Philippine Daily Inquirer, 02.19.2007
Two plays explore the thin line between absurd reality and comfortable delusion
Tennessee Williams described “The Glass Menagerie” as a “memory play,” where reveries happened to music and truth came “in the pleasant disguise of illusion.”
These words weren’t in his notes. They formed the opening lines of the play itself, spoken by the Narrator, Tom Wingfield.
This convention-busting opening allowed Williams to set both the spirit and style of the play: nostalgia, wistfulness—a looking back at the past with all the mournful, brittle hindsight of the present.
For a drama that thus began by announcing its intention to steep itself in the narcotizing effects of memory, Tanghalang Ateneo’s “The Glass Menagerie,” under Ricky Abad’s direction, spent an uncomfortable amount of time peering into—nay, preempting—the future.
The dreamy, rueful air that Williams brought to his most personal work—“The Glass Menagerie” most closely mirrored his own family life—curdled every time the play segued into its clairvoyant mode. More here...
Madness also serves as the defining motif in Tanghalang Pilipino’s “Ang Mga Huwad,” Rody Vera’s stage adaptation of F. Sionil José’s novel “The Pretenders,” under Chris Millado’s direction.
In José’s impassioned narrative on the infinite corrupting power of the Filipino upper class, the lunacy of Carmen Villa, the wife of the main character Tony Samson, might be construed as castigation for the collective sins of her social peers.
But while José tucked it near the end of the book like an afterthought, Vera and Millado have seized on the image of Villa’s tangled memories as the play’s dramatic anchor, the prism through which the story of Tony Samson would unfold onstage. More here...
Also in PDI, Shirley O. Lua offers another view of “The Pretenders (Ang Mga Huwad).”