“In the performance we caught, Nonie Buencamino (alternating with Teroy Guzman) played Otelo and Irma Adlawan-Marasigan (alternating with Missy Maramara) played Desdemona.
“Both veteran actors fill the stage with their strong presence and consistency. But the play is usually a showcase for the actor playing Iago, as he is onstage almost the entire first act. In this case, Ron Capinding (alternating with Rody Vera) pulls off the role convincingly, filling the character with constant agitation and disturbing menace...
“The entire cast has a wonderful 'sense of performance,' giving an oratorical, almost melodic, delivery to the Filipino lines, that does not, thankfully, deteriorate into melodramatic ham.
“The final scene is a picturesque rendering as Otelo falls beside his wife, his long robes draped fully across the bed like an Aubrey Beardsley illustration, very much the defeated posturing peacock.”
Travel. Colleague Tino Tejero applies his wry, graceful writing to capturing the rhythms of old Beijing, beyond the razzmatazz of the recent Olympics and the city's mad rush to modernity, in “The city you must see before you leave,” which appeared in yesterday's Inquirer Travel.
The opening lines are irresistible: “You know you’re in Beijing when you sit for dinner à la carte and read the menu describing the herb-encrusted steak as 'fragrant wonderful fat cow.'”
What follows is an appreciative survey of the “wondrous poeticism” of ancient Chinese culture, ending full circle with the invitation, “Perhaps as farewell dinner before leaving Beijing you’d have the obligatory Peking duck? Why not a golden-roasted spring chicken--and when you read the menu describing the pullet as 'chicken without sexual life,' you realize it’s hard to say goodbye.”
Turpitude. Say what you will of F. Sionil Jose's novels (a good many don't like them for their clunky English, heavy-handed symbolism, etc.) but the man remains the nation's conscience in an age of myopic memories and disposable morals. From yesterday's Philippine Star, here he is explaining why he prematurely left the necrological rites at the CCP for the recently-departed National Artist for Music Lucrecia Kasilag, a dear friend of his:
“Permit me to tell you of my regret and anger the other day when I was at the CCP for King Kasilag’s necrology. Before the start of the service, I was ushered to the backstage--a departure from the usual manner by which we honored our departed National Artists. After I had offered my bouquet to King, I walked to my assigned seat and was surprised to see Imelda Marcos before me. Had I known that she would be there, I would not have attended the necrology anymore. But in deference to King, who I loved dearly, I decided to suffer her presence. Then she mounted the podium and started bragging about herself, how Chairman Mao welcomed her in China. That was too much, so I decided to leave...”
“In honoring the plunderers of this nation and letting them off easy without any punishment (like Erap) we not only condone their infamy; other rapists of this nation will also feel redeemed, convinced that they did no wrong. Then, they pave the way for future criminals to do the same, sure that, like Imelda and her gang, they will not be punished and that after their foul deeds, they can even preen in the limelight before a people without memory.”
“The Marcoses were in power for more than 20 years--they gave patronage with the people’s money to many. These recipients of their patronage are grateful. I can very well understand that, but keep in mind that the evil that they did far outweighs the miniscule good that they achieved, the Cultural Center is one and the appointment of King is another.”
“The Center and King helped deodorize a little a murderous dictatorship. And don’t you ever forget, it was your money, my money, OUR money that built the Cultural Center--not Imelda’s.”
Bravo, Mr. Jose.