Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Batang Rizal at the Luce

the young Rizal, then called Pepe, and his mother, Teodora Alonzo
(image from the Batang Rizal website)

Playdate: February 7, 2009

Playwright: Christine Bellen

Director: Duds Terana

Lyricist, Composer, Musical Director: Vincent de Jesus

Producer: Philippine Educational Theater Association (PETA)

Main Cast: Russ Cabico (Pepito) and Abner Delina, Jr. (Pepe)

Synopsis and some more: here

What I liked about the play:

1. The costumes of the characters from the time of Rizal. The use of monochromatic whites and khakis was an elegant and effective way of showing a different period in the past, when Jose Rizal was a young boy, to contrast with the colorful costumes of the modern day characters.

2. Very good actors. And singers, too. Lively music.

3. I love the exquisite characterizations of the minor cast, especially the girl who always cried, the bullies and the nerdy kid.

4. I usually don’t like plays with an obvious message/agenda but this time, I didn’t mind at all that the play was blatantly promoting good values. If I’m going to learn a lesson, that was a most fun way to do it! I think all of us Filipinos need that kind of play. I was wondering why the elementary kids weren’t there. The college students sure had a wonderful time.

5. Modern take on many details: popular tv shows, contemporary cartoon characters and the like incorporated into the script

6. This was supposed to be a children’s play but I found it very entertaining. As I’ve suspected, I’m actually young at heart.

7. It made me cry. First was when Pepe, the young Rizal, recited a poem he wrote for his incarcerated mother. That wrenched my heart. And again towards the end when they said, “You don’t need to have a monument to be a hero. You can be a hero by being faithful to your assigned task.” Isn’t that so true?

8. It made me laugh. It takes very little to make us Filipinos laugh and the playwright, being Filipino, knows just where to tickle us.

9. The playful photos of the cast in the program

10. The avant garde audio-visual projection. I think the design was unique and very creative. And the tilted screen, the perfect touch.

What I didn’t like about the play:

1. Why did Pepito’s shorts need to have a torn crotch? I think that was totally unnecessary.

2. Were the torn flip-flops also necessary? It seemed bothersome to me. It was distracting. I wanted to give him a new pair of slippers in the middle of the play so he could concentrate on his role rather than fiddle with that broken footwear during the entire play.

3. The program was hardly legible. What happened?

What I wished for after the watching the play:

1. That more people could have watched the play, children and adults alike.

2. That more writers and producers could come up with plays like Batang Rizal.

3. That it could be shown again here as well as all over the Philippines.

4. That maybe we could put up a local production of that play. Puede kaya?

5. A more readable program!


agila said...

ganda ng mga plays ng PETA. one of the musicians was my teacher during a month workshop sa PETA. i think you should write and produce a play docs. hindi ung copy paste.hehehehehe

ness said...

ang truth: that is my dream, mayah...