Dulaang UP’s 35th season brings back Floy Quintos' blockbuster play, “Shock Value,” once again under the direction of Alexander Cortez.
The play runs September 15-October 3 at the Wilfrido Ma. Guerrero Theater, U.P. Diliman, Quezon City, Wednesdays to Fridays 7 p.m., and 10 a.m. and 3 p.m. on weekends.
Quintos’ “Shock Value” takes a peek at what really goes on behind the TV cameras. What most people see on TV are canned shows which are already edited, manipulated and perfected.
The play exposes how stars are made, the lengths networks would go for ratings, the price that comes with fame, how journalism and entertainment have evolved, for better or for worse, in the era of reality television. The original 2006 script has been revised to reflect fresh and fast-changing developments in the entertainment landscape.
Comprising the large cast are Andoy Ranay, Frances Makil-Ignacio, Stella Cañete, Arkel Mendoza, Dexter Santos, Jomari Jose, Carlo Cannu, Paul Santiago, William Elvin, Mica Pineda, Nikki Ventosa, Randy Concepcion, Natasha Cabrera, Cindy Mayo and Christian Alvarado--all from the 2006 staging.
They are joined in the new production Jojit Lorenzo, Ana Abad Santos, Mylene Dizon, John Lapuz, Mitoy Sta. Ana, Cai Cortez and Nikka Angeles.
The rerun of “Shock Value” is presented by Dulaang UP, a semi-professional university-based theater company that serves as the foundation for UP Theater students’ professional exposure in the performing arts, and related fields such as scenery design as well as technical, stage, production and theater management.
For tickets, call Cherry 0917-7500107, or the Dulaang UP Office 9261349, 9818500 local 2449, or 4337840.
PLUS: What I thought of Shock Value in 2006 (from this omnibus review)--
Floy Quintos knows a thing or two about the Filipino penchant for frills and frippery. For 10 years now, he has directed “StarTalk,” a TV show that has done its fair share of scandal-mongering as well as fluff reportage on celebrities from the worlds of movies, politics and even religion.
Now Quintos, who is also a noted playwright-director, has come up with “Shock Value,” a Dulaang UP production directed by Alexander Cortez that unblinkingly sends up the excesses and inanities of the industry he moves in.
Quintos’ insider perch gives “Shock Value” the punch of eyewitness testimony. Ostensibly about the fall from grace of Matt, a brash anchorman caught up in a sexual indiscretion, the play becomes, with each successive scene, an audacious exercise in blurring reality and illusion, all wrapped up as glitzy ersatz entertainment.
Nothing in “Shock Value” is what it seems. The audience becomes part of a live studio crowd observing the taping of TV shows, with Matt’s meltdown giving the medium the excuse to go to town with ever-more outrageous ideas for ratings glory.
A pinnacle moment comes near the end of Act 1. One year after the scandal, Matt has disappeared, and newscaster Dita Mañalac-Guevarra (Frances Makil-Ignacio alternating with Stella Cañete—figure out who’s Mel Tiangco and who’s Korina Sanchez between them) intones that Matt is rumored to have gone to Tibet to live with monks and seek Nirvana, but may also be in Bangkok where he has become a showgirl.
Matt’s life is simultaneously being reenacted in the drama anthology “Huwag Mo Akong Tularan... Kailanman.” Out comes the teen heartthrob Elbert Gomez at this point, playing Matt as a transvestite. He is swathed in a Thai headdress and costume and trailed by a bevy of similarly garbed dancers, all of them gyrating to a Thai tribal-techno version of “I Will Survive.”
Act 2 can’t top that priceless moment, even as it offers a more elaborate sleight-of-hand. News that Matt is living on a remote island becomes the occasion for furious competing coverage by two networks, followed by a vacuous “Summer TV Special” complete with nubile babes and breakdancers on the beach.
Fleshing out this complex, layered work is a challenge to the large cast, not all of whom deliver.
Among the successful ones are Andoy Ranay (playing Matt as a pillar of rot, ruthlessness and pre-fab earnestness); Missy Maramara, Cañete and Makil-Ignacio, Justin de Leon, Natasha Cabrera; and various show-biz types played by Nikki Ventosa, Jacinta Remulla (a scene-stealing debut as child star-turned-bold star Little Tweety Girl), and Faust Peneyra (who also did the versatile set design aside from playing Elbert Gomez).
The choreography, performed by a peppy ensemble, is by Dexter Santos.
Quintos’ affection for the alternate universe of celebrity-hood is obvious, but so is his clear-eyed grasp of its dangers. Though “Shock Value” could use a bit more archness and grit—its likability threatens to swamp its cynicism every time—it does prompt hair-raising thoughts. Given the way TV is going, virtually every grotesque, farcical trick served up by “Shock Value” is hardly improbable anymore.
Between the cosmic uncertainties of thought of “Godot, Wer Is U?” and the tawdry certainties of this play, “Shock Value” is the genuine downer.