Robert:”Ang buhay ay hindi hinahati ng liwanag at oras… Ang buhay? Oo, pinagsasama siya ng oras at liwanag… Pero sinasamahan ng pagmamahal”—- (sabi ni Robert, ang pangunahing tauhan sa istoryang “Pitong Makata”).**
“Hindi ako makatulog kagabi. Panay ang pasok ng mga bagong ‘ideas’ sa sinusulat kong film script. At nung madaling-araw na, naging PITO na ang ‘apat na makata’. Meaning ‘Pitong Makata’ na sila. I am now half way in the STORY LINE. Ang ganda ng istorya!!!
‘Yung apat na makata, may makikilalang tatlo pang mga makata sa Maynila. Kaya naging pito na sila.
Hindi ko alam kung paano pumasok sa isipan ko ang napakagandang film script na ito! I have in my mind as of the moment the cast na siya ring nasa imahinasyon ko ngayon habang nagsusulat. Ang cast: KIERWIN LARENA as Robert (the male lead character of the film script), MICHAEL PANGILINAN as Walter, GERALD SANTOS as Pedro, JANSEN AGUILAR as Anton, NIKKI CO as Michael, MIGGY TOLENTINO as Glenn and introducing JHAY-R LAGRIMAS as Jay. With LANCE RAYMUNDO as Sunny and VINCE TANADA as Vincent in very special roles.
Ako po mismo ang magdidirek ng film script na ito”.
‘PITONG MAKATA’ navigates in.— (mula sa FACEBOOK STATUS ni ROBERT SILVERIO, a.k.a. blogger SSSIP, ukol sa nililikha niyang film script ngayon na tatapusin niya in two months’ time).*
“PITONG MAKATA”…. COMING SOON!!!
ANG MGA ARTISTA SA IBABA ANG MGA GUSTO NI BLOGGER SSSIP NA MAGSIGANAP SA “PITONG MAKATA”:
MAMUMULAT ANG MGA INOSENTE AT WALANG MUWANG, HABANG MULI AT MULING MAMUMULAT ANG MATAGAL NANG IMINULAT NG MALULUPIT NA KARANASAN SA BATAS MILITAR NG ISANG MALAYONG NAGDAANG REHIMEN…
Paakyat pa lang ako sa cinema 9 ng sm north edsa na kasalubong ko ang sangrekwang taong nanood ng mas naunang screening na talbog ang dami ng tao ng isang blockbuster star cinema movie, bilang venue ng grand opening day ng pagtatanghal ng prestihiyoso’t award winning theater group, Philippine Stagers Foundation (PSF), ng KATIPS: MGA BAGONG KATIPUNERO bilang kanilang 2016 season of performances ’til march, 2017 na iikot sa buong pilipinas…kinilabutan na ko sa dami nang nagbalik sa aking alaala. Na aaminin ko, kay tagal ko nang di naalala, kung di ko man sadyang kinalimutan mula nang pumasok na ko sa showbiz nung 1981.
Ipinaalala sa akin ng tagpong yun na sa “teatro” din nagsimula ang buhay ko nung ako’y high school, na nagbunsod para maging kung ano ako ngayon. Kinse anyos pa lang ako, sumulat at nagdirek na ako ng ilang stage plays na nagwagi sa mga kumpetisyon ng mga public high school sa division of city schools in metro manila. Yun nga ang nagbukas ng pinto para makapag-playwriting workshop ako sa PETA at maging scholar ng UP PALIHANG AURELIO TOLENTINO PLAYWRITING WORKSHOP, kung saan nagwagi rin ako sa PALIHANG AURELIO TOLENTINO NATIONAL PLAYWRITING CONTEST noong 1979 na si direk Joel Lamangan ang naging consultant-mentor ko habang isinusulat ko ang aking entry. Hindi pa kilalang direktor ng pelikula si direk joel nung mga panahong yun. Doon nga nagsimula ang aming tunay na pagkakaibigan. Hanggang pinagtagpo uli kami sa showbiz para maging writer-director team sa maraming proyekto sa tv at ilang pelikula.
