HomeGood ShowSabel musical celebrates BenCab's 50 creative years

Sabel musical celebrates BenCab’s 50 creative years

Cypher Learning
Cypher Learning
Iza Calzado
Iza Calzado sketched by Bencab as Sabel [via Facebook]

BenCab’s most iconic muse Sabel will be presented as a musical on the occasion of the national artist’s 50 years in creating world class art.

Brought to life on stage in “Sabel: Love and Passion” the dancing scavenger lady character of Benedicto “Bencab” Cabrera’s art will be portrayed by actress Iza Calzado with direction and libretto by Freddie Santos, and musical direction by Louie Ocampo.

A teaser of the poetry, dance, music, and visual art show during a media briefing presented Calzado reciting poetry to introduce a scene, while a ballerina danced, and Gemora sang. Bencab did not take part in the creation of the storyline, although his sketch of Calzado as Sabel will be used in the stage production.

BenCab has revealed in interviews he drew inspiration for his Sabel series from a bag lady or taong grasa whom he saw from his window dancing in the streets of Bambang where he once lived. He would take photographs of her and made sketches of the woman wandering the streets. The iconic muse of Bencab’s works was introduced in his first exhibition and has since been a constant character whenever he tries a new stylistic approach.

Transformed into the theatre act “Sabel: Love and Passion” the muse is interpreted in Santos’ libretto as a tragic young woman who turns to dancing after enduring the tragedies of getting pregnant at a young age, being left alone to fend for herself, and being denied rights to her son, earning her the moniker the “crazy dancing lady.”

Sabel, Love and Passion

Lead star Calzado was at first reportedly taken aback by the challenge to deliver her lines in a poetic and theatrical manner. The actress eventually faced the challenge to appreciate the story after reading the full script and recalling her own father was once a dancer. Calzado has also admitted to wanting to be painted by maestro Bencab.

“The first time I read the text, I cried because it’s a father-daughter story… that involves dancing…Sabel really hit a personal spot,” shared Calzado.

The team credits the idea for the staging to BBC presenter Rico Hizon, a Bencab collector and friend who has been instrumental in putting together key people to finally stage the musical more than 10 years after he presented the idea to the artist. Filipino broadcast journalist Hizon learned of the Cultural Center of the Philippines ballet version of Sabel with Agnes Locsin in the lead and presented the challenge of expanding the dance into a complete musical theatre form.

The musical theatre interpretation of Bencab’s Sabel as the centrepiece of the year-long celebration of the maestro’s art goes on stage as “Sabel: Love and Passion” on April 30 at The Theatre in Solaire Resort and Casino in Manila with the special participation of theatre actor Audie Gemora, and the Philippine Ballet Theater.

Sabel, Love and Passion
30 April


P12,000 – VIP Section – Orchestra Center

– available through the BenCab 50 Secretariat.

Call 0928 691 3334 (Smart) or 0915 741 2362  (Globe) or email BenCab50@gmail.com

P6,000 – Orchestra Side (left & right)
P1,500 – Balcony

– available at all TicketWorld outlets & online (www.ticketworld.com.ph) & telephone 891-9999

Proceeds from Sabel, Love and Passion, and the yearlong BenCab 50 Creative Years celebration, will benefit the BenCab Art Foundation and the arts and environment programs of its principal project, the BenCab Museum.

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