Watch a play.
C'mon, quit the groaning now. And careful with those rolling eyeballs, baka mahipan ka, di na bumalik 'yan.
Just think: at P200, or at most P300--perhaps a third of what you'd spend on average going to the mall, dining out, buying popcorn and watching a movie, and enjoying your favorite overpriced Starbucks latte afterwards--you'd get to see a live performance. On stage, right in front of you, with actors that are, pound for pound, some of the most talented people, or at least the most hardworking, you'd ever encounter.
These are people who'd rehearse their parts for two to three months without pay, then do a run of at most three weekends, at salaries that wouldn't even pay for their daily transport.
That means that, barring any penchant for sado-masochism on their part, these folks are in theater acting their guts out purely for love of their craft and their audience. Allow them, and such potent passion emanating from the stage can only give you the kind of unique, intense and wholly unexpected pleasures we associate with true art.
Theater is no place for wimps and wusses. Choose a reputable drama company and, chances are, what you'd get is bang for your buck in terms of sheer commitment.
This weekend, instead of heading to the multiplex and being forced to watch "Spider-Man 3" (there aren't any other choices, right?), why not give play-going a try?
Three shows are marking their final playdates tomorrow and Sunday:
1. Dulaang UP's "Sa Ngalan ng Anak," based on Arthur Miller's "All My Sons," at the Teatro Hermogenes Ilagan, UP Diliman. Floy Quintos--"Startalk" brains, "Pinoy Pop Superstar" panelist, respected actor, playwright and director--raved about this production in a text message he sent me. If it's expert opinion you want before lining up for a ticket, there you have it. I'm excited to confirm for myself tomorrow afternoon.
2. Entablado's twinbill production of Marcelino Agana Jr.'s "New Yorker in Tondo" and JB Capino's "Commonwealth of Virginia," at Ateneo de Manila University's Rizal Mini-Theater. Satire and searing drama competently performed by young Ateneo thespians. Watched it last night and found it worth going all the way to Katipunan for, despite the strange midsummer downpour.
3. Dulaang Sipat Lawin's (of the Philippine High School for the Arts) presentation of Liza Magtoto's "Agnoia" and and George de Jesus III's "Sala sa Pito," at the CCP's Tanghalang Huseng Batute. Two Palanca award-winning plays that deserve to come to life on stage, and in the hands of youthful but gifted actors from the country's premiere arts school (which, by the way, is still in sorry condition after typhoon Milenyo's devastation last year). Will catch the final performance of this twinbill on Sunday afternoon.