“This year, it’s quite a different thing”, Vince started saying to a blogger during a break from a rehearsal of his latest play Filipinas: 1941. “And I can say, it’s very unique. Everything they’ll see is something new, something absurd… but something so wonderful in their eyes.”
Obviously, he’s referring to his latest masterpiece which signs-in onstage starting July 12 at SM North Edsa Cinema 9. It’s Filipinas: 1941 (Isang Dulayawit), the latest musical play from Philippine Stagers Foundation.
“I conceptualized everything with my Stage Manager and choreographer John Paul San Antonio”, Vince continued. “We tried to break from the usual dance choreography. Before, it was like disco dances, now, we will present something absurd, dark, mystifying…”
And as a blogger attended three rehearsal events at Vince’s studio, he knew what Vince was actually speaking about. The blocking, the movements, the choreography, the flow all along and entirely- was indeed, after all, ABSURD BUT BEAUTIFUL.
“What happened naman talaga kasi during those times in the year 1941 in our country was really dark and absurd”, Vince stressed further on. “So they’ll see not the very usual type of dances onstage, something not logical, too. But, something with unique pleasure on their eyes.”
The last absurd play that Vince saw was when he’s New York City, U.S.A., with the Broadway musical play Sweeney Todd. After sometime, Vince hadn’t seen one again. So he thought, he must do something like that- an absurd play. And he did it now via Filipinas: 1941.
“Filipinas: 1941 is about two brothers”, Vince added saying. “And their story revolves around the Japanese Occupation in the Philippines during the year 1941. The two brothers represents the two types of Filipinos. My character Felipe is willing to die for his country and while my brother Nestor, being portrayed by Patrick Libao, is the type of a Filipino who avoids circumstances of fighting for his land, closing his ears and heart, but only wanting to survive.”
In the play, which Vince also wrote, he mixed the two main fictional characters of felipe and Nestor with Historical characters like General Douglas Macarthur, President Manuel L. Quezon, President Jose P. Laurel and wife Aurora Quezon. He also included nuns and ordinary war victims as characters.
“There’s just something that I wanna correct this time around, though”, Vince alerted the blogger interviewing him. “It’s not the Americans who are the real heroes of that war that led to the Fall of Bataan. Based on my research, General Douglas Macarthur accepted a bribe from President Laurel to fight the war. General Macarthur was more of a mercenary than a General.
“The real heroes were us, the Filipinos”, Vince said again. “Only 10,000 Americans died in that war, while more than one million Filipinos died! They were the ones on the front lines fighting, while the American soldiers were at the back. Without these brave but gentle Filipinos who died, our country would have been not saved.”
But wait, it’s not all the violence that they’ll see all throughout the play.
“The play is metaphysical”, Vince revealed at ending of the interview. “I provided light moments and romantic highlights between two sets of lovers. I will also show the beauty of love between two blood brothers… and, to your delight, Robert, there will be angels in this play. I won’t reveal it yet. Better watch it!”
And we surely will, Vince.
(words by robert manuguid silverio)