Sunday, June 16, 2024

Teatro Pinas Review : PETA’s ‘Control+Shift’ Play B: A forest magic, lesson on modern inclusion, and a Barangay tragedy

Teatro Pinas Review : PETA’s ‘Control+Shift’ Play B: A forest magic, lesson on modern inclusion, and a Barangay tragedy

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Last January 20, 2024 (Saturday) at 2 PM, we got the chance to watch the play B among the eight (8) feature works in the Philippine Educational Theater Association (PETA)’s “Control + Shift: Changing Narratives, Reclaiming, and Reshaping Stories of the Filipino People” One-Act show series. Play B comprised of with titles: “Kislap at Fuego” (Sparkle and Fire), “/Slash”, and “Ang Parangal” (The Tribute). Play Set B runs three hours for three acts with ten (10) ten-minute breaks in between acts. The show series ran for six days distributed in two weeks in January 2023.

PETA theater is accessible from the LRT1 Gilmore Station. The road is narrow but passable for regular four-seater cars. The studio theater is comprised of rows of seats at level and raised platforms at the back. A five-footer girl like me was seated with a center view. In front of me is the edge of the raised platform with one step down to the level floor. The stage looks compact from my view, with the bottom part of the stage not as visible. The lighting was well-choreographed to help the audience focus on one character over the other. The temperature in the theater is comfortable. The audio is also clear.

Kislap at Fuego

The movie poster describes the story as “An unexpected fairytale between a Kapre (tree giant) and a country girl, set amidst the Philippine Revolution against Spain.” The play explores “how to reshape the way we talk about love, rebirth, and revolution.” The story was taken from “Toward the Fires of Revolution,” adapted from the short story “Odd and Ugly” by Vida Cruz. The playwright is Dominique La Victora.

Most of the scenes were long dialogue between the couple breaking the silence in the forest. The costumes and props were simple. The themes, revolution, heroism, and love were serious stuff made simple with humor that tingle the awkward romance between a forest creature and a typical serious country girl. I recognized the lead star, Kim Molina, who starred in a comic existential romance Filipino film we used to watch with our college peers. Great rendition other than some slang words, makes the play adaptable to replicate in high schools.


/Slash by Liza Magtoto is about a story of three colleagues arguing on influencing, cancellation, and inclusion. The play is comprised of three characters. The script was successful in capturing the realities of arguments and sentiments in the challenges faced. The tone of arguments makes listeners wary of the situation and may exhaust audiences more than necessary. More enlightening moments help uplift the audience, especially after a long period of listening to heavy arguments. The play uses terms that may be understood better by a more niche audience who is looking to find empathy in similar characters.

And Parangal

Ang Parangal is an adaptation of Milos Forman’s 1967 comedy film, “The Fireman’s Ball” to a Filipino setting. The setting starts with a group of barangay officers organizing a community anniversary celebration with a tribute to the retired barangay captain. The play runs with scripts from several characters intended to be hints of the sentiments in a barangay celebration. The rendition is easy enough to be adopted for higher education studies touching on social and environmental themes. Direction & concept by Eric dela Cruz, adaptation & co-conceptualized with Michelle Ngu-Nario.

“Control+Shift” is a bold attempt to capture the responses of the audience with a survey to answer before and after each play. The questions in the survey were made light and casual to cheer young audiences on the themes rather than for adults looking for meaning. It would be significant to look into the intention and expectations in the survey format and respondents.

Review by Abigail Ko

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