This Is Who We Are is a musical staged by students at the College of St. Benilde, hinged on friendship, and is the brainchild of partners Nuel Rivera and Christine Caberto. The story takes place in New Orleans and centers on a group of friends and survivors of Hurricane Katrina. Leading up to New Year’s Eve of 2014, the group struggles in the aftermath of the disaster that occurred over nine years prior.
Musical director Christine Caberto wrote the music; and while the songs are catchy enough, they end all too abruptly. After each song, the actors linger, and although they only do so for a few seconds, it seems as though they await the audience’s approval, resulting in an awkwardness that endures throughout the show. While it’s not the most distinctive aspect of the music, the songs are performed independently from one another, and lack the homogeneity required for the musical to coalesce into one coherent piece.
It is on the acting front where the show takes a dive, and it seems as though the creatives behind the show prioritized the actors singing capabilities over their acting prowess. The characters are two-dimensional and fall into the worst of archetypes.
The show is about loss, hope, and new beginnings and writer-director Nuel Rivera has churned out a story which is sincere at it’s core, but whatever heartfelt emotions he tries to establish in the show get drowned out by the constant influx of stereotypes and the less than mediocre choreography. There is much room for improvement in every aspect of This Is Who We Are. The Rivera-Caberto partnership, like their show, certainly has a good deal of potential, and it’s a shame that the material was frittered away.