Hello. erm. again. You might think I jump at the sight of "FREE" in the subject of the mail I get, it's really not the case. I promised myself to get up and get out, do more things this semester to make up for my shitty life last semester and over the summer (where I moped and read Dostoevsky's work and decided to cherish my depression). So now I'm trying to jump at every opportunity thrown at me in the name of Carpe-ing that Diem... Um. Can I watch the Labfest with you? :)
How could I resist an appeal like that?
Last Saturday I finally got to meet Mixkaela and bring her to the scheduled trilogy of plays for that night, "XX and X" (Oggie Arcenas' "Seance," Allan Lopez's "Kasaysayan" and George Vail Kabristante's "My Padir is an OCW"). I had expected a twentysomething career woman with a weekend leaning towards the arts. Instead, there before me was a bright, young and smartly dressed gal, a student taking up Malikhaing Pagsulat (Creative Writing in Filipino) in UP Diliman. Watching the plays was simply twice as exciting with a kindred soul like her beside you.
With usual dispatch, Mixkaela has posted her thoughts on the plays (a condition I had slapped on the free ticket offer). They are a joy to read, not only because they are written with obvious care and intelligence, but also because they validate for me the reason why I offered free theater tickets to bloggers in the first place.
I'm hoping that such enticements for now would induce more of them to write about theater, until such time that they imbibe the habit by themselves. I don't particularly care whether they're for or against the plays they catch (or whether I myself agree with their views)--only that through this future quilt of online commentary, theater is acknowledged, first, as a presence in our midst, and, second, as a vital part of our culture.
If the likes of Time magazine and Newsweek have scuttled their drama pages (haven't you noticed?) and many local newspapers can't be bothered to cover theater with more regularity, then perhaps bloggers could do a better job with it.
Mixkaela's piece (excerpted below) certainly gives me hope--and the incentive to invite more people to try theater-going for a change and write about it in their own online corners.
On Oggie Arcenas' "Seance:" The first play had Professor Glecy Atienza (sya nga!) play a medium/ con-woman. A budding writer goes to her asking to channel the spirit of his dead writer friend so he can write something deserving of a Palanca Award. I liked this play, if only because it hits close to home. Writers desperate enough to call the dead for a bit of prestige through an award choked with politics to the hilt. This is cleverly written/ directed so the audience isn't sure if the spirit really was called or not. Good job.
On Allan Lopez's "Kasaysayan:" The second play, I liked a lot. I have a penchant for absurdist theatre. Or projectile shit. Whichever. A corporation (of sorts) decides that the best way to rake in profit is by reanimating corpses as workers. The dead workers will not have to take breaks or sleep or eat or live. But something is wrong with the project when the prototype (zombie worker man) starts to shit his briefs. I took it as a critique on the whole concept of work-- from bosses who will stoop so low to earn profit, to workers who are like corpses and don't feel anything anymore, and the whole system of the workforce being full of shit. Best line of the night: "Sanay na ako sa amoy ng tae. Kailangan." ("I am now used to the smell of shit. I have to.") Niiiice.
On George Vail Kabristante's "My Padir is an OCW:" The third one, I didn't like so much. Perhaps it's because I've been around Professor Jun Cruz Reyes too much. He doesn't like overly romanticized stories, and neither do I. Here's the deal: A transsexual becomes an overseas contract worker in Saudi, gets gang-raped and deported back to the Philippines. He meets up with his friend, the proprietor of a dying gay club and the surrogate mother of an orphaned young man. Complication, complication. The transsexual fucks the boy, finds out he is the father of the boy, more complication. The tranny kills himself and in the end, the boy becomes a transsexual and the star of the club. Hmm. The direction barely saves this story for me. I felt it was kinda tired. Oh well.
(Read her complete entry here.)
Mixkaela, it was fun, wasn't it? Thank you for the privilege!