Puppets Tell All

Life in Avenue Q portrays the real world.

I almost missed watching the Tony Award-winning musical Avenue Q staged at the Carlos P. Romulo Theatre in Makati because of heavy traffic. Although my friend and I arrived about thirty minutes after the call time, we managed to catch up. Before the play, I was so irritated because of the Manila traffic I experienced and I thought of renouncing my citizenship right then and there. But during the musical, my mindset changed and I decided that I should remain a Filipino. I was astonished on how Felix Rivera, Rachel Alejandro and other Filipino members of the cast (including Aiza Siguerra) performed. I was carried away by their acts plus their voices were superb. I cried and laughed several times during the whole production. Manila’s version of Avenue Q is one big thing to be proud of.

The play is about Princeton, who moved into Avenue Q, mainly to find his purpose in life. Other characters, namely, Kate Monster, Gary, Christmas Eve, Nicky, and Rod were also living in the same community and their lives were portrayed as well. The actors/actresses held puppets similar to those in Sesame Street and the approach was in the same manner. The difference is that instead of counting numbers, spelling words or reciting the alphabet, issues on sex, racism, homosexuality, marriage, money, decision-making, and (most of all) love, were tackled. It became much like a ‘therapy’ for me. I was able to see myself in the situations where the characters were in.

All the songs were full of meaning, direct to the point and lively (much like in Sesame Street.) The voice quality of Felix (as Princeton and Nicky) and Rachel (as Kate and Lucy) were powerful and versatile. Both of them were able to change their tone whenever needed because of their dual roles. This is the so-called ‘repeat’ performance produced by Atlantis so the production was unquestionably lovable and was comparable to that in Broadway (as Boy Abunda mentioned during his interview with the main characters last December 22 on ANC’s Private Conversations).

I learned a lot of things in life because of this musical. The play made me realize that there is a ‘fine line between love and a waste of time,’ ‘fantasies come true,’ and interestingly, a new word – ‘Schadenfreude’ – meaning, happiness in the misfortune of others (I bought a green promotional t-shirt with that German word on it). If I were given the chance, I would watch Avenue Q ten more times. Thanks to Youtube.com, I can hear the songs over and over whenever I crave for laughter, reality and love.

I know someday, I’ll find my purpose in life. Avenue Q took me one step closer.

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