Trumpets returns to C.S. Lewis with 'The Horse and His Boy' this November
By Walter Ang
Aug. 29 2015
Philippine Daily Inquirer
The book, about Shasta and his horse Bree and their journey to Narnia, is part of the seven-novel series "The Chronicles of Narnia," which includes "The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe."
Trumpets already has a musical version of "LWW" that debuted in 1997. It went on to have multiple restagings in Manila until 2002. It's also been staged in Guam and Singapore. It then had a 45-minute version for mall stagings.
Some of the actors who have played the Pevensie children are still in the theater profession: Joaquin Valdes (last seen in Actor's Actors Inc.'s "Red") and Topper Fabregas (cofounder of Red Turnip Theater company). Sam Concepcion and Paolo Valenciano are now in music recording and TV.
"LWW" was cowritten by Luna Griño-Inocian and Jaime del Mundo with music by Lito Villareal.
This time, for "The Horse and His Boy," Griño-Inocian rode solo.
"Jaime and I had always wanted to write another play from one of the `Narnia' chronicles and were even encouraged to do so by Douglas Gresham, stepson of Lewis himself, after he had seen `LWW,'" she says.
Trumpets president Audie Gemora split up Griño-Inocian (who is on Trumpets' board of directors) and Del Mundo (artistic director) for different assignments. Del Mundo was tasked to write the libretto for "The Bluebird of Happiness," which was staged in 2013, while Griño-Inocian was given "The Horse and His Boy."
But the two will be working together again since Del Mundo is directing.
"We argue-ay este, discuss passionately pala, a lot," she says, laughing.
Since this is a new play, both are not precious about their output in order to make it work. "We cut and edit as needed. We bargain, we trade. I'll agree to cut one portion if he concedes to give up another type of deal."
She says that adapting from a book is a challenge. "You want to retain the spirit of the story, stay true to the words of the author, yet have to give it a more dramatic twist."
They also had to run the script by the C.S. Lewis company for approval. "They actually veto ideas they deem too far off from the original."
Not a musical
"This adaptation is not a musical, so that the words and dialogue will be given more emphasis. But it will have music-in fact, it will be heavily scored and it will even have a theme song," she says.
Griño-Inocian says that audiences need not have seen "LWW" to appreciate the new play.
"Though you could call 'HHB' a sequel because it has characters in common with 'LWW,' it can also stand alone since the story involves totally new characters in totally new locales and happens after the occurrences in 'LWW.'"
"LWW" will have its 20th anniversary in two years' time, and there are plans to have a concert version with a full-orchestra-"If we can find the budget for it."
For audiences who've seen "LWW" and are worried that the play might not match the musical, Griño-Inocian assures that the scale of this production "will still be epic!"
And how to stage a show with talking horses in it? "Jaime and our set and costume designer, Mio Infante, are still keeping it a secret from all of us!" she says.
The lighting design will be by John Batalla, with movement by Dexter Santos, music scoring by Lito Villareal, and musical direction/arrangement by Jon Meer Vera Perez.
"The Horse and His Boy" runs Nov. 6-22 at Meralco Theater, Pasig City. Call 9014364 or TicketWorld 8919999(ticketworld.com.ph). Like on Facebook (HHBbyTrumpets).
Also published online: