and the country’s struggle for freedom is a looming presence over the glistening romance.


Live theater is back!

Alongside the three main leads, the production includes the show-stopping musical ensemble with its leader Rosanna, played by Phi Phalmos who was just oozing with stage presence; MC Dela Cruz playing Maximo; Jon Abella as Tato; and Jillian Ita-as as Gabriel. 


The artistic team behind the musical comprises William Elvin Manzano for the original lyrics and music; Mikko Angeles for assistant direction; Myke Salomon for musical direction; Ohm David for set design; Meliton Roxas Jr. in lighting design; JM Cabling for choreography; Bonsai Cielo in costume design; and Viñas DeLuxe for wigs.


The creation of productions during the COVID-19 pandemic is still new to the industry. The actors, ensemble, artistic team, and production crew all have powered through rigorous reintroduction to performance work and handled a COVID-19 instance efficiently by moving their closing weekend show dates. After an almost three-year hiatus from the theater due to the pandemic,  It is a delight to witness the stage be lit up with performers in front of live audiences once again 


A couple of missteps

The play starts strong as it opens with a ghost light illuminating the center of the stage. The imagery piques the heart of theater-lovers and theater practitioners as the absence of the stage for years has affected not only the joys of theater-watching but the practitioner’s livelihoods as well. The ghost light stands as a reminder that theater survives and will continue to persevere even after the hardships it has been through.


Aside from the heartwarming dedication to the opening of theaters in the show’s prologue, a lot of action during the first scenes of the show gets lost behind the sound mixing. Lines from the performers and verses of songs are unheard and at times, incoherent which results in the audience’s confusion during the story’s exposition, especially if one is a first-time audience member. A few other issues with the loudness of the fog machine and creaks of wheels from the moving set pieces can also be noticed throughout.


After the exhilarating first act, the second act bears a heavier atmosphere. It goes straight into the middle of warfare where Filipino countrymen were left stranded, injured, and dead. Though there are significantly fewer musical numbers in the second act, the weight of the emotions is bridged through poetically spoken lines, melancholic yet beautiful choreography, and heartbreaking solos from the main leads.


The almost 180-minute play has been slowly leading up to a revelation about Cyrano’s letters; How he would write letters filled with love confessions to Roxane disguising himself as her husband, Christian. But as that moment of revelation comes, the scene between Roxane and Cyrano becomes underwhelming with only a prolonged, run-on monologue from Cyrano supporting the action where unfortunate plot holes come to the surface. Suffice it to say, the ending lacked definite punctuation.


Despite the technical and storyline issues, the original Filipino hit musical Mula sa Buwan succeeds in instilling hope and telling a timeless story about how love continues to be a driving force that pushes us to fight for our freedom. May it be set in the 1940s or 2020s Philippines, the story speaks to the persistence of Filipinos wanting to be free from oppressive regimes—reminding us once again of our duties to our country and our collective strength.


From one of the songs of the musical, let us remember, Matatapos din at mauunawaan kung ano ang saysay nitong labanan. Ang mahalaga hindi natin malimot na marunong pa rin tayong magmahal.” 

Catch the hit musical Mula sa Buwan returning to the stage on Dec. 2 to 4 and 9 to 11 at the Samsung Performing Arts Theater in Circuit Makati. Tickets will be available through Ticketworld starting on Oct. 3. For further details and updates, check out their Facebook page here.



Last updated: Saturday, 1 October 2022