Produksyon: Philippine Stagers Foundation (PSF)
Direksyon: Vincent M. Tañada
Mandudula: Jomar Bautista (Fan), Vincent Tañada (Romeo Loves Juliet), Alex Dorola (Judas’ Lair) at Patrick Libao (Felipa)
Mga Nagsiganap: Kierwin Larena, Glory Ann Nacional, Jordan Ladra, Vincent Tañada, atbp.
Isang koleksyon ng apat na one-act play ang pagtatanghal. Upang magkaroon ng isang nagbibigkis na tema, lahat ay tumalakay sa pag-ibig. Ang “Fan” ay tungkol sa isang batang bakla na humahanga nang head-over-heels sa kanyang paboritong pop icon. Sinilip naman ng “Romeo Loves Juliet” ang mundo ng eyeball at cyber romance. Pag-ibig sa bayan ang gustong sundutin ng “Judas’ Lair” samantalang inter-racial affair naman ang tinahak ng “Felipa”. Ang bawat act ay sinabawan ng ilang dance number at monologo tungkol sa ilang pananaw sa pag-ibig.
Hinabol ko ang napakaagang (8am) staging sa Cinema 9 ng SM City – North EDSA. Hindi pa talaga bukas ang mall ng ganitong oras at hindi gan’un kadali ang ma-interogate ng babaeng guwardyang nakapinid sa side entrance. Bakit daw wala pa akong ticket. Dapat daw ay kinontak ko na ang eskwelahan. Dito pa lang ay alam ko na ang target audience ng produksyon. Huli kong naramdaman ang ganitong agam-agam noong manood ako ng “Noli Me Tangere” ng Gantimpala Foundation dati nang mapagkalaman ako na isang titser sa high school. Inaasahan ko na na ang mga ganitong pagtatanghal ay tumatarget lamang sa mga estudyante at pinatunayan naman ito sa dami ng mga nanood mula sa Bestlink Colleges.
Sa loob ng teatro, naabutan kong naglelektyur ang isa sa mga staff ng PSF tungkol sa inaasahang respeto at disiplina mula sa mga manonood. Ganito rin ang umpisa n’ung mapanood ko ang kanilang “Enzo Santo”. At muli, nalungkot ako na kinakailangang gawin ang mga ganitong paalala sa art appreciation para sa mga mag-aaral, mga paalalang una kong inaasahang naituro na dapat ng mga magulang at mga guro.
Nagdilim ang teatro sa takdang oras ng pagtatanghal. Bumulaga ang mga performer suot ang isang post-apocalyptic get-up at umindayog sa isang trance music (dispensa pero ang una kong naisip ay ang mga contestant sa “Showtime”). Pagkatapos nito ay ipinakilala ang “leading man” ng PSF na si Kierwin Larena at nagbigay ng kanyang pananaw tungkol sa pag-ibig bago ipakilala ang unang dula (ganito ang itinakbo ng buong pagtatanghal: isang sayaw muna, monologo at one-act play na).
Hindi ko masyadong maintindihan ang gustong landasin ng “Fan”. Tungkol ba ito sa sekswalidad ng mga bata? Tungkol ba ito sa nag-uumapaw na pop culture? O tungkol sa isang busilak na pagkakaibigan ng dalawang bata? Sa aking pagkakaintindi, ang redeeming value na gustong sabihin ay, higit sa lahat, sa sekswalidad man o pagiging avid fan, mas nananaig ang pagkakaibigan. Siguro ay masyadong limitado ang iksi ng one-act play upang matalakay lahat ang mga nasabing tema.
Ang “Romeo Loves Juliet” naman ay gagana sana kung ginawa itong purong monologo mula sa pananaw ni Juliet na isang call center agent na hindi masyadong mapalad sa larangan ng pag-ibig. Muling pinaigting ang kanyang destiny ng isang pagkasawi na hindi masyadong nabigyan ng sapat na timbang at paliwanag. Sana’y mas pinalawig pa kung ano talaga ang kulay ng anino ni Romeo at hindi hinayaang nagtatanong ang mga tao kung ano ang kanyang mga pinaghuhugutan.
