Echoing the Sound of a Man’s Anxiety

With my limited knowledge of musical theater, the only thing I know of the musical tick, tick… Boom! is that it was written by Jonathan Larson, the creator of Rent.  After doing a quick research, I learned that it is a semi-autobiographical musical about his struggle as an artist. Originally a monologue, it was restructured into a three actor musical.

jonThe musical focuses on Jon, an aspiring composer living in New York City. As he is days closer to his 30th birthday, he starts to question the direction his life is heading. He remains hopeful, though unsure that his work  Suburbia could make it on or off Broadway.

9 Works Theatrical’s staging stars Gawad Buhay awardee Jef Flores as Jon. He is paired with Tanya Manalang who plays Jon’s girlfriend Susan, as well as Karessa and many other supporting characters. While something seemed amiss in terms of the romantic chemistry between the two, both did not fail to amaze individually. Flores demonstrated remarkable endurance as he managed to maintain great energy despite the lack of breaks or even sips of water. Manalang’s soaring vocals, which is ultimately showcased in “Come to Your Senses,” can make jaws drop.


Ariel Reonal completes the trio as he plays Jon’s bestfriend Michael and like, Manalang, takes on various supporting characters. Reonal’s impressive vocals and dancing prowess added extra boost to the small cast.

Sitting through the hour and a half performance I couldn’t help but to relate with the plight of Jon. Being at that age and still unsure if you are in the right path can really be daunting. One can’t help but to compare with contemporaries who seem to have a firmer grasp of their future.

At that age, my classmates are either building their families or have stayed several years in their jobs. They already have the luxury to acquire assets or travel to various places. They are more stable.

michaelAt this age, I still feel like I am far from “there.” There are so many things that I dream but circumstances did not seem to go my way. I often think path I want to take does not seem to fit in the community I’m in. It’s like I am born in the wrong country or even, in a wrong social class. At one point, I felt so low that I could no longer look forward to my future. I was just stuck there – breathing and just waiting for things to be over. That is definitely not a way to live.

The dilemma between going for what I am passionate about (arts!) and finding ways to survive, still continues today. For now, I am trying to figure out the best way to balance my passions and finding a means to be able to sustain mysself.

I know, there are many who are similar to me, similar to Jon, who still wants to stay true to what we are passionate about. The thing is, I believe we don’t need to lose ourselves just for us to survive. I cannot see myself going through life with just an office job. No, I don’t have anything against office jobs in general. I just feel that it is not for me. There is more to life than just bodily nourishment. There is a soul and a spirit inside us that we should also feed.

In the world filled with aspiring creatives, it would take luck or fate or destiny to make it big. Honestly, I am not looking forward to being famous. I just want to be able to provide what I need and even just a few luxuries while doing the things I love. And more importantly, I want to see art being consciously incorporated in the daily lives of people – for the people to know that art is not a luxury.

We all can hear our ticks and booms. We just have to keep it all together and find which path leads you to your happiness.

9 Works Theatrical’s tick, tick… BOOM! runs through out the three weekends of October at Carlos P. Romulo Auditorium, RCBC Plaza, Makati City, Philippines.

You can also check out the review of 9 Works Theatrical’s tick, tick…Boom! by Kate Alvarez on The photos for the article are by yours truly. 😀


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