Kamakailan nga lamang din, magkasabay naming pinanood ni direk joel ang Palanca award winning play ni direk vince tanada na “ANG BANGKAY” na pareho naming gustung-gusto ang pagkagawa. Nasabi ko kay direk joel na, “Ang husay-husay sumulat at magdirek ng play ni direk Vince Tanada” at sumang-ayon siya. At sabi ko pa, “Parang di ko na kayang sumulat at magdirek ng play. Nakalimutan ko na mula nang maging TV at pelikula na ang medium na nakasanayan ko”.
Sabi naman ni direk joel nang may pangungumbinse, “Hindi mo malilimutan yun. Maaaring ayaw mo na lang. Pero kung gugustuhin mo, makakasulat ka pa rin ng dula”—kase nga si direk joel, kahit ano na ang narating sa pelikula sa mahabang panahon, hindi pa rin niya iniwan ang teatro bilang mahusay na artista at direktor.
Sa lobby ng sinehan, kasama ang maraming naghihintay na muling pupuno ng venue, habang iniintay na naming papasukin kami sa 3:30pm show, dumating naman ang naging mentor ko sa pagsulat ng screenplay, ang hari ng mga screenwriters na si RICKY LEE.
True enough, tunay na blockbuster nga ang grand opening day ng KATIPS. Punung-puno ng tao ang sinehan. Nagsisimula pa lang ang dula sa eksenang picket sa mendiola nung 70’s nagpapalakpakan na ang mga manonood at kinikilabutan na ko sa pambungad na awit pa lang. Doon, bigla ko rin naalala na ang ipinanalo ko palang dula sa U.P. PALIHANG AURELIO TOLENTINO NATIONAL PLAYWRITING CONTEST ay “NANG BINULABOG ANG MGA LANGGAM”, isang allegorical play na subersibo . Allegorical play yun kase bawal nga magtanghal ng anumang dulang laban sa isang rehimen, kaya ikinubli ko angmga tunay na karakter sa mga hayop (Ang kapitalistang amerikano “uncle sam”–HARING TAO; HARING ASO; Mga militar at pulis na pumapatay ng mamamayan–MGA TUTA; Mga bayarang media na nagbabalita ng mga maling balita–MGA LORO; mga construction firm na magtatayo ng pabrika para sa interes ng mga amerikano—MGA GAGAMBA; at marami pang iba). Ngayon, matapos mapalayas ang isang leader nung 1986 mula sa mahigit isang dekadang pagkabilanggo ng ating kalayaan, heto ang KATIPS, malayang naitatanghal ang tungkol sa katotohanan ng martial law na halos ikinubli sa kasaysayan at hindi man lang itinuturo sa mga eskwelahan. Mabuti na lang, muling binuhay ni direk vince ang tutuong kwentong walang kasinungalingan tungkol sa lagim, kalupitan at karahasan ng gobyerno noon, kung saan hindi lang basta may curfew, kundi nililigpit, winawala, pinapatay at binubura sa mundo ang sinumang hindi sumasang-ayon sa mapaniil sa pamamalakad ng isang pinuno. Lalo na nga ang mga subersibong estudyante at lahat ng kumikilos sa “underground”. Buhay ang mga tao, naglalakad, humihinga, ngunit daig pa ang nakagapos ang mga kamay at paa; may busal ang bibig; tila putol ang mga dila na di makapagsalita ng katotohanan laban sa kaapihan mula sa mga naghaharing uri dahil lahat sakal-sakal at walang kalayaan. Marubdob, masakit at nakakikilabot maalala ang mala-bangungot na pangitaing ito na buong-tapang na inilalarawan ng dulang-musikal. Na kahit pilit ko nang kinalimutan ang sarili kong karanasan sa mga panahong yun ay nanariwa ngang lahat dahil sa mahusay na paglalarawan at pagbibigay-buhay ng mga pangunahing tauhan at lahat ng buong enssemble of supporting cast. Sa KATIPS, kung saan nagkatagpu-tagpo ang representante ng “mga bagong katipunero”. Ang katips ay isang bahay sa UP campus nung 70’s na paga-ari ni