Art… Can’t Get No Satisfaction
Strangely, I’m turning into an average junkie of Dulaang UP plays. I have watched at least two of their shows every academic year. In which case, I have to thank my professors who adhered to their respective departments’ by-law to require students into watching. Generally, the word I could easily utter after watching is either “Ayos!” or “Sulit!” No, it’s never “Nyeta!”
Nearly two months after I watched the miserable street kids of Hinabing Pakpak ng Ating mga Anak by Dr. Anton Juan, Jr., I poof in Guerrero Theatre with a few blockmates for Floy Quintos’s Isang Panaginip Na Fili last Sunday. It was a play about the lengthy tete-a-tete between our well-combed national hero Jose Rizal with his scalawag roommate Tunying Ibañez set in France. They both elaborated the flow of Rizal’s second book El Filibusterismo as the author himself shows his dilemmas on it. It was like, “El Fili: The Making.”
INTERLUDE: I am never a play connoisseur. My comments are just pretending to make sense.
El Fili is more often than not a spooky and bloody book. In the play, Ibañez threw a contracted shades on his nose and became the manipulative jeweler Simoun (the vengeful Crisostomo Ibarra). Rizal meanwhile usually stayed on a platform in the stage and developed his story. With the numerous roaring performers onstage dressed as illustrados, indios, revolutionists, friars, students, etc., it felt like…no, not the 18th century. More like, fourth year high school again. The year 2005.
It was supposed to give me nostalgia, but I didn’t absorb it. Although, what fascinated me most was how they induced nationalism in me AGAIN.
You see, Quintos (who by the way is a UP journalism alumnus, ohmypearlyshell?!) made sure that everybody in the audience gets to be refreshed regarding the propagandist novel’s content. He did not shove the dimwits who have forgotten the existence of the Rizal book away, but rather embraced them. He made the grade school students who have never heard of it, I presume, comprehend. He transformed nonchalant Filipinos like me, uh, care.
That there is this one book, which even if it contained a lot of insignificant characters, can also manage to portray a lot of significant timeless metaphors.
I don’t know who to blame though on the awful music part, Jason Quitane or Cholo Gino or the major characters singing? Apart from the set of chorales, it was as if the cast’s vocal systems were fiddled quickly and beforehand just to suit the show. Almost all of them had their wailing numbers. Rizal sang like a lad. Maria Clara and Kabesang Tales though were the only sensational ones leaving majority of the important roles outshined dramatically. Meanwhile, I felt that Juli should be cast in the Phantom of the Opera. Take her outta this play now!
On the casting, almost everybody fit their respective roles. Simoun looked and acted just like what I imagined him to be three years ago; the showy Doña Victorina and the sassy Paulita Gomez made the scenes alive. Bring Doña Consolacion back! Haha. There was this scene where both sober Maria Clara and Juli sang for their missing beaus- I absolutely felt their exhaustion over with their slave-like lives. Padre Camorra gave me Goosebumps. On the other hand, Ben Zaib who was supposed to look respectably smart projected like a pretentious clown.
Overall, it was a strong play. I recommend Quintos and DUP to flash Fili to the corrupt authorities, to the floundering businessmen, to the irritating war freaks, to the self-righteous peacemakers, to the sensationalized media and to the indifferent collegians. The play could somehow tell them that Rizal in history isn’t all-or-nothing.
Anyway, I’m rambling. It was always good to see some of your friends acting onstage, and congratulate them after though. Hehe. Also, I saw a high school kabarkada who dragged his UST pack to UP to watch Fili, in accordance to their Art Appreciation class requirement. I managed to ask him…
BARRY: What’s up with yer hair?
And to add, I received a message from United Nations (yes, UN, UN, as in UN) upon exiting the theatre that said,
“Today is Int’l Day of Peace. The United Nation calls for 1 minute of silence and encourages Filipinos to unite for a peaceful Phils and a conflict-free world.”
I hate to dispute but was this SMS solely intended for The Philippines? Are we given lovely recognition by no less than the United Nations? Therefore, I wanna praise Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo for this honor. I always wanted to live in a war-imbued country.
Posted on September 23, 2008, in Books and Literature, Politics and Sociology and tagged acting, directing, DUP, high school, Jose Rizal, nationalism, peace, singing, SMS, theatre, UN, UP. Bookmark the permalink. 2 Comments.