Friday, August 05, 2005

All Work And One Play

I hate this.

For the past few days I’ve not been able to put on a show here because of work and rehearsals. Not that I don’t like them—I like my work and I’m enjoying rehearsals—but darn it, I miss blogging. Worse, suddenly nothing much seems to be happening in my life (I rarely blog about work for obvious reasons, and rehearsals are interesting only to the actors involved). I need to get a life!

* * * * *

I went to watch the Dulaang UP play “St. Louis Loves Dem Filipinos” at the Guerrero Theater last night. It’s the musical version of the same play staged several years ago by Dulaang UP. It’s about the group of Filipino tribesmen, led by Datu Bulan of the Bogobo Tribe, who were brought to the St. Louis World Fair in 1902. It’s about the tragic consequences suffered by Filipinos who went to the United States looking for a land of milk and honey but instead faced the Great Depression. It’s about Filipinos who were uprooted and forced to be “reconstructed” to fit into American society. It’s about them trying to “lift their heads up proudly” and stick up for who they are.

Most of the music is very melodic and memorable; the lyrics though are a little clunky in certain songs. I hated the instrumentation and arrangement—the spareness of the recorded music cannot match the soaring melodies of the composer. It’s like asking a chamber quartet to give life to Beethoven’s “Ode To Joy”. The set is puzzlingly painted in bleak-gray—hated it. The performers fare better, especially Arnold Reyes, Leo Rialp, Ron Cabigting and Don Karingal.

I just found it ironic that the creators used a very Western format—the theater musical, which is so Broadway and West End—to tell the tragic story of Filipinos “reconstructed” to become little brown Americans. We discussed this after the play, and the others wondered if perhaps that irony was part of their point, albeit made rather subtly. I argued that nothing in the production or direction clearly showed that the creators were making that point. It seemed to me that they were more oblivious than subtle.

Still it was fun to watch a play again after a long time. And it was also fun to walk around UP campus looking for cute college boys.

4 Comments:

Anonymous Marcial said...

Hey, I saw you in the Pinoy Big Brother teaser!

1:52 PM  
Blogger McVie said...

Uh-oh. *sheepish grin*

Methinks it's time for me to come clean about it in the next episode or so. :-)

1:56 PM  
Anonymous Marcial said...

Hehe. Tried to look it up in the previous entries before deciding to comment here.

2:06 PM  
Blogger Nelson said...

"...it was also fun to walk around UP campys looking for cute college boys."

Yup! I would have done the same thing he he he

9:18 PM  

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