The hills are alive and I am living.
When you say that you haven’t seen Rodgers and Hammerstein’s The Sound of Music (as in the classic movie starring the queen herself, Julie Andrews), you will most likely be welcomed with audible gasps and slight judgment. That was exactly what I experienced when I disclosed this secret to my friends.
It’s not like I had a boring childhood; I’ve participated in many singing workshops just like any kid with a frustrated stage parent. It’s just that the movie wasn’t something that I was introduced to, despite knowing most of the songs in the soundtrack. I sang My Favorite Things with my temporary summer friends, and even created a cute little choreography for Do-Re-Mi (a struggle for someone with two left feet). I was no stranger to the music of The Sound of Music; there was just no visual to match it in my head.
In my defense, I tried watching the movie twice in college. I’m familiar with the iconic twirling-on-the-hills scene, and even referenced it in some of my college reflection papers (theology and this musical go well for obvious reasons). But I’ve never gotten to the part where they introduced the Von Trapp children and how they’re important to the story.
So when I saw the London West End Production’s show for the first time in The Theatre at Solaire, everything made sense all of a sudden. The Sound of Music is about Maria Rainer (played by Carmen Pretorius), a virtuoso nun-to-be, and her being asked to take care of the Von Trapp children after their old governess quit. Growing up with a strict dad Captain Von Trapp (played by Nicholas Maude), the children was surrounded with little music and, well, love. You see it in the way they march to his direction whenever he blows a whistle (I mean, who does that?). Maria’s passion for music and compassionate nature won the hearts of the children to accept music in their lives, and discovering that they have the talent as well.
To be honest, I was just waiting for the songs of my childhood to be sung onstage the whole time. I finally knew what Do-Re-Mi meant to the Von Trapp children. The choreography was definitely unlike the one we had before, but they reminded me of the type of kids I hung out with at my summer singing workshops. The kids who played the Von Trapp children were selected from 400 hopefuls, and with the cast and production this big, they definitely gave that extra flavor and cuteness to every show.
As the show progressed, I slowly realized that it was actually set in Nazi Germany. Ultimately, the Von Trapp children were the main reason why the family — Maria included — was saved from Nazis. They agreed to perform at a festival and used that as a distraction to escape to the mountains where Maria was first seen in the first scene.
Five days after watching the show, I decided to give the movie another try. The story was pretty much the same, but there are some songs that are exclusive to the stage and film. At the end of the day, it doesn’t seem fair to compare the two but to those who grew up with the film, the theater production will rekindle that passion they once had. The difference lies in the experience. With no screen in between the actors and the audience, you will not only hear the sound of music, but feel it as well.
To those who, like me, are not very familiar with the show, let this production be your introduction. I did not have any regrets, and I’m pretty sure you won’t either.
Catch The Sound of Music at The Theatre at Solaire until Oct. 22. For tickets, visit ticketworld.com.ph.