alet (adelle ibarrientos), isang kasamang kumukupkop ng mga kasamang aktibista pag aabutan na ng curfew; pinapakain ang nagugutom at ginagamot ang mga nasugatan sa mga rally, demonstrasyon at engkwentro. Sa tahanan ngang yun sila nagtatagpu-tagpo at nanunuluyan pag sila’y nasa kapatagan. Doon namin nakilala nang lubos ang mga karakter ng mga pangunahing tauhan na iba-iba ang pinanggalingan at ginagawa sa buhay, ngunit may iisang ipinaglalaban: ang mapatid ang tanikala ng pang-aalipin ng mga naghaharing-uri at makamit ang kalayaan mula sa pagtakas sa isang diktadurya. Walang tulak-kabigin sa brilliant performances ng lahat, lalo na nga ang mga pangunahing tauhan: si PANYONG ( Vince Tanada) na isang editor ng “ANG BAYAN”, isang subersibong newsletter noon na lihim na lihim na ipinamamhagi (at sa tutuong buhay, nagkaroon din ako ng pagkakataong mag-ambag ng sulatin sa newsletter na yun). Si LARA (Maya Encila), na isang dalagitang lumaki sa amerika at umuwi sa pilipinas para hanapin ang kanyang amang professor sa UP. Wala siya ni katiting na kamulatan sa uri ng pamamalakad ni marcos sa sarili niyang bansa hanggang na-meet niya si GREG (Kevin Posadas) na isa rin aktibistang estudyante. Dinala siya sa Katips, only to find out na pinatay ang tatay niya nang walang kalaban-laban. Doon, unti-unti siyang namulat sa katotohanan ng buhay sa pilipinas sa isang rehimen nung panahon na iyon. Hindi man niya kayang ipagtanggol o buhayin pa ang kanyang ama, may adhikain na rin siyang baguhin ang sistema sa pamamagitan ng pakikibaka. Tunay pa rin nga siyang filipino kahit pilipit ang dila niya sa tagalog. Kasabay nito’y ang pamumukadkad ng pag-iibigan nila ni Greg. Tulad rin ng pag-iibigan nina Panyong at Alet; ESTONG (Gerald Magallanes) at SUSIE (Vean Olmedo); ART (John Rey Rivas) at LALLY (Rospel Gonzales). Tulad rin ng nakamulat na katotohanan, sa gitna ng kagipitan at walang katapusang pagtatago, minsa’y gumagaan ang sitwasyon dahil sa nabuong pag-ibig at pagmamahalan sa apat na pares na tauhan na nabanggit. All through out the two and a half hours three act play, susundan mo ang mga hinaing ng mga tauhang ito; makikiiyak ka sa kanilang mga dalamhati likha ng mapanggipit na gobyerno; subalit mamahalin mo rin sila ng lubos at makikisali ka sa sarap ng pakiramdam nila habang nagmamahal na unti-unting isinisiwalat ng very endearing performance nilang galing sa puso para patagusin sa bawat puso ng manonood, sa pamamagitan rin ng mga awit na nilikha ang bawat akampanya ng live ng henyong direktor ng musika na si Pipo Omallao Cifra; sa mahusay na tulong naman ni Robert Encila bilang repetiteur-live keyboardist ng dula. The production design is simple & yet, visually powerful by the imaginative creativity of JEFF AMBROSIO. That was my favorite scene na “tuhog” na nag-uusap ang apat na pares na umiibig sa kung anong tunay nilang nararamdaman at inawit nila ng buong husay ang nagmarka rin sa aking awit na “SA GITNA NG GULO”. The music are really brilliantly composed na napakalaking lahok sa isang musical play. Kahit mabigat ang tema ng dula, gumaan ito at mas madaling naarok ng mga kabataang walang alam sa malupit na nakaraan ang tunay na mensahe ng dula na tunay ngang tumitimo sa bawat puso at isipan ng lahat. Lahat ng awit ay makabuluhan at tulad ng mensahe ng dula ito ay mahirap nang kalimutan, lalo na bukod sa “Sa gitna ng gulo”, tumimo