One morning, an old lady named Andang was doing her crocheting on a bench in the park in front of a star apple tree. An elderly man named Johnny was passing by and was taken by Andang's charms. He sits down beside her on her bench and began to woo her with the most elaborate poetic lines. Will Andang fall for his flowery tongue? Or will the realities of life impose limits on their budding relationship?
"Tag-Ani" tells a story we rarely hear about, a love scene between two senior citizens. This one-act play was written by recent Natatanging Gawad lifetime achievement award recipient Amelia Lapena Bonifacio as part of her trilogy "Taluhan (Tatlong Dula ng Pag-ibig)", which was first performed in 1975.
Ermie Concepcion played Andang. Her character is basically the straight man of the play, reacting to the action and situation initiated by the amorous Johnny. Ms. Concepcion plays it simply, no hysterics nor big gestures. She just delivered those sweet little rejoinders and quips with the just the right amount of incredulity, sarcasm or delight.
The bulk of the play's challenge falls on the shoulder of veteran actor Ces Aldaba as the loverboy Johnny. He had the look and charm of a suitor from yesteryear, posturing like a James Dean or Elvis Presley, though his paunch already gets in the way. However it is his tongue that is his prime talent. showering Andang with effusive praise. To do this, Aldaba had to deliver kilometric lines in complicated Filipino poesy in order to win her love.
The simplicity of this play lends itself very well to the intimate confines of 1701 The Little Room Upstairs, venue of Artist's Playground for its experimental productions. This is their second production after the success of "The Riddle of the Sphinx" back in July this year. Their first play was about a couple in their 20s, while this one takes on lovers from the opposite end of the age spectrum. Rarely do we see elderly characters take center stage as the lead characters.
Artist's Playground is the only company out there now who can bring us these little-known yet precious nostalgic gems out from their storage chest for us to appreciate. Director Roeder Camanag and his crew deserve kudos for their admirable advocacy.
"Tag-Ani" is on its extended run since it opened last August 22, 2015. There are only two performances left on its last day, September 6, 2015. The Little Room Upstairs can be found in Rm. 1701 of Landsdale Tower along Mother Ignacia Ave. in Quezon City. For tickets, call or text 0977-3062924.