Wednesday, June 20, 2007

ZZZ Zizzzles on Ztage (Zsazsa Zaturnnah, Camp Theatre)

Zsazsa Zaturnnah Ze Muzical combines bizarre setting, and fantastic good-vs- evil story with the the very real pathos that often underpins gay love.

It is self-proclaimed (or self-confessed) "camp theatre." Indeed, it flaunts homosexuality, plays on the "curious attraction that everyone -- to some degree ... has for the bizarre, the unnatural, the artificial and the blatantly outrageous." (Center of Gravitas)

ZZZ's playbill explains "camp" further:

Ang camp ay pananaw na nagtatampisaw sa artifice (ITSAFAKE), theatricalization (DRAMADRAMAHAN), irony (TARAY), playfulness (HARUTAN), exaggeration (EKSAZH!) at kawalan ng meaning (GAGA-GAGAHAN). (Susan Sontag)

Camp nga ba sya?

There is nothing fake, overly theatrical, playful nor inane when Ada, small-town beauty-parlorista, delivers the opening monologue.

"Sa buhay, may mga pangyayaring hindi natin maipaliwanag. Ang pagsabay ng buhos ng ulan at pagsikat ng araw. Ang pag-aaway ng aso’t pusa. Ang paglaho ng inasahang walang kamatayang pag-ibig. Gayunpaman, tuluy-tuloy ang buhay. .... Tulad ko. Ilang taon ko nang iniisip kung bakit ako ganito. Kung bakit malambot ang galaw ko. Kung bakit matinis ang boses ko. Kung bakit hindi ako…normal. ... Ngunit sa dulo, tinanggap ko na.
Bakla ako."

It is Ada who by some fluke transforms into a Darna-like character -- powerful, brave, beautiful, and babaeng-babae. In her skimpy sequined bikini, s/he basks in being a girl:
Babae na ako! Babae na ako! Mula kilay hanggang kuko! Babae na ako! Ang taray na ng lola! Sa akin nang korona! Tingnan mo… babae na ako!!! (I’m a gherl!) Ang taray na ng lola! (Ang ganda!) Awwww!!!

Ada, now Zaturnnah. then proceeds to fight one evil element after another that invades her village, threatening destruction and death. She doesn't do this by her lonesome but rather by inspiring her kababayan, including Dodong, the village hunk, to rally around her.

AT the end of the skirmishes with a giant frog, rampaging zombies and power-tripping extra-terrestrial amazons, , she and villagers emerge triumphant. But the superbabe is not unbruised. As she licks her wounds, she also nurses a heart broken by what she thinks is unrequited love for Dodong. She is weary, confused, -- and now wants to leave town for the bigger world.

And where is "camp" when Ada poignantly sings out her confusion and heartbreak?
Kailangan nang lisanin ko ang lugar na ito. Sa hawak niya ako’y nasasakal. Kunwari daw tanggap nila ako, pero alam ko’ng totoo. Ayoko na. Ayoko nang mabuhay ng ganito. ... Maiwan man kabiyak ng puso ko. Ano pa nga ba ang bago… nasanay na ako. Sawi na naman. Puso’y duguan ngunit kailangan kong lumisan. ... Talikuran man ang iniibig ko. Ano pa nga ba ang bago … nasanay na ako. Sawi na naman. Puso’y duguan ngunit kailangan kong lumisan

What she doesn't know is that Dodong has learned to love not only Zaturnnah the superbabe but also Ada, the gay parlorista. Ada isn't within earshot when Dodong sings:
Ikaw ang superhero ng buhay ko. Hindi ka man lumilipad, napakalayo ng iyong narating. Nais kong sumama saan ka man magpunta. Hawakan mo ako. Maglalakbay tayo. ... Tulad mo’y nagsimula akong managinip. Ang bugnot kong mundo binuhay mo. Ikaw ang superhero ng buhay ko. Pagod ka man ngayon, ako naman ang papasan sa iyo. Halika na sa piling ko, kita’y iuuwi.

The story ends happily as Dodong follows Ada out of the village amidst a rousing sendoff by grateful townsfolk.

The theatergoer comes away happily too after imbibing heady admixture of camp and soul.

(ZZZ still runs at RCBC Theatre Makati with the following playdates/time: June 15, 16, 22, 23, 24, 29, 30, July 1 - 8 pm; June 16, 17, 23, 24, 30, July 1, 3 pm. Call ticket world 891-9999 and CCP Box Office 832 3704).

Acknowledgment: Gibbs Cadiz, theatre blogger and PDI lifestyle desk ed.

Photo credits: Dine Racoma aka sexy mom, inspiring blogger and friend



MrsPartyGirl said...

thanks for sharing these excerpts, they're lovely. para na rin akong nakitampisaw :)

Heart of Rachel said...

Hi Anna. I haven't seen this play but heard lots of nice reviews about it. Thanks for sharing these interesting excerpts.

I also saw some photos on Dine's blog and I'm glad you both had a lovely time.

diogenes said...

Bloggers in a theater ;-) Wish I was there. Enjoy!

pining said...

from what I've read here, can I just say it's the campest of all camps?
bet you had a laugh... big time :-)

julie said...