rin sa puso ko nang husto ang “MANHID”, sung by temyong himself expressing his long-overdue suppresed love for alet, na si alet ay unang nagmahal kay BEN (john jerricho gapido porciuncula) at nabigo dahil ito’y isa palang…oooops, dapat panoorin ninyo. Sa mga napanood ko na in the past, given na ang husay nina vince and adelle as seasoned actors, pero naging one of the most touching & powerful pa rin yung scene nilang yun na “manhid”. Gusto ko rin yung mga awiting “WELGA KAMI” (Kahit nung teaser pa lang ito sa press launch), kung saan lumutang ang very convincing performances ng tatlong mga nakakabuwisit na torturer na sina JP Lopez; Art Andrade & Chris Lim, respectively; Markado rin ang masaya at nakatutuwang awit ng isang grupo ng mga loyalistang mga metro aide, headed by Ching Ortega as Mang Temyong with his consistent & remarkable performance, as ever. Siyempre mahirap din kalimutan ang magkakaibang husay nina Gerald Magallanes (na very commendable din with his very danceable choreography as the musical’s choreographer); john rey rivas who came very strong on stage with his singing voice aside from a powerful acting; at si vean olmedo na consistently good with her comic visayan accent activist. Such a versatile actress after watching her in various serious dramatic roles in the past especially in “ang bangkay”. But most of all, i will never forget all the songs involving the tandem of Lara & Greg (Maya Encila & Kevin Posadas, respectively). Very endearing performances. Susundan mo at mamahalin mo silang dalawa sa journey nila ’til the end. Maya is such a revelation. I met her & talked to her personally in the press launch. She’s just a cute, innocent & very pretty baby. Pero sa stage, she’s a “giant” na pwede niyang lamunin ng buong-buo ang lahat ng kaeksena niya kung hindi ito mga equally kasing-huhusay niya. She’s such a charmer, but never just a pretty face. Ang lakas ng dating! Brilliant young singer-actress that will go a long, long way. Kevin is so magical. Iba rin siya sa stage. Ang lakas ng stage presence. With his acting & perfect vocals, you will be moved by his powerful performance. A profile of a very professional theater actor tackling different roles at its best (that i’ve seen too in the past). All in all, KATIPS is an experience. A wonderful touching experience of a hidden truth that was kept for a long time na muntik na nating di mapanood at maaaring kung hindi naglakas-loob si direk vince tanada to staged this, baka tuluyan na ngang basta na lang ibinaon sa limot. Masaya naman ang mga millenials na dati’y walang alam na nanood na nakausap namin. Kay bilis nilang na-absorb ang mensahe. Sabi nila, “Sana huwag na maulit ang panahon na iyon. Sana pangalagaan na natin ang ating kalayaan. Sana huwag ilibing ang pinunong iyon sa libingan ng mga bayani. Hindi pala karapat-dapat”. Sabi nga ni Ricky Lee na biktima rin ng panggigipit at sapilitang ikinulong nung mga panahon na iyon, “Maganda. Buti may mga ganito pang napapanood. At maraming kabataang nanood. Sana kumalat. Para mas marami pang makapanood”. Yes, ricky. Pangako ikalalat natin. Dahil tunay ka, dapat mapanood ng lahat at mas nakararami pa ang KATIPS, ANG MGA BAGONG KATIPUNERO. You have all the time to see this very truthful musical play in different venues all over the philippines, in all weekends with four performances each day until march, 2017.
