Art Weekend, 3 February 2014


{To end the month with art}

Last 31 January 2014, Ahj and I watched the modern zarzuela “Bonifacio” by the Philippine Stagers Foundation — a relatively young theater group headed by Atty Vince Tañada (yes, he is a lawyer as well as a multi-awarded artist). We first saw the thespian in Elwood Perez’s latest film (which is also his “comeback carrier”) Otso.

To be honest, Otso isn’t really topnotch. It’s an indie film trying its best to be indie for the sake of being indie. But somehow the flick just grew on us and we began to like it (for the wrong reasons, I guess), especially during the second half of the film when it started to become way too absurd and a little self-aware — do you like ponies?

I wasn’t really expecting much before we watched Bonifacio. The only motivation that Ahj and I had was that Bonifacio consisted of the cast of Otso, and that we just wanted to experience the same feeling of watching the indie flick again.

We were dead wrong. This time the experience was quite different. First, we thought that only a few students would watch the play (as there were only four of us in the movie house when we watched Otso). We were very much surprised to see the entire JMR coliseum packed with high school kids. In fact, Ahj and I couldn’t find any seats so we decided to just join the students who were sitting on the floor.

Second, I thought that it would just be another campy experience. However, I was completely blown away when the cast sang the prologue: Indio. I was, like, Holy Shit these guys could fucking sing! 

And so we spent around 2 hours enjoying the zarzuela. There were parts where the actors seemed to be a bit too over the top though (especially during moments when they weren’t singing), plus the story kinda took a much creative turn (I reckon Ambeth’s narrative of Bonifacio’s death to be anti-climactic but somewhat depressing). Also: were they supposed to be angry all the time?

Anyways, it was still an amazing experience and we would, no doubt, watch another play by the Philippine Stagers Foundation.

{To begin the month with art}

I was invited to participate in Susog Salog, a city-wide (and “interdisciplinary”) project which aims to recover and revitalize the Naga City River. The event commenced last 1 February 2014 with a lecture in AdNU with the AMAZING Merlinda Bobis (the author of Fish-Hair Woman) in the morning, followed by a creative workshop in the afternoon. We tried to recall our memories of the river (or rivers for some), and we then drew a memory map out of it.

On the following day we had a mini-tour, as well as a storytelling activity with a number of senior citizens. Though as much as I want to share my insights regarding the matter in this entry, I’m holding it back since I want to upload my insights and experiences in chunks. They will be posted here and in Kanto ni Bantong in the near future.

But hell yeah I’m very much on board for this!


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