When I was reading your post I was thinking, "How could she memorize all those lines and write them?" My question was answered when I finished reading the post, :D

You looked like you had a great time with Dine!

Gina said...

I bet you had a blast! I saw your pics taken after the show @ Sexymom's blog. Mukhang nag-enjoy kayong dalawa ha.

gibbs cadiz said...

hello ANNA! very glad that you enjoyed the musical--enough to write a very perceptive post about it! :)

auee said...

I thought you were writing/recording the lines while you watched

Thanks for sharing these, I've been hearing raves about ZZZ & I appreciate it now.

snglguy said...

Hmm, nice to read that you enjoyed the musical theater. Are you hooked yet? ;-)

Annamanila said...


I am glad you liked it! My first time to blog about theatre. :)

Will link you now ... that has been in my 'must do' list for some time.

Annamanila said...


I like ZZZ not only for its sights and sounds (visual feast, soulful music) bur also for the insights into gayness and gay love.

Annamanila said...


Wish you had joined Dine and me too! :)

Annamanila said...


Sinabi mo .. a laugh a minute! Tapos parang may pacry cry din ng konti. :)

Annamanila said...


I haven't memorized nga my cell phone number. haha

I got a "little" help with those excerpts, siempre. Pweo ang senti ng script for camp, di ba?

Annamanila said...


As I told Dio, wish you were here (there?) too!

Annamanila said...


You just don't know how long it took me to begin. I wanted to do something different, as I really don't know how to review theatre.

Ty again for the zzplendid zzz zzexperience. :)

mitsuru said...

iba pa rin talaga if you're watching a performance live. :)

so, what's next for annamanila? :)

try catching the italian movie masterpieces at the ccp if i'm not mistaken.

i'm a fixture sa mga free movies before sa ccp, good experiences sa personal treasure box:)

Major Tom said...

I've heard about this play before and I wonder if is purely a Filipino original. Maybe one day, CCP could bring this work to our shore down here in Zamboanga. Once CCP brought Les Miserable here and it was good...

Annamanila said...


You might say I was resourceful and found the script online when i browsed.

All best, Auee. I like your latest post .. or the latest that i read.

Annamanila said...


I have always liked theatre. When I was a mom of growing kids, i had limited opps and resources to go. Now, I think I will grab all invites and free tickets. haha Seriously, I am willing to pay for tickets na. Minsan lang problem ko transpo.

Annamanila said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Annamanila said...


Oo nga .. iba talaga ang theatre. You get involved, you get mesmerized.

I saw Cinema Paradiso and that made me a fan of Italian movies.

What's next for me? Maybe I will perform in theatre? haha Seriously, I will continue publishing pinoy diaspora pieces submitted to me by expats. Would you like to send me yours? :)

June 21, 2007 1:11 PM

Annamanila said...

Major Tom!

It's an original comic book story by Carlo Vergara but inspired by Mars Ravelo's Darna, then made into a movie which topbilled Zsazsa Padilla and Rustom Padilla, and now made into this riproaring musical play.

Jerry said...

I am sitting here wondering what special effects were used in stage to portray a superwoman. Did Zsa Zsa Zaturnnah fly around all over the stage?

exskindiver said...

hi annamanila!
where is your email listed? kinilatis ko ng husto pero hindi ko mahanap. in fact that is why i had to post the long pasakalyeng "judgement" in your comments.
sorry ha?
my email is
i will wait for your email.

Annamanila said...


Then you have to watch it. Go, Jerry.

Annamanila said...


Oh, if you had emailed your recap, I would have posted it myself on my blog. So, that was a good that you did it directly.

Emailed you.

chateau said...

Very nice review, annamanila. I like the excerpts. Feel na feel ko haha! I must go see it with my gay friend.. or maybe even with my sisters who are so gay too (in Filipino, baklang bakla! we sisters are, in case you have no idea, since I'm always demure with you LOL).

Annamanila said...


Sige, go see it with your gay or ungay friends/sisters. Talaga, babaeng bakla ka pala? Then camp it out the next time we meet okay? Kailang mo ba ako iistorbohin sa ofis ulit?

Annamanila said...


I forgot to tell you that you need to post an acceptance speech on my blog piece on 'your royal weirdness or mine.' Para may closure .. haha .. Tell me when we can have the awarding ceremonies.

Belle said...

Anna, it is nice to know that you and Dine are enjoying each other company.

i have always enjoyed watching high school musical show but i bet ZZZ is ten times better.

Annamanila said...


A fringe benefit to blogging I didnt reckon with! Yes, I made this wonderful friendship with Dine and a few others from online to real life!

Toe said...

Naku, panay gimmick si Tita Myrna ah. :) This looks like sooo much fun! Sana mapanood ko din. :)

Annamanila said...


That week .. talaga fully booked ang Tita. Her drivers complained. haha

It was riproaring fun.

sheilamarie said...

anna, you look lovely! and this sounds like an interesting play. i hope i get the chance to watch it on our next vacation

annamanila said...

Well, if you can't catch ZZZ you try to catch one of the local plays. There are so many good theatre talents na sa atin. :)

Ty, ty. How sarap your comment is.

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