Saturday, June 15, 2024

I Love You, You're Perfect, Now Change (Repertory Philippines)

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Do not expect a storyline because there isn’t any. I Love You, You’re Perfect, Now Change is a collection of vignettes poking fun at modern day relationships, leaving no stone unturned in lampooning everything from dating to sex to parenthood all the way to its culminating chapter hilariously named “Funerals Are For Dating” where two newly-widowed senile individuals take another chance at romance despite not remembering whose wake it is they are currently at. This musical is like watching a comedy show skit and since the brand of humor is right up my alley, I actually enjoyed the damn thing all throughout, perhaps thanks to all the sarcasm. Everything from the dialogues to the song lyrics are packed with some crass humor and common observations about relationships that you would not dare say out loud. Perhaps this is also one of the reasons why this musical ends up being funnier than it’s supposed to be.

Friday, June 14, 2024

VIRGIN LABFEST 19: Set C - PuTim

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PAGKAPIT SA HANGIN - Nurse A (Elora Espano), Nurse B (Wenah Nagales), and a Doctor (Timothy Mabalot) are trapped by their profession in a government hospital at the height of the COVID pandemic. Aside from the fatigue and lack of manpower, the trio are hounded by a dilemma which is a shortage of oxygen tanks that they must distribute equally to the 60 patients under their care. Not expecting any outside help, the three decide to select which patients have less chances of surviving, turning off their air supply. A Watcher (Gold Villar Lim), whose father is among those deprived of air, discovers the anomaly.

Most of us had the luxury of getting bored in our homes as our biggest dilemma during the pandemic, while others were not as lucky and ended up at crowded hospitals either as health workers or patients. Many of them died. PAGKAPIT SA HANGIN relives the horror and the drama at hospital halls that we’ve only ever heard about but never got to experience. It is harrowing. While deciding who has a good chance of survival seems like normal everyday occurrence in hospitals, the moral question of such a difficult decision, multiplied many times over during a pandemic, is just so unprecedented. The toll on mental health must have been traumatic.

Thursday, June 13, 2024

We Have Always Lived in the Castle

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A sprawling estate between the town and the highway, Blackwell Manor once had more than three occupants. The trio living there now are the survivors of a multiple murder during a night when their dinner was laced with arsenic. The primary suspect, found to be not guilty, was Constance Blackwood. Now 28 years old, she has become agoraphobic and never steps foot outside the house. All the grocery shopping is carried out by her 18-year-old sister Mary Katherine Blackwood, known to everyone as Merricat. Superstitious and deludedly so, she’s often picked on by the unsympathetic townspeople who have come up with their own urban legends about their wealthy and reclusive neighbors. Completing the trio is sickly Uncle Julian who had a taste of arsenic but managed to survive, albeit now confined to a wheelchair and forever trying to write a memoir of that fateful night. One day, a certain Charles Blackwood claiming to be a cousin knocks at their door, with his own ideas about what to do with the house and family fortune.

Tuesday, June 11, 2024

Goodbye to Berlin

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British writer Christopher Isherwood moves to Berlin at a time of shifting ideologies aligned with the quick rise to prominence of a political figure named Adolf Hitler. Berlin during the last days of the Weimar Republic is a portrait of a society in decay, holding on to the pleasures of a bygone era giving way to what will be a tumultuous phase of the country’s history. Dealing with penury and lack of motivation for his novellas, Christopher changes residences quite often and meets some colorful personalities along the way, among them: Sally Bowles, a flapper who possesses grand showbiz ambitions but without the talent to match; homosexual couple Otto Nowak and Peter Wilkinson, with whom he shares a flat at a Baltic Sea town; Natalie Landauer, a young Jewish woman who is among the many students that he is tutoring in English; and Fräulein Schneider, his German landlady. They navigate Berlin society as anti-Semitic sentiments are on the rise, paving the path for a grim and uncertain future.

Friday, June 7, 2024

Sir Gawain and the Green Knight

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Once again the New Year has come and King Arthur gathers his knights for merrymaking in Camelot. As they savor the festivities, a gigantic humanoid crashes the party on his horse, both rider and equine of a natural green color from head to toe. He wields a battle axe despite not wearing any armor and announces his arrival to everyone with the purpose of having some Christmas fun. What he has in store for them is a little holiday challenge, should someone come forward and prove to be strong enough for him. It involves hitting him with his own axe anywhere on his body, on the condition that whoever does so would agree to receive a retaliatory blow exactly a year and a day later. King Arthur prepares to take on the challenge, but his young nephew Sir Gawain asks to do it in his stead. He quickly beheads the Green Knight, after which the latter stands up, picks up his head, and bids him goodbye before reminding him of their meeting the following year.

Saturday, June 1, 2024

Nightbitch

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MM is a stay-at-home mom whose daily routine is heavily focused on raising her son. Her husband is always away on business trips and seldom helps around when he finds himself at home with them. The mother has regrets about her domestic life given how she had a successful career as an artist before she got married and gave birth to her son. As pent up frustrations begin to surface, she notices strange changes happening to her body. Aside from the surplus of hair growing in unlikely places, her front teeth also start to resemble those of a canine. Is she literally transforming into a dog or are all these a hallucination of her tired brain? The plot thickens when she meets a trio of mothers in the community who, she swears, have visited her one night as a trio of dogs. Curious, she seeks answers in a book about magical women written by a certain Wanda White, to whom she decides to write emails to quell her curiosity.

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