Post 479

Fuente Ovejuna, written by Spanish playwright Lope de Vega, features the collective action of a whole town to murder their tyrant overlord. Here, the oppressed couple Frondoso (Tristan Bite) and Laurencia (Hariette Damole) listen to the tortured villagers as they withhold the names of the plotters of the murder. Instead, they unitedly testsify that “Fuente Ovejuna did it!”

This was staged by Dulaang UP, directed by Tony Mabesa.

Photo by I.R. Arenas

Post 476

For nearly five decades, the atrocities of Martial Law survive and evolve to new forms. The end of the Marcos regime has not sealed wounds of Martial Law as its scions and political enablers are now in power.

This is a scene from the musical version of the Lualhati Bautista’s novel Dekada 70, wonderfully adapted and directed by Pat Valera.

Photo by I.R. Arenas

Post 475

The Spanish setting of Federico Garcia Lorca’s La Casa de Bernarda Alba (The House of Bernarda Alba) easily fits the Philippine social environment because of the common conservative Catholic experience.

Bernarda Alba (Frances Makil-Ignacio) torments her all-female household with her controlling nature, which is influenced by the prevailing repression against women.

This was staged by Dulaang UP, directed by Alexander Cortez.

Photo by I.R. Arenas

Post 472

The dysfunctional political climate of the Philippines has its origins in the formation of the first republic, the obvious theme of the musical Mabining Mandirigma. Apolinario Mabini (Monique Wilson) counsels President Emilio Aguinaldo (David Ezra) who repeatedly falls for the schemes of the ilustrado elite.

Mabining Mandirigma was directed by Chris Millado from the libretto by Nicanor Tiongson and music by Joed Balsamo.

Photo by I.R. Arenas

Post 470

If He Doesn’t See Your Face by Suzue Toshiro is a domestic story set inside the strict Japanese prison visiting facility room. Here, the couple – the man being the prisoner – talk about family life and son, and reaffirm their love.

This was staged at the Areté arts hub of the Ateneo de Manila University, directed by Ricardo Abad, and starred by Brian Matthew Sy and Delphine Buencamino.

Photo by I.R. Arenas

Post 464

This sculpture of the nameless Filipino revolutionaries stands for more than a hundred years now, yet the struggle for a true revolution is probably far from completion. The sculpture is now titled Alaala ng Bayang Filipino sa mga Bayani ng (18)96 (literally “Homage of the Filipino People to the Heroes of 96”) and was made by Ramon Lazaro Martinez in 1911.

Photo by I.R. Arenas

Post 461

In this scene from Laro (literally Game), an adaptation of A. Schnitzler’s La Ronde, the Model (Jay Gonzaga) tells his tale of having to pursue perfection because of his beauty while the Philanthropist (Vince de Jesus) disdains hearing pitiful stories – he rather seeks flaws for he finds perfection boring. The play casts the spotlight on gay life in conservative Philippines. The play is written by Floy Quintos.

Photo by I.R. Arenas

Post 457

What remains of an art installation by Sulong Likha is a mural of a student (pictured), a farmer, a worker, a mother and child, indigenous peoples, and a cultural worker. The art collective explains that these sectors “are holding it all up for us; standing in a circle, sturdy and strong together, silent witnesses to the vagaries of existence.”

Photo by I.R. Arenas

Post 456

Darnay Demetillo’s relief Atang features the iconic Oblation pose and the Cordilleran symbols, namely, the likeness of a rice deity bulul and the g-string garment. Behind the main figure is a traditional hut or balé. Atang means a ritual of offering to the spirits, the same meaning of oblation. This work adorns the administration building of the University of the Philippines – Baguio.

Photo by I.R. Arenas