October 31, 2015
This latest project of Artist Playground is a very unique one. It is a one-woman show entitled "Audire (Listen Carefully)". I purposely did not read any advanced information about it because I wanted to be surprised. It turned out though, that maybe I should have read some background about it. I would have been able to appreciate the project more.
The show opened in total darkness. Four ladies in black came out shaking boxes. When they reached the stage, they placed various items (like toys, accessories, household items, etc...) on the floor upstage. (They would give her different props in each of her four segments in this show.) Enter Ms. Angelina Kanapi in a white dress. She began playing around with the stool and the other things there on the stage. Her unusual choice of words seemingly meant nothing, a flight of ad-libbed ideas. Her strange gestures and facial expressions all seemed as random as her props.
That first segment was very bizarre. There were a lot of incomplete words and phrases. I do not remember much of it. The second segment, we see Ms. Kanapi strumming chairs like a guitar. I felt she meant to act like a drugged out rock star. Finally, after singing what sounded like a Nirvana song, she collapse and convulsed on the floor, then lights out. The third segment, we see Ms. Kanapi tie her hair into to pigtails and begin talking like a bratty child to her yaya. She began jumping up and down as a tot in a tantrum shouting words so foul they sounded so funny. The fourth segment, we see Ms. Kanapi in an sultry and earthy mood. This final part felt like a frank excerpt from the "Vagina Monologues".
Then it was over. I am not going to pretend I totally got what just transpired in the last hour. After the curtain call, Ms. Kanapi thanked the staff who helped her with the show. She was joined on the stage by the artistic director of Artist Playground Roeder Camanag, on behalf of show director Jeffrey Camanag who was sick today. They engaged the audience in a post-show discussion about the performance. In most shows, the play proper was enough to speak for itself. For this particular experimental type of production, this Q&A session was a most essential part to grasp the whole meaning of the show and its very special concept.
It was only a post-show realization for me that Ms. Kanapi totally improvised everything she was doing based on the sounds (music, sound effects, noises, whispers, moans, silence) she heard. This meant that the whole show was actually extemporaneous on Ms. Kanapi's part based on the totally random sounds given her by the sound technician. Every show then will be not be the same as the one before. I did not spoil anything for you by telling you what happened in the show I watched. You will see a totally different one every time. This was an eye-opening revelation that made me see the whole performance in a whole new light. This show was not a case of the schizophrenic emperor's new clothes.
So that is what the title meant. Ms. Kanapi should listen carefully to the soundtrack to react to and spontaneously perform. The audience should listen carefully to the soundtrack to understand where Ms. Kanapi and her various strange antics were coming from.
It was a delight to see Ms. Kanapi performing live.This prime collaboration with the sound man is a pet concept that had been playing in her mind, only to find fruition now thanks to the exploratory thrust of Artist Playground. I knew Ms. Kanapi from her most unusual and quirky roles in indie films I've seen, like "Hustisya" (My Review) with Nora Aunor, a couple Lav Diaz opuses namely "Norte: Hangganan ng Kasaysayan" (My Review) and "Mula Sa Kung Ano ang Noon" (My Review), and just this week "Matangtubig" (My Review). I cannot think of another actress with such a wacky, unconventional yet intuitive soul who can pull this daring type of performance art off.
If you want to experience this different type of theater, you can catch the last few shows of "Audire". There is one show on November 4, 2015 at 7pm, then three shows on November 7, 2015 at 3, 5, and 7pm. Tickets at P250. Students only pay P200. Venue of the show is The Little Room Upstairs, Rm. 1701 Landsdale Tower, Mother Ignacia Ave. Quezon City. Look up Ms. Roj Regoso on Facebook for inquiries and reservations.