By John Paul Egalin Abellera
Last May 29, “Quezon’s Game” opened in theaters nationwide. After reaping more than 20 awards from various international film festivals, the movie captured the hearts of Filipino viewers across the country.
But what made “Quezon’s Game” so relevant to Filipinos nowadays?
A lot of viewers said that the movie made them feel proud to be a Filipino, and this stemmed from the movie’s depiction of the true story of how a Filipino president defied all odds to do “the right thing”. Directed by Matthew Rosen and written by Janice Pérez and Dean Rosen, “Quezon’s Game” told the story of how President Manuel Quezon and his friends were able to bring 1,200 Jewish refugees from Nazi-occupied Germany. When the rest of the world closed their doors on the Jews, President Quezon opened the doors of the Philippines to them.
Two weeks after the release of “Quezon’s Game”, Teatro ni Juan, a community theater group based in Marikina, staged their original musical, “Ang Pagsalubong Sa Apatnapu.” With music, lyrics, and libretto written by Michaela Caranza, Mikko Ángeles, Wana Guevara and Kristine de Léon, the musical revolves around the residents of Marikina and a group of 40 Jews who were among the 1,200 saved by President Quezon in 1939. These 40 Jews decided to live permanently in Marikina. The musical showed the triumphs and hardships of the Filipinos and Jews in Marikina throughout the Japanese Occupation.
The musical seemed like a “sibling” to “Quezon’s Game.” Interestingly, the director of the musical, Mikko Ángeles, even asked the actors to watch “Quezon’s Game” in preparation for the production.
Community theater groups often have to make the most out of their limited resources. In the case of Teatro ni Juan, their theater is a found space - the garage of an old house, with no air conditioning and no permanent seats. Amazingly, the group was able to transform the small space into multiple settings with the ingenious use of lighting and props. It also helped a lot that all the actors are in their 20s. They charged the show with boundless energy from start to finish. It was quite a riveting performance. At the end of the show, one cannot help but admire the group's passion and dedication to theater. Those who enjoyed “Quezon’s Game” would surely enjoy “Ang Pagsalubong Sa Apatnapu.”
“Quezon’s Game” is still showing in cinemas nationwide. “Ang Pagsalubong Sa Apatnapu” is staged every Saturday and Sunday until July 14, 2019. Those who are interested to purchase tickets may contact Je Trinidad (09154954438) or Paolo Neyra (09561320995).
John Paul Egalin Abellera is a Creative Producer of QUEZON’S GAME, which was produced by ABS-CBN Films (Star Cinema), iWant and Kinetek.
Read more stories here:
Raymond Bagatsing names 3 of his celebrity crushes!
PHOTOS: ‘Quezon’s Game’ holds VIP premiere in the Philippines!
WATCH: The 'Quezon's Game' trailer uncovers Manuel L. Quezon's hidden legacy
LOOK: Raymond Bagatsing’s before and after in ‘Quezon’s Game’
‘Quezon’s Game’ racks in major awards from international film festivals!