May 1, 2015
The advertisements I see in Facebook about this twinbill of plays intrigued me. The invitations seem to be for a big summer party instead of for a theatrical play. They even exhort audiences to come dressed in summer musical festival attire! I am not really so sure what to expect here.
Showtime for the matinee today is 3 pm. The venue is Tandang Sora Hall, a building I had never been into when I was a student in UP Diliman years back. It is where the College of Social Work and Community Development is housed. I reached the place already a little past 3 pm, But the audiences are still lining up in the sweltering heat outside.
When we were let in, people can sit freely anywhere they wanted. The seats were just plastic stacking chairs arranged in a big oval, in three rows. Too bad though that the airconditioning was not adequately strong enough to cool the whole room, especially because it was a full house at the Bulwagang Tandang Sora today, despite being a holiday.
The first play presented was ISANG MAGSASAKA by Eshei Mesina. It was about a farmer trying to pick his life back up after a violent attack on their community left several of his friends raped, maimed or dead. Completing the triumvirate of characters was his daughter who was an activist, and a male nephew who was a soldier. It was my bad that fatigue and the heat got to me during the running time of this play. The material felt like I had heard this in many a UP play or indie film I had seen before. So before long, I began to drift and feel really drowsy. In fact, I was startled when the all talk-no action play just suddenly ended.
There was a 15 minute break after the first play was over. While they were setting up for the next play, they played loud dance music that assaulted our ears, while strobe lights relentlessly assaulted our eyes. I tried my best to tune out the music and keep my eyes closed the whole time, but 15 minutes seemed to last so long.
Before the second play KARITAS AT DAMASO by Dax Carnay started, they announced that the play was rated SPG (Special Parental Guidance) for containing controversial or lurid material. The play began with a man and a woman (clothed in tights with reflectorized accessories) began simulating sexual positions and acts on center stage, while three cross-dressers and a girl gyrated on all four corners of the stage area. When the lights came on, it was obvious from his collar that the guy is a Catholic priest (named Damaso), and the girl is a Catholic nun (named Karitas). Another nun (named Salve Regina) brought in a young girl who was raped by another priest so they can "help" her recover her virginity.
From there, the play then went into unthinkable and outrageous acts and songs about rape, sex and Jesus which were supremely salacious and malicious, in the guise of "humor". I cannot see any reason why a script like this was even written in the first place, except perhaps to insult the Catholic Church (in particular) and all Christianity (in general). Is that why an organization for atheists and agnostics was one of their major sponsors? OK, I admit I may not be within the age demographic targeted by this play, but I dread to consider that something decadently nihilistic and wantonly hedonistic like this fits the current standard of what's "cool" or "fun".
I learned to love the theater when I was a student in UP Diliman. This is a love that I have up to now, and I have been blogging about the theater shows I watched regularly for several years now. I thought that at my age, I am already mature enough to watch all kinds of plays. However, this one is something else. It still repelled me with its total lack of redeeming value. I actually felt physically sick after watching this piece of shock theater. I originally had a party to attend afterwards, but I went straight home instead to try and recover from extreme disgust. I fear though the bad taste it left may take days to wear off.