The masterpiece of Balagtas follows the story of a Zafira, a princess from the tribe of Marruecos who thirst for justice after her father Mahamud was murdered by a Tedenst. Like a Romeo-Juliet set up, Zafira fell in love with Orosman, one of the sons of Boulasem, leader of the enemy tribe. With Gulnara, Zafira asked help from Zelim, the leader of Duquela to slay the murderers of her father. This how the quest for justice and love of Zafira and Orosman had started.
Just when I thought, Dulaang UP and all the performers had shown their best in 2010 that really amazed me. The 2011 production really surprise me from the costume, effects, fight scenes and how actors portrayed their roles. Let me discuss it one by one; the costumes were improved it gave more distinctions between tribes, which unlike before the only thing I can recall was Maurrecos are those with red stitches and accessories, while the remaining tribe it is hard to distinguish. With a bigger space it gives the actors move freely to execute fight scenes including with the props and acrobatic stunts which was rare to do in the UP campus.
Music and lighting effects helps to add with the emotions of each character. I really love how the group of Dexter Santos (Director) and Carol Bello (Musical Director) combines regional instruments with the modern equipments and create wonderful music and it goes very well with the actors singing, acting and choreography. It just when I saw Orosman at Zafira last Friday (Feb 4), I can barely hear some actors because the music is louder and their voices. I just hope the group could correct that in the succeeding performance.
I'm still fascinated with the vocal prowess of Tao Aves (Zelima), and Jean Judith Javier (Gulnara) which are still doing their roles this year. I saw them singing in 2010 and their voices are so powerful. While Maita Angeli Ponce and Sarah Delfine Buencamino who played Zafira alternates were great in doing their roles; Maita was the Zafira last Feb 4, while I saw Delfine perform the prayer during the press conference last January.
Orosman at Zafira, tells the story how women can be brave and strong. The Balagtas' creation gives the limelight to women and how they can empower themselves and fight for their right and justice.That is why this play is worth watching as it reaches out to the main stream audience.
Orosman at Zafira includes performers like Jay Gonzaga (Orosman), Maita Ponce and Delphine Buencamino (Zafira - alternate), Tao Aves (Zelima), Roeder Camañag (Abdalap), Red Concepcion (Aldervesin), Kevin Concepcion and Acey Aguilar (Zelim - alternate), Jacinta Remulla (Gulnara), Jean Judith Javier (Gulnara), Nazer Salcedo (Boulasem), Neil Tolentino (Mahamud), Felipe Ronnie Martinez (Ben-Asar), and the Dulaang UP Ensemble. The artistic team of OROSMAN AT ZAFIRA includes Tuxqs Rutaquio (Production Designer), John Ilao Batalla (Lighting Designer), Anril Tiatco, Katte Sabate, and Patrick Valera (Dramaturgs), Mara Marasigan (Assistant Director), Via Antonio (Associate Choreographer), Irish Pangilinan (Associate Musical Director), and Lao Rodriguez (Accessories Designer). The production team is composed of Atty. Darwin Mariano (Executive Producer), Carlo Francia (Associate Producer), Toots O. Tolentino (PR/Publicity Consultant), Ida Elopre (Production Manager), Ohm David (Technical Director), Loraine Macatangay (Stage Manager), Cherry Bong Edralin (Marketing Manager), and Jojit Lorenzo (Photography).
Orosman at Zafira will be presented at the Centerstage in SM Mall of Asia on Feb 4 (8pm), Feb 5 (10am, 3pm and 8pm), Feb 11 (8pm), Feb 12 (10am, 3pm and 8pm), Feb 18 (8pm), Feb 19 (10am, 3pm and 8pm), Feb 25 (8pm), and Feb 26 (3pm and 8pm). For non-Metro Manila, according to Mr.Mariano he is currently coordinating with SM Malls for staging Orosman at Zafira in other regions like in Visayas and Mindanao. But for now tickets for Orosman at Zafira is available at the SM Ticket booth. For more information visit http://www.orosmanatzafira.com.