Sa isa sa mga naging performances ng dulang pinag-uusapan ngayon- ang KATIPS ng Philippine Stagers Foundation- ay napanood ng isang blogger ang version ng Stager na si Jomar Tanada Bautista bilang Panyong (na kung saan ay ka-alternate niya ang uncle niyang si Vince Tanada). Magaling at cute ang performance ni Jomar sa pag-atake ng role na Panyong, at ibang-iba sa atakeng ginawa ng uncle niya. That’s good, dahil hindi mo masasabing ginagaya lamang niya ang version ni Vince sa nasabing role. Refreshing ang performance ni Jomar at puwedeng-puwede rin pala siya sa mga lead roles na tulad nga nu’ng role na Panyong.
Kaya naman right after nu’ng performance ni Jomar, agad na lumapit ang isang blogger sa kanya upang siya’y kapanayamin. Unang tanong namin sa kanya ay kung ano ang masasabi niya sa character na Panyong?
“Panyong serves as an inspiration to the younger generation”, sagot ni Jomar. “It’s all in the lives of the people at that time or era, to be somewhat brave and strong. He is the adviser and the writer of CCP-NPA rebel group at that time- during the Martial Law years. He is also a writer of an underground newspaper which attacks the people in power at that time.
“He is the kind of person that cares for people and his love for his country is so remarkable”, patuloy pa ni Jomar. “That’s why the role is very special for me. These kind of persons represent so many people at that time. And I am so glad that my uncle Vince chose me to be his alternate for this role.”
Anong klaseng mga preparations naman ang inihanda ni Jomar para sa sarili niya to portray the role efficiently?
“Since KATIPS is a musical play, I had a series of voice lessons because Panyong’s character have many song numbers in the play”, muling sagot ni Jomar. “And I also needed to gain weight in order for me to look older than Kierwin Larena, who’s portraying the role of Greg. Si Panyong kasi, mas matanda siya kay Greg. And I can only look older if I get a little fat.
“I also watched a lot of film documentaries pertaining to that historical period of our country”, dagdag na sabi ni Jomar. “Also videos from Youtube. What I saw in those videos, I imitated the actions of those rebel leaders. But I tried to break from the monotony to avoid comparisons.”
Kapag si direk Vince Tanada daw ang direktor mo sa isang dula- “Everything is provided for”, sabi pa ni Jomar.
Kasi, si direk Vince daw ‘yung tipo ng direktor na ibibigay sa ‘yo ang kumpletong mga detalye upang mas mapaghusayan mong gampanan ang iyong papel sa dula. At sa puntong iyon, hindi na gaanong nahirapan si Jomar na gampanan ang isang papel na mahirap i-portray. Tulad nga nu’ng karakter na Panyong sa KATIPS.
Pero ano kaya ang masasabi ni Jomar kung ikukumpara ang acting niya sa acting ni direk Vince?
“Obviously, he does it better!”, mabilis na tugon ni Jomar. “I need to be honest. My uncle is a lot more experienced stage actor. Sa kanya lang ako natuto. And never in my wildest dreams na mahihigitan ko ang galing niya sa pagganap. Plus, the role, of course, fits him better. Pinanood ko siya portraying ‘yung character na Panyong at talagang humanga ako.”
Kailangan pang mag-perform muli ni Jomar sa second set of show that afternoon ng KATIPS, kaya naman isang huling tanong na lang ang tinanong namin: “Ano ang mensahe ng KATIPS para sa lahat ng Pilipino, Jomar?”
“Let us not neglect the sacrifices made by our ancestors, our heroes, our grandfathers and grandmothers”, pagwawakas na sabi ni Jomar. “Filipinos at that time sacrificed a lot for the freedom of our country that the millenial youths like me are enjoying now. This play which relieved the darkest era of our history will serve as an eye-opener. And I can say, Never Again!”
