In every love triangle, at least one person loses. Boy sees girl, a meet-cute ensues, and just when things are ripe for the happily-ever-after, it turns out that girl has boyfriend who is secretly in love with her. Sometimes the wedding just goes on, and sometimes it’s a triumphant exit from the friend zone, but in some cases, it’s just a sad ending for everyone, and nobody wins. Such is the case for the lead characters of Mula sa Buwan, a play adaptation of Edmond Rostand’s classic Cyrano de Bergerac. The French story is transformed by Pat Valera and William Manzano into a Filipino musical for the ages, but this ain’t your standard rom-com, warm-fuzzy-feeling fare. Everybody loves the heartbreak of a tragic hero and an unrequited love, but Valera and Manzano’s version delivers more than just that.
Set in 1940s Manila, the play begins right before World War II. The cast is introduced in a theater — theaterception, if you will — and preparations for a sarswela are underway. The love triangle plays out its introduction, with the lead character Cyrano (played by Nicco Manalo), handsome new-man-in-town Christian (played by Fred Lo, alternating with Edward Benosa), and the love interest Roxane (played by KL Dizon). Cyrano is a cadet with the kind of wit and talent that wins on both Jeopardy and American Idol, and a way with words that could woo all the ladies in town — only thing is, he has a nose that challenges Pinocchio’s, which leaves his self-esteem six feet below the ground. Roxane is Cyrano’s pretty girl-next-door childhood friend, and Christian is handsome and buff (read: hot) but not quite bright. You can probably guess what happens next with this love story and predict it scene-by-scene until the end, but contrary to the famous words of Calvin Harris and Rihanna, this isn’t what you came for.