Sunday ∗ 06 Apr 2014

rising to the occasion: on “Cock” and the text as king

My refusal to compare foreign texts with local ones is based on the notion of independence. That is, I’d rather grant a local work with as much individuality as possible, and save it from what — to me — would be a false because unfair comparison with foreign work that I (on most counts) would not have seen anyway.

I imagine I can be criticized for having such tunnel vision, or allowing local theater such leeway when critiquing its adaptations. And yet this is really more about my limitation as a writer: I will not pretend to know what the foreign stagings look like when all I’ve seen are clips of these on YouTube. I’d also like to think that much might be gained from acknowledging these limitations and working with nothing but the play in front of me and my intertextuality.

Cock poster via Red Turnip Theater.

The years  (limited as it is) have provided me with a sense of these limitations. With nary the budget for the grandness of musicales, and sometimes the lack of imagination for sets that actually work, what we do always have and consistently is the talent.

And then of course, there is Cock.

Continue reading »

Tuesday ∗ 01 Apr 2014

Activism* (or what is wrong with the STFAP and STS)

Activism, to me, has always been about daring to ask the more difficult questions. And wanting to do – and actually doing – something about it. Anyone who thinks Kristel is being used for the cause of free education was obviously blind and deaf to the years of protests against tuition fee increases and the repercussions of the slow process of the State ceasing to subsidize state colleges and universities. So no, Kristel is not some mascot being used for… Continue reading »

Rage* (or what is wrong with the STFAP and STS)

When I entered the State University as a freshman in 1995, I was part of an English block that was diverse by virtue of class. It didn’t take long to find that while some of us were from well-off families (I had a Romualdez in my class for example, and there were children of lawyers), and there were some of us who were versions of middle class; many of my blockmates came from poorer families, many from the provinces. Many… Continue reading »

Sunday ∗ 30 Mar 2014

12 Pinay celebrities to be thankful for

It was difficult to celebrate Women’s Month at a time when the Pinay remains under attack, even when she’d like to think otherwise. To me it happens on the level of a beauty industry that has standardized what it is we mean by beautiful, as it does happen on the level of a Catholic Church that continues to take a stand against the Reproductive Health Law, after we have fought for it for 14 years. Scientific and common sense would… Continue reading »

Friday ∗ 28 Mar 2014

dear UP Manila,

one hopes for some kindness. four UP Manila students will be appealing their case to the Board of Regents today, March 28. this past semester, all four went to all the classes they registered in, they were accepted by their teachers, and they fulfilled requirements. this past semester, they aimed for graduation and went through their thesis classes. they did so despite the fact that they could not and did not pay their tuition fees on time. they went to… Continue reading »

Thursday ∗ 13 Mar 2014

slow and disjointed: on August Osage County

I have come to the conclusion that accents are good. It is what I expect of most every Repertory Philippines play, given the texts that they choose to stage, and the truth that it is crucial to the insistence on staging plays set in places far away, if not within a historical period that is alien to a local audience. It is Rep that has taught me that. And with August: Osage County I felt like I was being taught… Continue reading »

Thursday ∗ 27 Feb 2014

not everyone can make a rom-com: a realization from watching Starting Over Again

There is standard that Star Cinema has set when it comes to the romantic-comedy as a genre, and it’s a standard that has since re-set the formula for the effective rom-com, where effectivity is proven by both a movie’s creation of it’s own cult following and box office success.

Tuesday ∗ 25 Feb 2014

remember by reading: EDSA Revolution 1986

two links for those who are truly interested in understanding and forming an opinion about the EDSA Revolution of 1986: a version of Chronology of a Revolution was published by the Foundation for Worldwide People Power in 1996, and Himagsikan sa EDSA: Walang Himala! was published by the same, in the year 2000, after it got an Honorable Mention in the Centennial Literary Prize in 1998. both have been online, and free to read, since 2000 for Himagsikan and about two years ago… Continue reading »

Wednesday ∗ 19 Feb 2014

space for troubled youth: on Toilet The Musical

It was funny that before I could find where exactly Toilet The Musical was being staged in the Ateneo campus, I first had to happen upon the Rizal Mini Theater where Antigone The Musical was being staged. It made me want to try and get into the latter — for how fun that sounded after all! — but then again, Toilet was making a promise difficult to refuse: it’s an all-original Filipino musical. That it had Ejay Yatco at the helm might be exactly what kept me… Continue reading »

Sunday ∗ 16 Feb 2014

on friendship and sisterhood #beforeiforget*

there are friendships that happen later in one’s life, even with people whose names you’ve known for years, that girl who was always just the girl-who’s-the-ex-of-a-friend, or that one you’d see at gigs. you could’ve studied in the same university and college, but remain as nameless faces, or faceless names. a measure really of what else we were doing, how friendships can be as limiting as they are liberating. and how sometimes age and timing — if not twitter — might be… Continue reading »

Saturday ∗ 08 Feb 2014

the anxiety of rain: on Rak Of Aegis

It was difficult to imagine a musical that could use Aegis’s diverse discography, one that spans 15 years of the band’s existence, and seven albums. From posters and press releases it was clear that PETA’s Rak Of Aegis was using the song “Basang-basa sa Ulan” as center, with the obvious premise of … uh … rain to tell what would be a painfully contemporary story for nation. It was difficult to be optimistic, but it sure was easy to get… Continue reading »

