Saturday, July 14, 2007

Our field of dreams

The trilogy was called "Identity and Politics," but after the tense first play, a psychological thriller that had elements of incest and violence, I turned to Lalah and asked her, "Okay ka lang ba, di ka naman na-shock?"

I needn't have worried. Lalah, a Political Science graduate of De La Salle University who now works as a researcher in a food manufacturing company, looked prim but was game for the sometimes startling turns that indie theater could take. She had seen her fair share of local productions, and she had specifically asked for this segment of the Virgin Labfest, the very last set I was scheduled to watch with a blogger.

"Sanay na ako," she assured me, laughing. Her post about the three plays she saw illustrates not only her open attitude to risk-taking stories but also her interest in questions of politics, power and the nature of social transactions. Some highlights:

On Job Pagsibigan's "May Bumubulong:" The play touched on several issues, mostly on personal and social psychology vis-à-vis politics. This was reflected in Gerald’s search or creation of his identity. The whisper that kept on haunting him since his teenagers years was a metaphor for the repressed emotions and fear about life. Such was also apparent in the two brothers’ exploration of their body (masturbation and sexual encounters). Second, the play also touched on the issue of power conflict within the family. Alex’s decision to sell their house without consulting his adoptive younger brother reflected the kind of power that is apparent in a family (the dominance of the elders). But beyond that, the play also captured how this power can be abused – sexual abuse of Alex to Gerald. Lastly, the play was also effective in communicating how a personal power struggle and societal conflicts affect a person character and creation of identity.

On J. Dennis Teodosio's "Pobreng Alindahaw:" The play was a great allegory for man’s daily struggle. Who doesn’t encounter existentialist angst from time to time? We often find ourselves in despair of what our lives have become. “Pobreng Alindahaw” was a hilarious wake-up call for reviewing how we actually look at the worth of our existence. While others may appear to have overwhelming success and happiness (like Genaro’s perspective of a butterfly), there’s always a space for despair and even longing. There’s always a moment in our life that we feel insecure. It pictured that life is about acceptance, struggle, and dream. There’s nothing wrong in dreaming or wanting something grand for as long as we are aware and still appreciate our worth (just like Genaro’s realizations).

The earlier parts of the play were bit boring and trying-to-be hilarious though. Such feelings had probably something to do with the ZZZ ["Zsa Zsa Zaturnnah"] effect--it has set standards as to what is witty and funny. Luckily, in the middle of the play, actors were able to recover and commence a more lively, witty, and funny enough punch lines and acting. The use of live musical score added grace to the play. Generally, the essence and the moral of the story were effectively communicated.

On Rogelio Braga's "Sa Pagdating ng Barbaro:" "Liars go to hell." This may seem a cliché but it’s the reality reflected in the play. Not all we know and experience are 100-percent true. Some people are guilty of creating stories to enable them create their identity. Because of these lies, we are dumbfounded that we are living in hell. Another interesting thing about the play was its attempt to illustrate the cultural-religious conflict between Muslims and Christians. It has perfectly highlighted the current military conflict in Mindanao alongside the seeming immunity and apathy of the people.

(Read her complete entry here.)

I haven't told them yet, but Lalah and the other bloggers who had availed of the free tickets I offered in this site made my two-week Labfest-watching experience an eye-opener. Practically everyone in the group was young, keen on theater and could express him- or herself reasonably well. As a friend chirped after he read the first couple of reviews from them (here and here), "Quality naman ang mga napili mo!"

Which I had to correct--I didn't choose them, I hadn't met them before the Labfest. But they took their chances (as I did, since I'm not too good with small talk and it takes me a bit to warm up to strangers), and now I feel good about the whole experience.

That they turned out to be interesting people and eager companions to the theater was a joy. But that they chose to watch a bunch of untested, non-commercial original Filipino plays on an afternoon or evening when they could have been out malling or watching a Hollywood movie told me that there IS hope.

Build it, and they will come.


huami said...

Thanks for the opportunity, Gibbs. It's good to know that you've enjoyed the the theater-watching experience with us (lucky bloggers). I'm sure everyone who had the opportunity to watch the Labfest with you enjoyed the experience as well.

I know you'll come up with more similar promos (for the lack of term) to entice other bloggers to watch a local play and write about the Philippine Theater.

Thanks again. :)

Jap said...

Awww, what a sweet thing to do =) seems like a nice worthwhile activity too. Sana maging regular at sana ako rin makasama sooooon =) Keep up the good work, Gibbs =)

Keitaro Hanazawa said...

Gibbs! Sana next time katabi ka na namin manood ni pare ng play. But even if hindi ka namin nakasama ng matagal, I still thank you for informing us about the labfest!

t was really a new experience for me, and the three hours that we spent in CCP were life-changing. Ang dami naming na-realized. And like you, we felt na mas masaya manood ng Original Pinoy plays, kesa magpaka-bum sa house, watching nonsense Hollywood movies. :)

Anonymous said...

Hey Gibbs,

I love Field of Dreams. What you're doing is indeed admirable. No better way for people to appreciate theater than by watching theater. Keep up the building and i'm sure they'll keep coming.

(yup leaving a comment so you know I visited)

gibbs cadiz said...

hi LALAH, glad to see ya here! thanks for the review. :)

hey JAP, i've a promise to you, right? lemme know when you're back in manila and isasama din kita. :)

salamat din, FRANKIE! guess kitakits na tayo nito every now and then sa ccp, hehe. keep your eyes peeled for announcements of new plays here. :)

hi RICHARD, thanks for dropping by and posting a comment. appreciate your visit. :)

Hogi said...

Hi Gibbs,

I could be wrong, but I haven't seen a review of Virgin Labfest 3's "International Night" yet.

Your idea of inviting someone to go with you to every Labfest play was great. Hope I get to have the opportunity to join you one time. I'm a big fan of your blog and I enjoy reading your reviews.

gibbs cadiz said...

hi HOGI! you're right, no write-up yet on the labfest's international night. very perceptive of you! that was the only segment i saw with no guest blogger keeping me company. somebody reserved the slot but backed out at the last minute, so i just offered the free ticket to a non-blogger friend who was also at the ccp. :) thanks for the kind words. i'd be happy to have you join me one time. let's keep in touch here. :)

Hogi said...

Hahaha, I was looking for a write-up of International Night because I was somewhat a part of it. I can't seem to find any reviews of that particular set anywhere.
Wasn't Hendri the one you were with when you came to watch? I saw him sitting next to you from where I was.

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