Despite stirring controversy for its depiction of BDSM and glorification of abusive relationships, 50 Shades of Grey has opened up women's minds to explore more about sexuality. Its popularity has made it a best seller, even giving birth to a movie and now a musical parody called 50 Shades! The Musical Parody.
While 50 Shades! The Musical Parody shares the same R18 rating as the movie and the book, it is relatively tamer. For instance, though 50 Shades! The Musical Parody uses vulgar language (including those from the Filipino language), it does away with nudity. Instead, the musical presents the book's core elements in a comedic way through dirty dancing and subliminal songs while the cast remains fully clothed (save for the topless men). As Karel Marquez, who plays the role of Anastasia Steele in the musical, would describe it: “I’m like this princess in this cartoon na bastos [yun mga sinasabi].”
Those who have yet to read the book need not worry, because the musical gives a refreshing approach to this cultural phenomenon through the perspective of a non-fan reading 50 Shades of Grey for the first time. Even Bituin Escalante, who plays one of the female book club members, has yet to read the book in full.
Also, conservative people will not be scandalized by the musical parody because it talks about topics that are not normally discussed, such as sex, openly and candidly. "I think there's something about religious people: They are really heartfelt about religion but deep down they are some of the craziest, wackiest people I know," director Albert Samuels remarks, recounting their experience upon staging the musical parody at the southern part of US, known for being religious just like the Philippines.
The Manila cast of 50 Shades: The Musical Parody which includes Karel and Bituin.
Even if the play is meant to be funny, crazy, and dirty, Samuels and the rest of the cast point out that the audience, especially women, will learn more about empowering themselves towards the end of the show. “We all have that inner goddess in all of us, no matter how conservative we are… you are going to embrace yourself as a woman more [after watching this],” said Karel.
Catch Karel, Bituin, and other cast members of "50 Shades! The Musical Parody" from February 12 to 28 at Carlos P. Romulo Auditorium, RCBC Plaza, Makati City.
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