(words by robert manuguid silverio)
#katips schedule for July and August: July 29 and 30 SM North EDSA Cinema 9 8am, 11am, 2pm, 5pm July 31 SM North EDSA Cinema 9 9am, 12nn, 3pm (Grand Opening) August 6 SM Southmall Cinema 3 8am, 11am, 2pm August 7 SM North EDSA Cinema 9 8am, 11am, 2pm, 5pm August 11 Adamson University 8am, 12nn August 12 Adamson University 4pm (World Premier) August 13 SM Centerpoint Cinema 1 8am, 11am, 2pm August 14 Yuchengco Theatre De La Salle University 9am, 1pm and 5pm August 20 and 21 SM Centerpoint Cinema 1 8am, 11am, 2pm August 25, 26, 27 Pampanga and Tarlac (Time and venue to be announced) August 28 SM Centerpoint Cinema 1 8am, 11am, 2pm Sched for September onwards will be announced soon.
It’s easier to forgive, but harder to forget. More gentle to love, but scarier to hate. Braver to express but cowardly to hide.
In a time of sorrows, only one thing emerges:
“Hope”, Vince Tanada started saying to a blogger. “That there’s still hope amidst everything. That’s the message I so badly want to imply to everybody when I started revising and writing the play Katips. In the ending of the play, you’d see the message clearly. Parang gusto kong sabihin, na nagtagumpay pa rin ang pakikibaka ng mga tao para sa kalayaan.”
And the blogger asked: Was it a ‘yellow’ advocacy?
“No, this is not a Pro-Yellow advocacy”, Vince was quick to answer. “The play KATIPS is a re-telling of a story that happened in our lives and became a part of Philippine History. But History books were silent about it. And through my play, I want the youths to know what really happened during that time.”
Vince termed it as “the darkest era in Philippine History”. And if he’ll be given a chance, he so badly want to revise PHILIPPINE HISTORY.
“Me and my family, I do admit, were victims of Martial Law”, Vince continued saying. “We had to transfer from one place to another just to escape persecutions. I was young then, barely in my teens. It was very traumatic for me. My family was deeply affected by those people in power at that time.”
That’s why, when one blogger watched the whole play, he was so moved. The painful feelings were still so fresh via those remarkable scenes in the play. It relieved some anger, but subsided with a vision of hope.
“My Stagers all did their very best, even at the time we’re still rehearsing the play”, Vince continued on. “They were all too-passionate, so selfless in what they do, so intense. And altogether, they impressed me so much as their director.”
Great reviews about the play KATIPS were now pouring like Hotcakes in social networking sites, blog sites, and tabloids. The play, at this early, already had numerous performances in Manila and Baguio City. This pressured Vince to set a Grand Press Night and Gala Night to selected media friends on July 31 at SM North Edsa.
“I was simply so touched with all the great reviews we had so far”, Vince declared. “Our Grand Press Night will be a lot more bigger in scope and grandeur because I added some more dialogues and dances and ad-libs, too, that they will all enjoy watching. And I am inviting everyone to watch it.”
Through Vince Tanada’s gentle way of touching the hearts of the young, we know, he won’t fail.
Certainly, the play KATIPS will change the lives and ideas of the youths today,
(as the words were written by robert manuguid silverio)
It felt like magic. Electrifying, too, and ecstatic. That was the time it hit me- as I entered the Cinema One of SM Centerpoint wherein a full-packed audience of young students eagerly awaited the start of Philippine Stagers Foundation’s latest opus play- KATIPS (Ang Mga Bagong katipunero). It suddenly went into me, I mean, that kind of feeling. Maybe, it was already an extra-sensory-perception on my part or what you termed as ESP. I knew already I was going to watch a truly worthy and beautiful kind of a legitimate theater production.
I lingered to look first at the fabulous stage design at the very center front of the stage, rather than look around the noises and clamors I heard made by the students. The stage, it seemed was already inviting, tickling your artistic bones that I would soon see and hear, handsome performers and fascinating music. The stage, again, was just simple, though, but it revealed a deeper meaning- wherein old newspapers and front pages of it were made as wall designs with a cage/cell at the center- which truly implied a masking tape of lies during that era of a forgotten past in Philippine History. Kudos to Mr. Jeffrey Ambrosio, the Stage Designer who conceptualized and executed a masterpiece of art right there on stage.