Isang retelling naman ng conflict sa pagitan ng magkaibang pananaw na political ng dalawang magkapatid ang binagtas ng “Judas’ Lair”. Ang una kong naisip ay ang Palanca-winning piece na “Sa Ngalan ng Ama” na sinulat ni Roberto Jose de Guzman. Gan’un din ang atake: politics, paternal, confrontation at trahedya. Promising sana ang pagkakasulat pero mukhang kailangang gupitin na ang mga punchline tungkol sa Lady Gaga song at Belo Medical Group. Hindi ito masyadong nagpakita ng focus at mas lalong hindi ito nakatulong sa tono ng dula. Malabo rin sa akin ang pag-devise ng confrontation scene sa harap ng burol at ng maraming tao.
Stand-out naman para sa akin ang huling dula tungkol sa eksorsismo ni “Felipa” na naganap sa turn of the century noong panahon ng mga Kastila. Ang staged na pagsapi ng demonyo ay isang magandang metaphor sa bawal na pag-iibigan ng isang Pinay at isang dayuhan. Bagama’t nadapa pa rin ito sa ilang gimik upang maabot ang target audience nito, nand’un pa rin ang kinang at ito ang mas mahalaga. Kung meron man akong hindi matanggap, ito na siguro ‘yung British accent ng aktor na si Jordan Ladra na gumanap bilang Kastila.
Malinaw naman para sa akin ang layunin ng PSF sa pagsasadula nitong 4C. Nais nilang magkaroon ng platform ang mga manunulat upang mai-showcase ang mga akda na maaaring hindi mag-qualify sa panlasa ng mga bumubuo ng Virgin Labfest sa CCP. Nais din nilang mabigyan ng pagkakataon ang mga high school students na magtanghal at mapaligaya sa pinakamabisang paraan upang makaiwas ang mga ito sa droga at kung ano pa mang bisyo (at ito para sa akin ang pinakaimportante). Hindi rin naman maiikailang isang ensayo ito para sa mga resident actor, stage manager, choreographer at costume designer ng PSF upang mapagbuti pa ang kanilang ginagawa. Sa katunayan, nandito pa rin naman sa 4C ang pangako ng mga nauna nilang produksyon. Maliksi pa rin ang choreography at maigting pa rin ang talent na pinamalas dito. Halimbawa, ang atake ni Kierwin Larena sa isang aktibista na namalagi sa US ay napakamental, kontrolado at tila isang malalim at tahimik na ilog. Mahusay rin si Glory Ann Nacional subalit kakarampot at stereotypical ang role na naibigay sa kanya. Ang gumanap na Romeo at Juliet ay nakasabay sa challenge ng emotional shift at blocking na nakakapagod. Pinag-aksayahan din naman ng panahon ang mga set at halata namang nage-enjoy ang audience nito at maging ang mga performer.
Ang una kong impresyon ay maraming excess at palamuti ang 4C na kailangang isantabi. Nariyan ang paggamit ng mga good looking performers (na minsan ay kailangan pang gumiling at magpakilig). Nariyan ang nag-uumapaw na punchline mula sa script at maging sa direksyon. Nariyan ang theatrics na brutal na pinakita sa “Felipa” sa paggamit ng mga nahuhulog na picture frame at gumagalaw na mga upuan. At iba pa na ang tanging nais maabot ay ang kiliti ng target audience nito. Kung tutuusin, hindi gan’un kadali ang kanilang ginagawa dahil mahirap sabayan ang psyche at humor ng pangkaraniwang high school student ngayon. Ang mas mainam dito, seryoso silang makarating sa kabataan ang ligaya ng performing arts. Sa katunayan, magkakaroon sila ng libreng acting workshop sa mga nagnanais linangin ang kanilang talento sa pagganap. Siguro ay magmumukha rin namang pretentious kung sa isang iglap ay magtatanghal sila ng isang Shakespearean play sa kabuuhan ng teksto, konteksto at panahon nito. Pero hindi sana ito maging isang limitasyon pagdating ng panahon.
