Award-winning writer and film director Mars Cavestany watched the pilot episode of The Marcus & Michelle Show titled “Tabo”. Here’s what he thought of the concept, the glitches and the lapses during the live taping, and the onscreen chemistry of the co-hosts.
Dear Marcus and Michelle,
First of all, kudos. For whatever it took you to mount this pilot project, it definitely is a concrete, tangible achievement. Nothing can destroy the very spirit that fired the initial salvo -- and you did it! I think you both have a very good chemistry to begin with.
Given the finished product however, I believe you two are intelligent artists and responsibly mature enough to listen to criticism - separating the grain from the chaff.
I dare not say "Ang lalakas ng loob nyo!" because that is too much of a let-down, let alone derogatory and unproductive. I salute you both for forging something new. I know it is not easy to go against the grain, and I admire the same attitude of fearlessness and singularity of purpose with which you two have proceeded with aplomb (recalling my early 90s uphill struggle in bringing forth Filipinas Petals or Philippine Educational Theatre Artists League Sydney).
Maybe not straightaway, but I can almost feel in the air that your show shall eventually pack a fair punch. In particular, what the sum of you delivered is to me as much creative as it is revolutionary, given the artistic climate of the community in which we all operate, which as you well know, is truly one small fishing bowl to swim about notwithstanding our regional differences and geographic locations, associations and or attachments, peculiarities, etc.
It behoves me to cite further that the beauty of this project is that it cultivates and harvests grains from the pages of our ancient history to every nook and cranny of the Filipino community in Australia as you keep on planting a merry mix of pure local/Pinoy unmodified seeds as well as tried and tested Aussie delights. Despite some glitches and lapses, I can see that you have meticulously worked to establish and (will) bring back a wide selection of heritage and new grains that can first be grown and sown locally — in our adapted soil, under the climate of the times.
Important talaga ang MAGPULSUHAN kayo when you can almost read each other's mind so you can practically continue once sentence in the same breath as he/she started and end it with the same fervour and trend of thought. But I guess I'm asking too much when you are but TESTING THE WATERS so to speak.
The portions with graphics are most appealing, interesting and highly informative. You should use that as a style of the show that when each one of you is mouthing something THOUGHT-PROVOKING like a THEME or something IMPORTANT, it should be projected on the screen in the form of graphics to reinforce the conversation.
Your guest, ballet dancer-choreographer Novy Bereber, did his best to join the crazy bandwagon even dancing Gangnam style with the use of the tabos - with four people competing - won enthusiastically by the talented Andrew Mark Baris carrying the title "Miss Thailand.”
I guess, this is where I literally bow my head to you both, if it was indeed your idea -- how the simple but highly educative "TABO" theme and subject matter of the day defined our true nature as Filipino-Australians (Editor's note: Besides Baltazar and Rivera, former ABS-CBN staff Tet Ligon is behind the M&M Show concept).
In closing, I score Michelle extremely high on research and the ideation process that went with the scriptwriting no matter how flawed some portion turned out to be in actual execution. Marcus gets a medal too for sustaining with no mean feat the main throughline of action, never stealing the scene nor the thunder away from his sparring, creative partner which made them click, tick and sizzle in their own way.
All the best and I hope you pick up some pointers from my ten cents worth of critiquing ... my love to all, on and off the camera.
Episode 1: Tabo is available for viewing on YouTube here.
Episode 2: Tuyo and Episode 3: Karaoke will be recorded in front of a live audience on Sunday, April 17 at the Greater Western Sydney Performing Arts Centre in Plumpton (141 Hyatts Road). Bookings online.