Philippine Theater

Theater is a roulette of humanity and art. It is the manifestation of the insuppressible human need to create and celebrate. Although it is almost always a good choice to enjoy a play during one’s leisure time, it remains a roulette because one never knows what is about to happen on the empty stage before him. Perhaps it will be another boring, overly-dramatic, mediocre production that makes you check your watch every two seconds; however there is also the chance that it will be a step above the rest—a play with real value that is not only entertaining, but significant and beautiful as well.

I took theater 12 last year, and I know that plays are terribly difficult to get running. The story has to be fixed and arranged properly. Original musical numbers have to be composed; and the songs have to be in appropriate to the theme and feel of the production. The actors have to memorize, live, and breathe their scripts until they know the part by heart. There has to be a working harmony between the musicians, actors, directors, technicians, and everyone else involved in the undertaking.

If even one of those elements is out of place, it throws a wrench into the engine, and the entire production can be brought to its knees in a sad mess. However, once in a while, a play manages to get all these elements together, and fits them beautifully. When this happens, the effect is definitely something worth watching, and an experience to remember. Thankfully, Floy Quinto’s Ang Nawawalang Kapatid was one such play.

Ang Nawawalang Kapatid is a Dulaang UP adaptation and reproduction of the Indian Epic, Mahabharata. The story has many elements and characters to follow, and their paths interweave and collide in a surprising and entertaining chain of events. The story revolves around Karna, the secreet prince and child of Queen Kunti, and Prince Duryodhana, also the son of Kunti. The two brothers, though this fact be unbeknownst to them, face off against Yudisthira and his brothers in an effort to secure the throne and Princess Draupadi.

Of course since I was watching the play because of a comm3 subject, I was curious and asked myself as to what communication elements could be in this play that we were supposed to observe or pick up on. It may sound like an obvious question, and perhaps it is, but there is a big difference between simply saying “observing good pronunciation and speaking voice”, and actually witnessing it firsthand—which is what we had to honor of doing. Characteristic of Dulaang UP, there was no shortage of talent. The voice actors were, for the most part, superb—not only in their voices, which carried throughout the entire theater unaided by microphone, but in their very crisp, clear diction and pronunciation. This is no mean feat, especially when done in form of song.

I must say that my enjoyment of the play was a combination of a number of factors. First and foremost, it was easy to follow the storyline because the voices of the singers were audible and pleasant; the narrators Ganesh and Vyasa were also powerful speakers. The messages of the play were relayed through gripping songs, such as Shakuni’s ‘Shalaka’, which escalates into a fervor at its climax, and the storyline is filled with action and twists such as the Along with the rest of the audience, I was fixated on the play the entire time. The play emphasizes the rebirth and recovery that occurs even after the hardest of times and trials. This is a concept that I hope to remember for the things I am to experience in the coming year.

It was a beautiful production. I hope to see more next semester.

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