Friday, July 3, 2015

VIRGIN LABFEST XI: Set D

http://www.gmanetwork.com/news/story/506186/lifestyle/artandculture/sariwa-xi-love-tales-lead-2015-virgin-labfest
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TALO ANG WALANG ALAM – Myrna (Nikki Pastor) goes on labor in a cart parked on the street, while her brother-in-law is chased by a corrupt police official for whom he peddles drugs. The arrival of a working student who asks for help to recover her bag with money for her mother’s dialysis shifts  the dynamics of the game, as the money changes hands until it reaches its new owner. And so it is indeed, the one who knows least emerges as the loser.

This seems to be one of those entries that feels obliged to show you the underbelly of society, the nitty gritty that is sure to make you wince with every scene. Some would be quick to dismiss this as poverty porn, not that different from what you see in most indie films. While we acknowledge the need for entries to be socially relevant, perhaps there are other ways of getting the message across without being too cliché. The acting is good alright, but the entire hour felt just like watching the local news, or even a soap opera, to some extent.

AN EXPECTED – Gay couple Victor (Acey Aguilar) and Jake (Gio Gahol) extend their date at a theme park after an elegant dinner at a fancy Italian restaurant, where they apparently got not too friendly stares other patrons. Their seemingly plain discussion about dinner segues into uncharted territory as their arguments reveal certain issues about their partnership that they have never discussed before, such as Victor’s desire to “try” a girl to settle whatever doubts that are hounding him regarding his sexuality. All of a sudden, a rather meddlesome gay Fairy (Chunchi Labasaan) approaches the duo, telling them that he is one wish short before he could go back to his world. Reluctant at first, the couple decides to give it a shot, except that the Fairy’s wand seems to be malfunctioning. Be careful what you wish for, because you might just get it.

This one is a pleasant surprise, not because it tackles a timely issue, but rather because the script does make you reflect about the dynamics of relationships nowadays, regardless if they involve heterosexual or homosexual couples. The dialogues do not necessarily inject something new to the discourse, but it is refreshing to hear such arguments recited aloud, because they do confirm that you might not be alone when it comes to your beliefs. The Fairy steals the show most of the time because of his nonchalant demeanor. He even sings a Tagalog version of Let It Go, and it is plain hilarious. But this is one of those plays that you would enjoy because of all the talk. There isn’t much action, but the dialogues keep you interested anyway. To some extent, the setup is almost similar to Kublihan, except that the issues tackled here are catered to a more mature audience.

SI MARIA ISABELLA AT ANG GURYON NG MGA TALA – A Filipino rendition of Dean Francis Alfar’s The Kite of Stars, the story is about a young girl who enlists the help of a butcher’s boy to travel all around the archipelago to collect materials necessary for building a giant kite, which she intends to use to fly and catch the attention of the boy who only has eyes for the stars that twinkle in the evening sky. Their journey spans six decades and bears witness to persistence, heartache, as well as unrequited love.

This one takes home the prize. You know when you are presented with a material that is obviously meant for children, and you think that you would not be deriving anything useful from the story at all? Well, if you have read Le Petit Prince, you would be familiar with that feeling. The reaction that this play elicits is of the same league. While the circumstances of their mission seem too outlandish, the underlying themes that are subtly hinted on as the plot unfolds teach you a lot about life and make you question a lot of things at the same time. In the end, it convinces you to see people in a different light, showing that most of us might have questionable goals in life, but the decision to go on with the journey is ours alone, and that most of the time it is that very journey which matters more than the end result itself.

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