Thursday, October 30, 2008

Revenge and revolution in Gantimpala Theater's 'El Filibusterismo'

“El Filibusterismo,” or the “Fili,” the continuation of “Noli Me Tangere,” is about the arrival of Don Simoun, a business magnate and jeweler, a mystical, demoniacal figure whose only thoughts are to overthrow the existing order, the colonial rule.

He is moved partly by political motives and partly by a personal desire for revenge. Thus, he uses his wealth to promote the corruption of the ruling class, its arrogance towards the natives and the oppression machinery--and at the same time to draw the attention of the oppressed people to the conditions which he himself, to some extent, has caused, and to provoke their opposition.

Characters that were originally from the Noli return--Basilio, Dona Victorina and Padre Salvi--while new ones are introduced: Kabesang Tales and his struggle for justice; the nationalist student Isagani; the indio priest Padre Florentino.

Through them the colonial milieu is expanded--its officialdom, education, legal system, power plays, social patterns--and seen anew as context for conflict and insight.

This darker novel of national hero Dr. Jose Rizal has become one of Gantimpala Theater’s Four Classics, and on the occasion of its 31st season celebration, the play version written by Jomar Fleras, with Soxie Topacio as director, comes to life again on stage.

Giving life to some of the novel’s immortal characters are Roeder Camañag (Don Simoun/Mr. Leeds); Billy Parjan (Padre Florentino/Tagapagsalaysay); Perry Dizon (Tata Selo); Perry Escaño (Kabesang Tales); Bluemark Roces (Basilio); Kimberly Diaz (Juli); Norman Peñaflorida (Kapitan Tiago/Ben Zayb); Abel Napuran (Tano); Jose Jeffrey Camañag (Padre Camorra); Edwin Domino (Padre Salvi); Jeanette Ann Queblatin (Doña Victorina); Troy de Guzman (Isagani); Fame Flores (Paulita Gomez); Jojo Riguera (Juanito Pelaez); Allan Talatala (Placido Penitente); Xeno Alejandro (Heneral/Kapitan/Imuthis); Dart Zia (Macaraig); and Julius Empredo (Quiroga).

Performances are on November 2 (7 p.m., Concert at the Park Open Air Auditorium, Luneta Park, Manila); November 7-9, 21-23 (AFP Theater, Quezon City); and November 12-14 (SM Southmall, Las Piñas City).

The National Parks Development Committee fully supports Gantimpala Theater’s “El Filibusterismo.” For information, bookings and ticket reservations, call the 899-5745/896-3503 or 474-5198 or write to:

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