Musings on life from a (little red) backpacker who adores highschool language classes so much.
Tuesday, December 28, 2010
Thursday, December 02, 2010
Este, Punta del Este
Most of the people who have gone through Uruguay claim that there are only three major tourist spots in the country that are worth visiting (and I hope to contest that someday): Montevideo, Colonia and Punta del Este.
I understand Montevideo for being on the list as it is the capital city where the presidential, senate and congress houses are seated. It also brags of its own huge ciudad vieja where some historic buildings are found plus the beautiful sunset in the rambla and a nice gastronomic haven in Mercado del Puerto. Colonia, on the other hand, has a small well maintained ciudad vieja with a lighthouse strategically erected to overlook Rio de la Plata (where a tiny Buenos Aires can be seen on a clear day). The oldest church in the country is also there and sunset is best enjoyed in the yacht port. As for Punta del Este, below is my share:
TAS D’VIAJE HOSTEL
Just like any other out-of-town trips from Montevideo, we took a COT bus from Tres Cruces Shopping/Bus Station (as its slogan suggests, is “where the country meets”). There are other options, of course, but I remember the guys in The Amazing Race – Season 5 taking the same bus company. The direct bus, one-way, costs us UYU 158 (or PHP 340) and we bought it two days prior to the trip. If I remember it correctly, there are two more COT busses going to Punta del Este for the 9:15am trip.
Weekend trip pictures here and the rest of the pictures of the hostel here.
Based on the atmosphere in Punta del Este, it seems like a hotel reservation is needed at least three days prior to the trip. It’s not peak season yet when we went there last November 27 – 28 weekend but I imagine the summer days in February to be so jam-packed with visitors. Out of the three options we had, we picked Tas D’Viaje Hostel probably because of location and availability of rooms with 10 – 12 dorm-like beds.
It’s strategically located roughly four blocks away from the central bus station in Punta del Este. From the same bus station, La Mano can be seen already. So we took a really quick stop there and walked to the hostel which is just along 24 St. (one of the main streets).
The hostel is, first and foremost, doesn’t remind us of the movie “Hostel”. Beside it is actually a sex shop, a notion that the hostel is probably a fun place. There’s a small gate on the right with a visible sign “RING” that points to a doorbell. Don’t try banging the gate as the guard dog Sargento might confront you. The lobby seems like a nest for surfers or backpackers or both. There’s a cozy couch, a big LCD TV and some magazines. The porteros are very friendly, to a point that you’ll mistake them for stranded backpackers. Kitchen is just beside the lobby where you can use the cooking ware and utensils if you wish to cook (breakfast is free, by the way). A few meters from the hostel is a supermarket (with a bakeshop inside it) that opens as early 9am and closes at midnight.
Going to the rooms will have you glance and adore the artwork almost everywhere. The walls are brightly painted and very warm to the eyes. We were only 10 but the room we got is good for 12. The 11th bunk bed belongs to an Aussie guy who stood our snoring at night and the occasional noise. Just like in other hostels, the toilet is common to all visitors. For the guys, it has two small rooms for toilet bowls and four shower rooms separated by a plastic glass divider and covered by shower curtains. True to its artsy feel, the toilet itself is charming. They have towels for rent at UYU 60 (PHP 129) each. Locker is for free so long as you bring your own small locks.
Rate is at UYU 358 (PHP 771) per person/day. I’ve only tried three hostels (one in Edinburgh and two in London) in my whole travel life and this one is definitely the best.
PLAYA DE LOS INGLESES
More snapshots of the beach here.
