(SPOT.ph) If you’re in your 30s, get-togethers with your college friends, who are the same people you spent countless nights drinking with, may not be as easy as before. Friday night-outs have to be planned ahead of time—taking into account the availability of a babysitter for the married couple, the workload of your career-driven friend, and other engagements of your socialite peer. It’s an all too familiar scene, and we’re seeing a version of it in the upcoming comedy musical Company. Staged by Upstart Productions, it runs from September 13 to 22 at the Maybank Performing Arts Theater in Bonifacio Global City. It is directed by Topper Fabregas.
Company, which was written by Stephen Sondheim (music and lyrics) and George Furth (script), was first staged in 1970 at the Alvin Theater on Broadway. It ran for 705 performances and won six Tony Awards from its 14 nominations. Almost five decades later, the story is more alive than ever with international adaptations and revivals all over the world—including a 1997 staging by Repertory Philippines.
When asked what makes Company so timeless, Joel Trinidad—Upstart Productions’ artistic director founder—tells SPOT.ph: "It's about commitment and marriage, which are universal. It tackles how everything evolves when you get older. Everyone gets that, understands that, how everything changes."
At the center of this #adulting tale is Bobby (OJ Mariano), a non-committal single man in New York City who’s celebrating his 35th birthday. Around him are his friends who are either married or engaged: Joanne (Menchu Lauchengco-Yulo) and Larry (Michael Williams), Peter (Ariel Reonal) and Susan (Nicky Triviño), Harry (Trinidad) and Sarah (Sweet Plantado), David (Chino Veguillas) and Jenny (Bianca Lopez), and Paul (James Uy) and Amy (Cathy Azanza-Dy). We find out more about Bobby, his friends, and even his exes through a series of vignettes, which—at the time—was unusual for full-length musicals.
"Whenever I read it, I see friends of mine who are actually these two, this couple, this couple," Mariano says about how Company resonates with a lot of people. "For most of my adult life, I was essentially Bobby, the main character. All my friends were getting married," Trinidad adds.
At the heart of this musical comedy is a multitude of insights about adult relationships, and some of the cast and crew were more than happy to chime in what they got so far from the Sondheim original.
Trinidad: I think the secret to [Harry and Sarah's] marriage is that they sincerely like each other. Love is fine—you need love, right? But they truly, truly liked each other. That's why they've been married so long. As long as there [are] love and like, it will work. But again, you have to always work for it. It's something that you have to build every single day.
Mariano: [Relationships are] not always perfect. I think it's better when it's not perfect. It's the flaws that make it really interesting and make it last longer. I think the point that you have to work on certain things is what keeps it going and makes the relationship really alive.
Fabregas: It's all or nothing. It's warts and all. You can't just dip your toes in the water. Commitment is a whole thing.
Plantado: [But] you still have to keep your individuality so you can be interesting when you're [with another person.]
With all these hugot-filled notions (and, possibly, hugot-laden lines) about love, it would be a waste not to catch Company when it opens and revel on what we’re feeling as adults from a different perspective.
"I guarantee you, if you're a human being with a heart, it will speak to you on an emotional level," Trinidad promises.
Company runs from September 13 to 22 at Globe Auditorium, Maybank Performing Arts Theater, BGC Arts Center, 26th Street, Bonifacio Global City. Tickets, priced from P1,500 to P3,500, are available through Ticketworld.