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I dare you to say that ten times fast without stuttering or bumbling. By THAT, I mean the title of this piece.
This particular play tickled my curiosity precisely because it was to be staged inside a fast-food establishment. The first time the invites posted, the venue was different, but still at the home of the big golden arches. (Apparently, those goldies were intentionally curvacious and voluptuous, but that’s for another time).
So, why in a fast-food joint? Well, as the show gets underway, they explain that it’s their way of reaching out to their audience. Innovative, I must say. Bravo, 4th Flr Productions. I haven’t heard this done before. If it has, it’s still a bold move. Extra points for bundling the tickets with McFood. Yey.
The show was actually a triad of shorts that led the audience to ponder about the state of our citizenry. Not just about what the government can and should do for its people, but about how the people make up the country that the government runs, and how those same people are free to think for themselves. Too vague? Too broad? Let’s dissect.
The first in the series was entitled “Sinong Kumalabit ng Gatilyo (Who Pulled the Trigger?)”. Written by Toni Tamondong and Ryan de Guzman, this thinkpiece takes the audience back to August 21, 1983 — The day of the world-renowned, case-yet-unsolved assassination of the Philippines’ most famous icon of Democracy. Two hitmen, each apparently hired for the same job, both seemingly trying to convince themselves that it’s just a job and that the pay is worth it. Both are ready to execute their orders, when a third assassin joins them only to come to a drastic realization. I’ll cut this blurb short, to avoid spoiling things further, but I’d have to say the story was a relatively new perspective on that fateful day. Nevermind the events leading to, or springing from, but that day itself, and how it was focused on other people. Given that this was the first time something like this has been done (that I know of), the lackluster acting was excuseable, and the inconsistent props (one gun was built from scratch, while one was bought off a toy store) can only be reflective of a limited budget. For this one, the story was its best asset. Kudos, writers.
Next: Bogs Igmasin’s “44th”. I have a more personal bias towards this second one because, aside from the fact that I’ve seen this guy’s work before (i.e. Tanghalang Batingaw’s “Paraluman“), stories about or relating to the unrest in Mindanao (specially the ARMM and Zamboanga areas) hit close to home. This one’s about another fateful day in Philippine History : January 25, 2015. The event actually rings a similar sound to “The Charge of the Light Brigade“, especially when the SAF are referred to as “The Fallen 44“. What makes this even more powerful is that it’s a monologue by one of the fallen, as he recalls every detail– every sound, every scent, every scene. I liked this a lot because the acting enhanced the story. The fact that it was a monologue and not a full play (there WERE 44 of them) made the audience feel just how alone and forgotten the 44 must have felt that day.
And then, another one of Bogs Igmasin’s works “Kwento’t Kalimot (Stories and Forgetfullness)”. For sure this one was included because of its raunchy theme, sure to fill the seats. I especially like the way the title already tickles the mind (Kwento’t sounds like Kantot, which means “sex” in street talk, and Kalimot sounds like Kalmot, or scratching. Kinky). This last part is another perspective on pillow talk and casual sex. Just add the social commentary on everything in the Philippine Setting and you have the perfect climax (hehe.) to two previously drama-heavy pieces. I especially found myself giggling at the titles and logos of the motels the couples were touring. Can you say Innuendo?
Overall, I have to hand it to 4th Flr Productions, and how they are bridging the gap between stage and audience. I sincerely hope more shows would come from this, and hope that more venues cooperate.