Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Walang Sugat!

Just got back from watching "Walang Sugat" at the UP Theater. Severino Reyes' sarswela, originally staged in 1902, still strikes a chord in the hearts of Filipinos. The challenge for the modern-day retellers of this classic sarswela is how to make the tale relevant to today's audience - which in tonight's case, consisted of a horde of coñotics from the other school that has the letters U and P in its acronym (add na lang kayo ng vowel hehehe)

What made the "historical gap" obvious (at least for me) is the montage of Philippine Revolution pictures which were projected on stage. This in my view was an attempt to cue the audience to the atmosphere of the times when the sarswela was first staged: the Americans were already victorious over the Filipino fighters and were only dealing with the last few vestiges of dissent; the Filipinos, ingenious as ever, shifted the battleground to the stage - employing sarswelas as instruments of protest and continuing dissent. Though the tale centered on a romance and the challenges that confronted the two lovers, the playwright weaved in themes of patriotism, sacrifice and love of country - ideals that were being suppressed by the Kanos during the early 1900 (Flag Law? Sedition Law? Reconcentration? ring any bells?)

Here are my thoughts on the sarswela:

1. Ever since the old days, hit na hit talaga ang loveteam sa mga Pinoy. There were THREE love teams in this sarswela. Love story nga naman oo...

2. I believe that the customary duet between the magsing-irog is a sublime means of alluding to lovemaking, or at the very least, making out. Ngayon all out na...

3. The ending (to which the title alludes to) is a classic plot twist. Despite the programme containing "spoilers", some people of the audience still registered surprise at the twist. I was chuckling at how the actors were giving us cues to the farce, especially the soldiers and the medic.

4. I could just imagine sitting in the audience during 1902 and the Philippine Flag was brought out at the finale...I'm sure people got arrested during those days for displaying the flag, and even applauding it - though I'm not too sure if the Philippine Flag was indeed displayed during the original run. If it were displayed, it would have been a theatrical equivalent to "flipping the bird" at the Yankees. haha in your face! motherf*ckers! a sus caras! hijo de putas!

5. In fairness, the horde from U(vowel)P was well-behaved throughout the sarswela. Pero isang tingin mo lang, alam mo na kaagad na hindi sila taga-UP. Kaya nga may vowel between the U And P eh! ano ba...

6. ang kalaban ng teatro ngayon is interference hehehe

7. Insane movie pitch: let's make a Pinoy version of "Shakespeare in Love". This time the movie will be about the "protest playwrights" and how they managed to stage their plays despite the strict laws during the early 1900s. One scene features a Filipino "informant" leading the authorities to a supposed staging area of a sarswela only to be led to a burlesque show, attended by US soldiers and some dignitaries. Americans turn around to flay the Indio, but the wily Pinoy has evaporated into thin air hahaha naisahan kayo!

8. Now I have to translate all this to español as we are required to submit a reaction paper a clase de Español 11.

Oh, BTW...

Ibon man may layang lumipaaaaaad

kulungin mo at umiiyak...

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