Minutes later, I heard the music. The beat of an era. A tune so magnifying it at once brought me to a “not-so-forgotten-past” of my own life. It was the music, I knew, created and composed by Mr. Pipo Cifra- for this stage play. And yes, the play started right a time I really wanted it to be.
Ang Picket Sa Mendiola was the Intro Song of this play. The song was delivered in high notes by the Stagers as they all danced and sung it- in a very energetic execution of perfection and high vision. The choreography of this opening number, visualized by Mr. Gerald Magallanes (PSF’s choreographer) almost said it all and you were almost there. Like a magic wand, it turned you into a soul living in an era of the ’70’s or something. And even the young audience, as I looked around them, suddenly went into a “time travel”. They, yes… at once, knew. And now ready for something more.
I felt so happy again seeing the handsome faces and pretty looks of all the Stagers performing. They’re not half-hearted in what they’re doing on stage, but full-hearted and overjoyed in performing. The New Stagers easily mingled-in and coped-up, as the Old Stagers were still the most impressive performers of that night.
The first scenes of the play already highlighted the main conflict of that era they were presenting in an artistic medium. It became the “catalyst” of a revolt and an anger. Because those “people in power” at that time suddenly intervened at a peaceful rally and even ignored the presence of nuns and a priest. They held and shot a professor- which was Ka Manding (performed in a captivating manner by Jomar Tanada Bautista, with New Stager Alex Baylon alternating the role) – the rallysts’ leader, inspiration and idol.
Yes again, the death of Ka Manding became the catalyst and prime mover for the play to revolve. It soon gave birth to the other characters of the play, like the sympathetic character of a teenage boy named Art (awesomely portrayed by Johnrey Rivas) who’s an editorial staff of a campus newspaper, and of course, to a Balikbayan named Lara (so refreshingly portrayed by newcomer Maya Encila) who happened to be the very daughter of Ka Manding. This was already revealed seconds before Ka Manding died as he entrusted Lara to Greg (the play’s male lead actor and portrayed in a magnificent way by Kierwin Larena, with Kevin Posadas alternating) if ever he dies as the military people head-locked him and soon, he was shot and killed.
The play, all the more, continued on with mightier power, angst and tension. The music afterwards became transforming in many different emotions of love, flattery, subversiveness and revelations. I basically loved so much the song Bawal Kang Magsalita, not because of its unique music, but the message it implied. Panyong (the second male lead character of the play and portrayed with perfection and mastery by Vince Tanada) sang the song emotionally which only further made you feel how uncomfortable the life was during that era. Where people’s mouths were shut-up and taped. It was made clear the true message of the play.
Oh yes, the LIVE BAND. Whoa. It’s so good to the ears. I thought in a while, I was watching a rock classic- Jesus Christ Superstar ‘coz the feeling was exactly like that. Unique, surprising, trend-setting.
Thank you very much to Mr. Robert Encila and his band- because with the Stagers singing live in full force, the more they became impressive and the play exciting.
The costume design of Ms. Emy Tanada was colorful, passionate, authentic- and it provided more the feeling of ‘deja vu’ to whomever might want to have that kind of feeling while watching the play. The way the people dressed-up in the ’70’s could be perfectly be seen in this play.
The lighting of Art E. Gabrentina was Hollywood-ish in style in style and execution. It moved in varying colors degree of grandeur and “picture-like frames”, like, you are inside a photo studio of great, powerful lights.
The torture scenes of this play were the scenes I couldn’t bear. It was so heavy to look and watch at, but had to be presented that way because of its truthfulness. It had to be executed for the audience to know that it was really the way that those “people in power” at that time responded to rebellion. But they did it overboard. And Crimes Against Humanity didn’t set the records straight.
