Musical tackles homosexual discrimination

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Mediartrix stages “Bb. Bahaghari” to cap off its 22nd season at the Albertus Magnus auditorium. MARK DARIUS M. SULIT

CAPPING off their 22nd season, Medriatrix commemorated the first homosexual “Pride March” in the country in its musical production, “Bb. Bahaghari,” which ran April 29 to May 4 at the Albertus Magnus auditorium.

Written by architecture student Emilio de Leon, the musical was inspired by the 1994 parade of the Progressive Organization of Gays in the Philippines. It sought to replicate the first gay pride parade in New York in 1970, which in turn capped the Stonewall riots by homosexuals protesting discrimination in 1969.

Set in the 1990s, the musical revolves around Red, a closeted gay who finds comfort in writing and publishing homo-erotic poems under his pen name, “Bb. Bahaghari.” The poems infuriate conservative readers, making Red a prey to violent retaliation.

De Leon said he wrote the play to help in the LGBT (lesbian-gay-bisexual-transgender) advocacy.

“[I] wanted to show how Red, despite all his limitations [in information dissemination to spread his advocacy] and insecurities, decided to act for the LGBT [community] through his poems,” said De Leon.

“Kung may opportunity ka o kakayahan upang magsimula ng pagbabago, gamitin mo,” he added.

The drama is notable for combining spoken-word poetry, musical accompaniment, and outright original songs, composed by JC Torio and Archie Pangilinan of the Musikang Sikat ng mga Tomasino (Musikat).

“Ako Ang Simula,” composed by Torio, was a song of rebellion and protest, best reflecting Red’s stand.

“I wrote that song to encourage the youth to try and make an impact in our society, ” Torio said.

Mediatrix is a university-wide performing arts organization that stages musical productions.

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