Rhythm is gonna STOMP ya!

The sky didn’t know if it was going to let out stronger rains or let the sun continue shining this afternoon, as I made my way to Manila to attend the Stomp press preview. Little did I know that this kind of “indecisive” will it/will it not dichotomy would also be prevalent in the event I was about to attend.

Dustbin covers?

As I sat among the crowd of media people at the CCP main theater lobby, one of the presscon organizers started suggesting how the media could conduct the interviews after the 3-minute sample performance. She was also not sure how to go about it, as there are 8 performers and there were more than 8 of us media people who, I’m sure, wanted a one-on-one “exclusive” with any of the cast members of the show. Me, I just went with the flow, as I always do in press conferences like this one. What I really wanted to see is the performance.

Good thing I have a new and handy digicam with me, with better video quality this time. Well, somewhat. It was able to capture the performance I’ve been wanting to see live all this time, ever since I heard of this show years ago, and seen samples on the internet.

And here it is, live in Manila, right in front of me:

Not quite the spectacle I was hoping for, but the sounds and the movements were just as cool.  It’s understandable because of the impromptu set-up at the lobby, which is not really very conducive to acoustic-oriented performances. But it’s cool. Plus, it was only an excerpt. Of course what’s missing is the main ingredient — the main “storyline” to follow — or more like a plot, a step-by-step, but with beats.

One of the cool women performers.

As some of the cast members aptly told me (yes, I was able to get one-on-ones after all), there is no strict story that one will follow in this show unlike in most Broadway or West End shows, but there are pieces of performances, kind of like a revue, I suppose. And words won’t be present, for it will be visual, aural, and just tripping the senses fantastic, perhaps. The press release says there’s a “visual comedy” aspect to it. Let’s see what it will offer.


Another write-up described it as a “physical theater performance” wherein the human body is also used not just for choreography and the high-energy physical movements (think jumping while slamming or drumming up something and moving around and about the stage) but also as a musical instrument, as one male performer told me. Different audiences around the world react differently to their performances at the beginning, one female performer said, but towards the end, all feel this elation, this joy, an obvious result of being “infected” by the rhythm started out onstage.

drums and sticks

What type of rhythm is it, one might ask. Well, let’s see — the rhythm of everyday things, actually. They have some sort of trash cans like the one Oscar The Grouch lived in on Sesame Street (the show is UK-US originated, after all; this cast is from the UK production though); a huge plastic drum which I suspect is somewhat similar in purpose to our local Orocan water drums; some blue drums with black covers, the kind I remember from my childhood days when taking a shower meant not getting under a showerhead but getting water from a huge drum using a small scooper; and of course, your standard wooden drumsticks. Plus their hands.

More than the hands, check out his hair! Cool!

Gosh, what mighty strong hands these performers must have developed by now, especially since most of them have been performing for more than 5 years now! I remember, during my first arnis lesson, how painful it was for my hand when the arnis stick hit another stick, as I had to stabilize it as it sent some sort of shock or movement due to the hitting sticks. Now imagine these performers holding drums and sticks and hitting them all over. Ouch! Now that’s talent and skill!

Imagine the performers — talented and trained dancers and choreographers, in their own right — moving in a cadence in sync with one, then two, then all of their other co-performers, then making their own moves separately, then with one, then with two, and so on. Yes, the performance is that dynamic. I am guessing the show would be, as well.

Can you say "dynamism?"

Before the preview began, a backstage person traveling with the show gave out earplugs to everyone. “The show’s gonna be loud!” he said in his kinda British or kinda Australian accent (I can’t decipher). But as you could hear in my video, it wasn’t that loud. Or perhaps my ears are used to such beats already, since I have been an avid fan of drums and drumming of all sorts all my life. I guess these people should see how some drumming performances are done here in the country; they might get some inspiration. So as the performance began, I just pocketed my earplugs and treated them as “Stomp souvenirs,” like what the presscon person said. It’s funny, come to think of it, that one of their souvenirs is a pair of earplugs.

Earplugs? Looks like candy to me.

The preview was a good sampler of things to come in this show. If you like non-verbal type of performances and are open-minded enough to see a different kind of musical-dance performance, then head to CCP to watch this show.

I will do a full review when I have seen the whole show. And I can’t wait to see its entirety.

The whole cast poses. Finally, a stable shot!


(I am not writing this in your usual press release / press announcement type of style, mainly because I am getting tired of seeing that style everywhere in quad-media, and I have gotten tired of writing such stuff myself. Plus I want readers to have a sort of experiential feel to it, in order for them to somewhat picture the event and sample how it felt, especially with this kind of show. But yes, we will still do the usual press release duty of announcing pertinent details so here goes…)

Stomp will just have 8 performances in their Manila run, which actually started tonight, October 18, and will end on October 23. Tickets are already available at Ticketworld outlets (check out their website at ticketworld.com.ph). Tickets range from 700 to 7,000 pesos. Check out the CCP seat plan before buying to make sure you get a good spot to see this performance.

Just check it out. It’s a treat.


~ by leaflens on October 18, 2011.

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