What made this play so impressive, really, to this blogger was the acting unison of all the Stagers. But they were able to do it because of great support from the major cast- most especially to Ms. Adelle Ibarrientos-Lim whose character in the play- as Alet– would further convince you of the treachery done to the little ones, the poor ones, the less-fortunate ones- as they were abused by the “people in power”.
Maya Encila as Lara was pretty convincing, too.
The supporting cast in persons of Glenn Magallanes, Rutchell Leonor, Vean Olmedo, Rospel Ann Gonzales, Johnrey Rivas, Hark Montillana, Jessica Evangelio, Oj Bacor, Marjorie Militar, Chin Ortega, De’Rotsen Etolle, Daniel Cruz, Chris Lim, JP Lopez, Art Andrade, Arian Golondrina, Levi Bracia and the rest of all of the Cast Ensemble, all did a terrific job. Even in small roles, they managed to steal “awes and wows”.
And lastly, no words could best describe the alluring direction of this play masterpiece. I bow my heads on you, Mr. Vince Tanada!
In the heart of one man, it was his task that only mattered. A task so dangerous and life-threatening. A task that could be called invisible to the naked eye, but gravitational in force and might.
Kierwin Larena as Greg delivered that. His character must live to serve as a “rainbow of hope amidst the changing tide”.
As Kierwin suddenly appeared anew in the ending scene of the play, and as the audience thought he had already died, the shrieks and shouts of the young students who watched became ear-defying to the blogger who was among them.
Not just because they saw hope, but also, because of the fact that the character became so much handsomer with his shorter hair cut, minus the groovy-shady looks, too. The actor came back and the promise fulfilled.
Together with the other actors of the play, a character only becomes alive if the actor gave his SOUL.
And Mr. Kierwin Larena surely delivered that.
(as the words were written by robert manuguid silverio)
EXCLUSIVE PHOTOS BY MR. VINO ORIARTE BELOW, TAKEN DURING THE SECOND DAY OF PERFORMANCE OF “KATIPS”:
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…….
Never mind the spanks… nor the high brows… the yells and the snubs…
The six pretty “characters” of the one-act play Mama Monchang’s (a competing play for this year’s Annual PSF Theater Festival), were all glorious, sexy, daring and humane. As their lives somehow reflected the political candidates for this year’s National Elections, we could say by now that the writer of this play- no less than Mr. JP Lopez (who also portrayed the title role- Mama Monchang), has achieved something unique, reasonable and entertaining.
Mixed-in with real live music and great singing from all the characters, watching Mama Monchang’s was like, watching a fountain that splashes the innermost beings of your soul. It’s so refreshing to realize some things anew…. remember back the beauty of being gay…. and the happiness of loving a younger man. Or, maybe, embracing back your “sisters” which you somehow sacrificed to be with as you grew older with life.
JP Lopez was perfect as Mama Monchang. He acted so mature (JP is one of the youngest Stagers), blended-in well with the beauty and poise of the five other transsexuals and characters of the play. JP has got this sensitivity as a performing artist, because he could transform, he could adapt… he could embrace…
Among the six transsexuals, it was Art Gabrentina who stood-out with his naturalness in acting style, perfect timing and good comedy antics. He’s so pleasant to look-upon on stage.
OJ Bacor characterized a “promdi” (from the province ‘lass’) character and she was so impressive.
De’Rotsen Etolle, as the aging transsexual looked so queenly and respectful, fragile but affectionate.
Jayjay Praxides as the family-troubled gay, was relaxed and efficient.
And Gerald Magallanes as the “horny” gay was unassuming, truthful and ‘kinky’.
Vince Tanada’s direction style for this one-act play was simply light, funny and spontaneous. He remained truthful to the flow of the play and achieved a more worthy delivery.
Some time in our lives, we all have pains, we all have sorrows… But if we are wise, we know that there is ALWAYS TOMORROW.
The satire could have represented our own misgivings, too, not just the evil-doings of the political candidates…
But in the end, united we stand, divided we fall.
The lesson of the play Mama Monchang’s was clear.
And it’s the truth that we’re all still Filipinos-