#RPintheRP: A Travelogue

Day 6: Theatre Day

We had a lot of plays we wanted to watch. My friend Mark was in Nick Joaquin’s Fathers and Sons at Dulaang UP (our own campus theatre); there was a Martial Law musical A Game of Trolls at PETA; Tanghalang Ateneo had their adaptation of the second book in the young adult series Janus Silang; and finally our other friend Ross was in Chris Millado’s Buwan at Baril sa Eb Major in CCP.

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I was pronouncing Eb as “ebb” like the the tide ebbs and Joshua, ever the music aficionado, would lecture me that it is “E-flat” and that I need more culture in my life.

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Dulaang UP likes to have plays at 10am. Yeah. 10am. I woke up — surprisingly earlier than Nick — and was showered and dressed before he even got up. (“Five more minutes, Rye!”) We took an Uber to UP where we first ate breakfast at Rodic’s (again?!) before walking to the Guerrero Theatre.

On the way, our friend Martin called and said he wanted to come with.

 

Fathers and Sons was such a great show! Mark was amazing in it and we also got to see our old Speech Comm professor Dr. Belen Calingacion in a very feisty role. In a way, the play helped unpack the idea of nostalgia as something that may not be the healthiest to hold on, especially in the context of the heteropatriarchy and colonialism.

Fathers and Sons was written for a specific audience that harkens to its own concept of nostalgia. From a post-war perspective, its own way of hankering back towards pre-war Manila, even in its most unglamorous, abusive, male-dominated space would echo how we, as a nation, now become nostalgic for Dekado 70, even when it was a time rife with blood and murder.

*I’d like to take this moment to thank my old classmate and now Marketing Manager of Dulaang UP Camille for our tickets. It was her birthday that day!*

We were supposed to see A Game of Trolls next; however, when we got to PETA, regular tickets were gone and all that was left was for VIP. We decided to try catching it on another day and we went for lunch in a Vietnamese restaurant.

 

Our next plan was to try to catch Janus Silang at Ateneo; however the Uber estimate showed that we would arrive there literally one minute before the show is about to start. And this is freaking Katipunan we’re talking about (trust me, I will rant about Katipunan a lot in this post).

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So, with a dejected heart, we went back to the condo to rest for a while (after all, I was still jetlagged and Nick was still sleepy). After a few hours, we made our way to the CCP area, stopping first at Tropical Hut for dinner (this is my first time in Tropical Hut!), where we ran into JMY, who was the stage manager for one of my plays.

In the theatre, we were joined by Nick’s boyfriend Bien. We also spotted a lot of our old friends and mentors, including Professor Dexter Santos (now the Artistic Director of Dulaang UP), Dr. Ami Ramolete (the Dean of CAL), Nicco Manalo, Teetin Villanueva, etc. It was almost packed with theatre people we know.

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Ross — who I’d like to thank for our tickets — was amazing in this play. It is a pleasure — though not a surprise — to see that people who were young and just starting off when I left the country are now doing so well in their field. Buwan at Baril sa Eb Major is a series of vignettes about Martial Law. It’s poignant and it’s timely.

I will never forget the questions asked during the talkback. One of them asked whether it was almost unpatriotic to question the presidential power to declare martial law as it is constitutional. Another one asked about the difference between the contexts — in the play, it was farmers and workers who were killed, while now it’s “only” drug addict. Finally, someone asked if the actors would be brave enough to perform this in front of Duterte supporters, Marcos apologists, and the dictator Duterte himself.

I shamed the first two questions but the actors were on point with their analysis on art and society.

It was a great performance and I feel blessed to watch something relevant and powerful in times as trying as these.

 

Nick treated us to dinner at Aristocrat — where their chicken barbeque is to die for — and that ends Theatre Day.

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