When a group of the handsomest theater group (yes, we did agree when theater icon- Mr. Frank Rivera- labeled them as the “the handsomest and most powerful theater group” that existed in the world of performing arts) performed in front of you with all their might and power in their very last pre-production rehearsal, your view of the world seemed to change. You felt ‘awed’ and it transformed you into becoming a different person- all too suddenly. It made you ask questions of why people seemed to change views of their choices of leaders in the political world, it made you dig deeper and analyze why people seemed to abuse and disregard the freedom that DEMOCRACY has given them. It made you cry because of the hundreds and thousands of dead people and souls, seemingly, FORGOTTEN. People who sacrificed their lives for change. People who deeply believed in their ideologies. People who fought in their own little way – for freedom, for justice, for equality.
In an era of an almost-forgotten past, this group of fresh and very creative people brought one blogger back to an episode he did experience somehow when he was still young and in teens. They all performed so truthfully and convincingly – like, they were the very actual people of those dead heroes in The First Quarter Storm of the Edsa Philippine Revolution.
These “dead heroes” you met once or twice in your lifetime as you yourself participated in marching and took the vigil in Edsa at the height of the people’s unrest in 1970 and felt the beauty of their rebellion, again we say, came back to life in living colors of perfect emotions, moves, dances and songs.
And you cried alone as no one saw you there. Because the “dead heroes” you saw and felt anew, in the present generation and batch of people living as Filipinos, had forgotten them- even in the pages of the textbooks of students of Philippines. And even the son of a Political icon who became the President didn’t live-up to the sacrifices made by his dad and the people who died for the sake of his dad’s legacy??? That, we ask now. Or maybe, it’s the people who simply abused the gifts given by the spirit of Democracy.
Yes, we say, the man who wrote, directed, created and acted so perfectly in Philippine Stagers Foundation’s new theatrical production- KATIPS– delivered the job so awesomely. The message was clear and precise. The play challenged your intellectual beliefs, but more than that, it made you remember again- most of all, the young man you met who disappeared and became a Desparacido and victim in the darkest and most violent era of Philippine History.
You saw back that character in person of Stager John Rey Rivas- as he portrayed the role of a teenager who was abducted by military people and got so violently tortured physically. It was a crime against Humanity.
But you didn’t simply sympathized for that young boy character- yes, you sympathized to all of the characters who got involved there. Dead heroes, you say. People who fought, people who were regarded as N.P.A.’s (New People’s Army) during that time, people who simply have a different view of the world, people who were simply brave, outspoken, guileless, radical…
The most beautiful character in the play KATIPS was the character that Vince Tanada performed in their last theater rehearsal. He played the character of a very good rebel who fell in love so truthfully to a female comrade who loved someone else. But his female comrade soon discovered that the man she loved was the very man who caused her death. And as Vince’s character saw her dead corpse when the military people killed her, it became the most powerful and dramatic scene of the play. That scene alone, you would honestly say, was all worth it. You wouldn’t ask for more because Vince delivered an acting moment and highlight that would last a lifetime.
Stager Adelle Lim as Vince’s female comrade in the play and object of his affections, delivered an acting style that’s so superb, wonderful, incomparable. We asked- “How in earth could she act so subtle and subdued, but still delivered the perfect emotion?” Wonderful, truly wonderful.
And it was just a rehearsal. Lacking of costumes, stage design and lighting- but still, just because of the all-too passionate acting of the Stagers of this wonderful play- it was almost as good as new. Even the those New Stagers in the background and all the rest of the supporting cast- could steal attention, grab your hidden glances, snatch the scene away from the major characters. Yet, they delivered an acting unison, impressive chemistry with their fellow actors, and interactions. That’s the spirit of the Stagers in every theater productions they give. A well-coordinated and truly united acting participation.
Stager Kerwin Larena’s handsomeness and appeal glowed in every scene of the play. His beauty could somehow steal his convincing acting talent- but nevertheless, his presence in this stage play only added your desires to watch the play over and over again in their forthcoming new theater season performances.
People disappear because they have reasons. People takes risks of being gone all too soon because of their own crusades, tasks, battles…
People leave, People went missing, too.
But people sometimes can come back over and over and over again.
When Vince Tanada’s character in the play KATIPS died, it was not shown even in a single scene in the play’s final moments- and yet, you would miss him so much. You would feel. You would want to see him again.
As Stager Maya Encila’s character read it in the newspapers that two NPA’s were killed in an encounter and realized that it was Vince and Kerwin’s character who both died, her crying scene was lasting and redeeming.
The very people who sheltered her when his father was shot by the military, were the very people who also died at the end.
And now, an artist in the character of Maya, did believe in their causes. But they were all gone too soon.
Life could play tactics and surprises. In the end, life’s gifts could bring back a dead soul- as you thought.
The battle continues.
Because Kerwin’s character in the play did come back and Maya discovered that he did not really died in the encounter- was indeed, a symbol of hope. A rainbow of promise.
The spirit of Democracy lives on. As long as there are still people who comes back from the dead to show that love and freedom is still the greatest value of a NATION.
In the Philippines, it’s up to the young people to deliver that promise of…….
(wriiten by robert manuguid silverio)