Friday, April 18, 2008

Taghalang Ateneo stages 'May Day Eve'

Tanghalang Ateneo opens its 30th season with a stage version of Nick Joaquin's "May Day Eve," a tragic tale of love found and love forgotten in the patriarchal 19th- century Philippines.

Adapted for the stage by Alberto S. Florentino, "May Day Eve" moves from the blissful light of young love to the dark shadows of disillusionment. Don Badoy Montiya, now a grandfather, visits his old house in Intramuros, which holds happy memories of his youth. A homecoming party stands out as the moment when he meets and falls in love with a feisty Agueda. Agueda, however, resists Badoy’s advances. But her mind changes when she learns from an old nanny that she’d be able to see her future spouse by reciting an incantation in front a mirror. Agueda does so and, much to her surprise, sees Badoy’s image on the mirror. Agueda’s resistance weakens and the couple eventually marry and start a family.

The shadows come when Don Badoy learns from his grandson that when she was alive, Agueda has looked into the mirror and seen him as a devil. Badoy shares the experience: he now sees a witch every time he peers into the same mirror. Badoy reflects on the death of love, and the ache of disillusionment becomes unbearable. He suffers a stroke.

Tanghalang Ateneo’s production retains the period and manner of the original text and reads the play as a swan song, or a final goodbye, of sorts. Burdened by a loveless life and incapable of handling his disenchantment with romance, Badoy feasts on a last meal of memories that will eventually destroy him.

Professional stage actors work in tandem with student actors in bringing "May Day Eve to life." Bodjie Pascua plays the older Badoy, while Gelo Brillantes acts out the part of the young Badoy. Nady Xavier plays the older Agueda while Ysabel Yuzon handles the role of the young Agueda. Naty Crame Rogers does a cameo appearance as Anastacia, the nanny who informs Agueda about the mirror, while student actors Jaru Hermano, Tito Cosejo, Samboy Lim, Crix Untalan and Reige Arceo perform the parts of the young Badoy and Agueda's friends.

Performances will run for two weeks in May. The shows on May 7-10 will be in English while the shows the following week, May 14-17, will be in Filipino using the translation of Jerry Respeto. Ricardo Abad directs, Gino Gonzales does the production design and Voltaire de Jesus lights design. For ticket information, contact Janelle Mupas at 0915-6410911.

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