I have always been in love with the theatre arts. Acting has always fascinated me and watching actors in musicals and plays has always been one of the things I find leisure in. Nothing inspires me more than seeing my fellow students in huge productions knowing that I could also be in their position- acting, performing, doing what they are most passionate about in front of a huge audience.
On August 2-4, 2012, the Harlequin Theatre Guild showcased their annual play fest: Dulasalle. This year’s show was entitled Dulasalle 2k12: REALIDAD, with their acts focusing on opening the eyes of Lasallian students to what is really happening in our country, to reality. The show had four mini-plays entitled Ang Pigtas kong Tsinelas, Mcdonalisasyon, Posporo, and Mga Anak ng Bayan, all written by Genaro Gojo.
The first act, Pigtas ng Tsinelas was about a kid trying to raise money through selling bottles he picked up or scavenged from the streets so he could help cure his sick mother. Unfortunately, his mother only ended up dying at the end of the story. Injustice was definitely portrayed in this story. Children are never encouraged to work for their family, however, because of the his family’s situation and financial instability, he was left with no other choice but to find money on his own only to find out that his efforts weren’t enough to save his mother.
The second act, entitled Mcdonalization, tried to depict the lives of fast food restaurant workers. It showed what it was like on the other side of the counter which was definitely something that, I, as a student, haven’t really thought about. Among the crew was a guy who also ended up dying at the end of the act as he was killed by robbers while they were trying to steal the money he had withdrawn for him to pay his debts with.
Posporo was about a saleslady who works in “Shoe World” who realized that her job was making her really unhappy. This part included the girl getting insults from costumers, the tiring routine she encounters because of her job, and the verbal abuse she gets from her manager. Aside from that, the girl was also dealing with problems in her family because her mother, who was working overseas, died. This definitely made me realize that life throws you all sorts of burdens but the biggest challenge in life is actually finding the strength to still end up smiling amidst everything you have gone through or are still going through.
The last part focused on the lives of street children and fortunate ones. Sa Mga Anak ng Bayan had two main characters- a boy who was given proper education, and another kid who lives in the slum areas of Balintawak. What was interesting in this part was that their playgrounds were separated by a wall. It’s amazing how a mere “wall”- media, economic status, influence of society, could set a huge gap between our youth and leave them totally disconnected with one another. This act showed that it was still possible for children to be in touch with each other despite their differences. This act somehow showed that there was still hope for our youth.
As an overview, I think that the acting was a little inconsistent. You could definitely see that they were on different levels in terms of skills in acting and you could easily detect which ones are new and which ones are not. I really did like the acting in Mcdonalization because the actors were really able to portray the characters distinctively. I did find some of the customers’ acting quite exaggerated but I guess they really needed that in order to emphasize what customers are like in the eyes of the restaurant’s crew. The Blocking was well planned though. I always hate it when actors turn their backs on their audience or when they position themselves at an angle wherein their facial expressions aren’t seen very well and their lines aren’t completely understood. However, the volume of their voices was too loud at some points, like in the singing. The setting in each act was impressive. You could really see, through the props, that it was really well-prepared for. What was even more exciting was that not only was the stage used, but the whole theatre was maximized as well. Actors came in from different parts of the theatre which I guess helped them get the attention of their audience too. The acting also helped in setting the mood of each story, for example, in the first part there was some sort of chanting which gave off a mysterious, somehow depressing atmosphere. I also liked the transition from one story to another and how the characters were used to show the gravity of each story. I also really liked how they utilized their props in order to make the scenes more real or more creative like what they did with the mannequin in Posporo, and how they added humor to catch the attention of their viewers, like what they did in Pigtas ng Tsinelas when the boy tried to fight the story’s villains.
I think that the issues tackled in the whole production were very much appropriate because a lot of us know that these things are really prevalent in our society yet we choose not to act upon them and simply ignore them. Faults and slips are inevitable for a huge production like this, let alone be handled by people who probably had the hardest time trying to balance academics and preparing for something as big as this annual play fest. Despite these, they didn’t fail to convey the message that they were trying to send across, and they were really able to raise greater awareness through depicting the lives of people whose shoes a lot of us rarely try putting ourselves in. I’ll definitely look forward to watching Dulasalle 2k13 to see what else is in store for HTG’s audience.