Tuesday ∗ 04 Feb 2014

Criticism: not (fun) in the Philippines*

The world knows of the Philippines by now, for reasons other than a senator who refuses to admit to plagiarism, being the setting for the bustling Asian city in “Bourne Legacy,” and a cybercrime law that might be the worst piece of legislation against freedom of expression since the world wide web. There was a time when we could call out the Western eye for gazing at us exotic: the ones who eat duck fetuses, the pretty brown-skinned girls with… Continue reading »

Tuesday ∗ 28 Jan 2014

some waiting required: on “Wait Until Dark”

the thing with expectation is that it can be your undoing. for watching theater, i refuse to listen to the soundtrack of a musicale, or to read the script (when available) of a play, lest i start singing (or saying those lines) out loud while sitting as audience. sometimes though, the poster, the press release, is all one needs to build excitement. that is true for Repertory Philippines’ Wait After Dark. sold as a suspense thriller, one could also only be excited… Continue reading »

Monday ∗ 27 Jan 2014

Dolphy, national artist*

It’s difficult to imagine childhood without Dolphy, even when all he was to me was the image of a father on television, even as who I identified with was Maricel Soriano or Claudine Barretto playing his daughters in two different sitcoms, across two different generations. At some point this father image became interwoven with that of Enteng Kabisote, father to Aiza. The images are real to me, the characterization of fatherhood that was protective but had difficulty providing, that was… Continue reading »

Monday ∗ 20 Jan 2014

powerless

i hate it when government — anyone in power for that matter – responds to any crisis by falling back on prayer. the only thing worse than that is to have a president that uses prayer to talk about solidarity and “productive actions.” now have the Presidential Spokesperson Coloma say: “While we are praying, perhaps it is good if Filipinos would focus on what they can contribute to make our republic even stronger” and one realizes this whole discourse on solidarity in… Continue reading »

Friday ∗ 17 Jan 2014

kim chews their heads off

in truth i was so happy for Kim Chiu, showing us all how she is human — a smart one at that — who knows what she owes showbiz reporters and what she doesn’t. it’s the same joy i had about Anne Curtis going crazy in a club, where her sense of self is revealed for all the world to see, and oh yes! there is bite in the sweetie-pie image after all! the latter is why i think these moments… Continue reading »

Tuesday ∗ 14 Jan 2014

in defense of Enteng Kabisote*

I agree with some of what Lourd de Vera says (or asks) Vic Sotto in his open letter. I agree that Bossing Vic should aim to do better than a movie filled with product placements. I agree that he should do better than a film where he’s not stuck with a non-kiddie-actor Yap and his mother Kris Aquino. I disagree that this was all Bossing’s doing.

Sunday ∗ 12 Jan 2014

beyond 13: last hurrahs for Pinoy theater in 2013

seeing the plays that will kick-off 2014 have reminded me of actors and actresses, performances really, that i actually thought were super galeng, no matter that these might have only happened once for that actor, or three times in 2013. there is also the fact that i’ve promised to be more conscientious about migrating articles and pieces written for elsewhere, to this blog — if only to keep them alive online (local site archival work ain’t that good after all).… Continue reading »

Friday ∗ 10 Jan 2014

about those bunkhouses #typhoonHaiyan #reliefPH

in early December, when i went with my friend Rambie to set-up her soup kitchen for kids in Tacloban, to feed as well in neighbouring towns, we saw what the locals called “housing” along the stretch of the highway. then, even with only skeletal frames, it already looked pretty tight, and one could imagine how congested it was to become.

Wednesday ∗ 08 Jan 2014

neither spectacle nor escape: a review of “Grease”

in the last two months of 2013, many theater productions had to compete with an audience that could only be preoccupied: typhoon Haiyan’s victims were in dire need, and one could only feel guilty about veering away from relief operations. “the show must go on” carried the weight of the tragedy outside of theater. so here, a series of reviews that are happening later than expected, because real life took over. kicking it off with 9Works Theatrical‘s Grease.

Monday ∗ 06 Jan 2014

Pinoy social and online media 2013 (Part 3)

Last of three parts. 2013 elections and social (and online) media reveal its class. And its limitations. Social media screamed bloody dynasty at the Binays during the May electoral campaign, when Jejomar’s daughter Nancy decided to run for the Senate, she with no track record of public service whatsoever. This pointed to an arrogance really, where fielding Nancy as Senator was to say that it doesn’t matter why she qualifies, what matters is that her last name is Binay. Yet… Continue reading »

Sunday ∗ 05 Jan 2014

missing the point

it is a waste of time, but also utterly insensitive and absolutely unnecessary for anyone at all in government to be talking at this point about looting on the one hand, and proposing a level-up on the punishment against looters on the other, obviously contextualized as it is in the aftermath of Typhoon Haiyan. this is what Muntinlupa City Representative Rodolfo Biazon is doing by filing House Bill 3367. he is also missing the point.

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