At past 12 noon, after settling in, we found ourselves strolling along the streets of Punta del Este hunting for food. We reached the Western side of the area facing Rio de la Plata and started browsing through a couple of restaurants there. We ended up in a make-your-own chiviteria which wasn’t so bad.
From there, we had a few blocks’ worth of walking, heading back to the Eastern side which is facing the Atlantic Ocean (so it’s river on the left and ocean on the right). It all began with a barefoot walk along the beach sand but we ended up setting up our mats and having a swim. Not all 10 of us swam (including me). It must be the temperature. It’s very cold. The rest braved it along with the giant waves that were enjoyed, too, by the surfers young and old.
The beach front we were at is called Playa de los Ingleses. It’s a stretch of fine but not so white sand. A Quicksilver event for surfers was being held that time but we were far from where the real action was (the announcements were in Spanish, anyway). Family and friends also gathered there enjoying the warm weather, having a stroll, a sunbath, a football game or just plain bumming around.
The rest of La Mano pictures here.
In the late afternoon, while the guys were probably playing some card games, I sneaked out and took a solo stroll near La Mano area. It was probably close to 6pm and the place was not occasionally busy. I managed to capture some pictures of it without anyone covering the view.
La Mano, by the way, is a sculpture by Mario Irrarazabal using mamposteria. It’s a giant structure of five fingers that represent a hand with the palm up, the last image that you can see from a drowning person. You have to be a bit far from the artwork to get the picture (otherwise, it looks like a polished Stonehenge piece up close). It’s put up in an elevated part of the sand in the playa and people in cars stop by from time to time just to take pictures. Just don’t ask me why the hell it is there and let’s just take it as a safety precaution.
The next day, we went to the highlight of the weekend trip (well, at least for me). The hotel/museum is used as the first pit stop in The Amazing Race – Season 5 (same season where the racers visited the Philippines). We went there by public transportation, particularly by COT bus. It’s the same bus that leaves for Montevideo and departure schedule is at every hour (return fares at UYU 68 or PHP 147). Taxis offer a back-and-forth transfer for UYU 1,000 (can accommodate four so it’s UYU 250 or PHP 538 each) and the taxi driver that I talked with mentioned that he’s willing to wait for 30 minutes (otherwise, we can just contact him for pick-up).
From the stop where the bus dropped us (the trip took roughly 15 to 20 minutes), we had to walk for two kilometers. There’s a good view of the city and other beach fronts along the way so the walk wasn’t boring at all. On our part for example, we stopped every ten minutes just to take pictures. I didn’t time the whole walking part but it probably took us 20 minutes to reach our destination.
More of Casapueblo pictures here.
Casapueblo is Carlos Páez Vilaró’s living sculpture that resembles those iconic white houses in Santorini, Greece with some hint of Gaudi’s signature domes. It’s primarily a hotel (an expensive one, I suppose) but it also has a museum with coffee shop. They charge UYU 120 (PHP 258) for the entrance but I think taking pictures from the outside should be fine. It is built in the remote Punta Ballena and romantically located on a hill facing the Atlantic Ocean. Beneath the grandeur of the place is a story about Vilaró’s son who is one of the survivors of the Uruguayan Air Force Flight 571 that crashed in the Andes (the basis of Frank Marshall’s “Alive” in 1993).
The museum is not really a big one but it houses Vilaró’s extensive collection of paintings and sculptures. In the topmost floor is a specially designed (probably by Vilaró himself) audio-visual room where a short film about the man’s inspirations and life is played. The coffee shop leads to a veranda facing the Atlantic where sunset is best experienced.
More of Vilaró here.
We capped the weekend with a short trip to La Mano and a quick dinner at La Pasiva. The bus going back to Montevideo left at 8:15pm. It was also sunset time. I was probably smiling when I slept during our trip back to reality.
P.S. If we look tired on the pictures, blame the Friday night party that we attended to. Evidences here.
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