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

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Post 455

In The Kundiman Party, the three concerned titas of the Philippines – Helen (Stella Cañete-Mendoza), Mitch (Jenny Jamora), and Mayen (Franses Makil-Ignacio) – are stuck in social media for things politically viral. Despite their age, they still have the flare burning for the good sake of the country.

This is from the 2018 original run of Floy Quintos’s Kundiman Party, directed by Dexter Santos. (The play has its rerun in late May 2019.)

Photo by I.R. Arenas

Post 454

Former opera singer Maestra Adela (Shamaine Buencamino) with Ludwig (Farley Asuncion) giving the pitch vocalises Bobby (Kalil Almonte), a millennial out to fight the political system, in the 2018 original run of Floy Quintos’s The Kundiman Party, directed by Dexter Santos. The play is most relevant today in the midst of the populism trend and the long-standing citizen apathy towards good governance. (The play has its rerun in late May  2019.)

Photo by I.R. Arenas

Post 448

Both disturbing and emancipating, Nana Rosa is a play about the elderly Rosa Henson (1927–1997) coming out after four decades of silence regarding her ordeals as a comfort woman during the Pacific War.  The fight for acknowledgement of comfort women continues to this day in East and Southeast Asian countries. The play is written by Rody Vera and the premiere is directed by José Estrella for UP Playwrights’ Theatre.

Photo by I.R. Arenas

Post 404

One can only imagine the sheer pain that a desaparecido has gone through. Those who survived torture by government agents have narrated many tales, our only hint of what could have happened to the missing. Theatre performances could recreate such scenes but they are noway near to the real and palpable horrors of political persecution. Below is from the theatre adaptation of the novel Desaparesidos by Lualhati Bautista.

Photo by I.R. Arenas

Post 396

In choreographer Erl Sorilla’s “Requiem to a Cygnet”,  three male dancers  are turned into cygnets mourning a lost companion. The tutus and mourning veils suggested homosexuality. The dance’s description succinctly explained such a melancholia: “The known symmetry of four swans, paralleled to Swan Lake‘s Cygnets, diminished to three suggests a death of a part of their identity. This loss initiates a loss of the true self.”

Photo by I.R. Arenas

Post 379

Nearly a year ago, Dulaang UP staged the premiere of Angry Christ premiered at the Wilfrido Ma. Guerrero Theatre in UP Diliman. It was an exploration of how Alfonso Ossorio, a Filipino painter of cosmopolitan background, conceived arguably his most ambitious mural in a chapel located in a sugarcane hacienda owned by his family. Playwright Floy Quintos delved into the mind of the artist, speculating much about his identity, homosexuality, and artistry. Actor Nel Gomez starred as Ossorio.

Photo by I.R. Arenas

Post 362

Young and old: these boys peruse the works of Jose Maceda, National Artist for Music, that involve a wide-ranging research on Philippine and Southeast Asian ethnomusicology. Indigenous instruments become prominent in mainstream music because of Maceda, who is celebrated this year for his 100th birth anniversary.

Photo by I.R. Arenas

Post 351a

One of the best plays I’ve seen this year (half of it) is Floy Quintos’s Angry Christ (directed by Dexter Santos). It is about the American painter, rather of Filipino descent, Alfonso Ossorio’s period of artistic metamorphosis while doing a mural in their family’s chapel in Negros island. The play’s book is rich in real and imaginative details of the struggles for identity and expression (both artistic and gender).

Photo by I.R. Arenas

Post 331a

This is a scene from Sarah Ruhl’s Eurydice, staged by Tanghalang Pilipino. Here, Orpheus (Marco Viaña) returns to the underworld, clueless of the second death of his wife Eurydice (Lhorvie Nuevo). As memories are impermissible in the underworld, they can no longer recognise their bond in the living world nor feel the warmth of their short-lived love.

Photo by I.R. Arenas