Cebu Contemporary Theatre Festival 2010 Review

Cebu Contemporary Theatre Festival

It was early Saturday evening when I was waiting outside the CAP Auditorium in Jones. I was waiting for friends to come. I was waiting for someone else. I am so killing the one who invented Filipino time but nonetheless I went in ahead together with some schoolmates.

We attended the Cebu Contemporary Theatre Festival this year. It’s mission to make “accessible quality art reflecting all of Cebu’s diverse cultures.” With that visionary theme in mind, this dedicated to championing the expansion of the arts and preservation of the city’s heritage.

August 21.

Four awesome plays. One glorious evening. One Ticket.

Gazillion laughs. Gazillion cries. Cebuano talent at its finest.

One thing though before I shower some praises: program booklet is sold and its price was inconsistently announced, I was already seated when this girl came up to us and drove us away since apparently they were for those who paid the complementary ticket. If the audience was mature enough to keep their comments to themselves and if I was seated much nearer, I would have been more drawn to the plays. One thing I love as I was reading the program was that our school AMA Cebu was acknowledged.

It is created by the Crystal Cavalier Productions who is known for its eight years of creativity, technology and collaboration.

1st Part: Wedding Dance

Directed by: Rhea Fantonial-Bautista
Cast: Andy Pateña, Allan Inoc

Set in the northern highlands, “Wedding Dance” is the most hurtful of all dramas, starting on a pang of pain and never quite letting go. Awiyao a man who is part of an Ifugao tribe, is about to leave his first wife, Lumnay because she could never bore a child after 7 years of marriage. Forced by the tribe to marry another woman, Awiyao is pressured to ensure that his name is carried on by his children. He says goodbye to Lumnay in the most painful way, inviting her to his wedding dance with another woman.

The verdict: 5/5 stars

Why? The fact that they used the ethnic language quite fluently which I think was used to authenticate the story. It is incorporated quite beautifully to the English language used all throughout. Story-wise, it is beautiful in the most excruciating way. With a love that is set on the boundaries of culture, it is painful especially in the part of the woman in question. The way she carried herself was breathtaking. The man who played Awiyao complemented her just as great. This play just fits to be the grand opening act.

2nd Part:May Trabaho Na Po Ako Inay

Directed by: Brett Aleonar
Cast: Arnel Villamor, Kristine Villasis

Set in present day Manila, “May Trabaho Na Po Ako Inay” is about a young man who just got a job playing the gorilla in the Manila Zoo. His friend, a bubbly jogger passed by him as he was taking a break in his costume, drove everything upside down. The public are oblivious to the fact that most of the animals in the zoo are hired actors.

The verdict: 4/5 stars

Why? How they spoke “Tagalog” especially for the girl was flawless and believable. Her laughs however are becoming staged as she goes on. The play is very funny especially how the man was ridiculed. What makes it funnier is that the man sounds and looks like one of our school mates in AMA Cebu. The fact that it followed a heavy drama makes sense. The ending was humorous at best.

3rd Part: Angry Jurors

Directed by: Raymond Ordoño
Cast: Adrienne Lee, Charlene Virlouvet, Arnel Cabatingan

“Angry Jurors” is about a jury of animals: a cat, bunny and a snake. They have to decide on the guilt or innocence of the Big Bad Wolf. Set in the jury deliberation room after the trial, the jury looks over the testimonies and the evidence against the wolf. They later decide if he is guilty of huffing and puffing down the house of the two little pigs.

The verdict: 3/5 stars

Why? It actually was great except for how it began. The word’s they spoke weren’t as audible as it should be especially that they are speaking in straight English but the sound system came to its senses halfway through just in time for us to hear some really unheard justifications on a very old fairy tale. The cat and bunny was really pleasing to the ears. The bunny mimicked Bugs, the cat reminded me of Ashley Tisdale’s character in High School Musical and the snake was fine. They sounded like real Americans themselves and looked like one too. This is the most colorful of the plays and the entry of fables to the line-up made the show quite more interesting. It ended on a funny note.

4th Part: Dinhi Na Lang Kutob Ug Daghang Salamat

Directed by: Brett Aleonar
Cast: Jose “Joe” Galeon, Lord Latonio, Lester Cawayan

This play is about a repressed closet gay and pawnshop owner, “Tiyo Fidel.” Nobody in town knows Fidel’s secret except for his best friend, the flamboyant Julie, the town’s beautician. He advises Fidel to come to terms with his own nature especially when Fidel is in love with his own nephew, Efren.

The verdict: 4/5 stars

Why? Story wise it was actually amazing and timely it’s just that it was too long with a lot of cuts. Had they shortened it to a few acts, it would’ve been the greatest. I had no problems with the acting as the three actors played theirs so well. However, Julie’s screams was really becoming a pain in the ears but then having seen him in his previous play, “The Glass Slipper,” it was forgivable especially with how well he entertained all of us. Also, one of the reasons I didn’t gave it a perfect score was the dialogue. Yes, it is beautiful and extremely funny and natural but thing is Julie may have said some things that could draw the line: a risky take on confessions and the Iglesia. For what it’s worth he didn’t have to try so hard, he is the star of the show and that may be a problem as he is overpowering the performance of his co-actors. For Fidel and Efren, they don’t have to feel so awkward in every scene together especially when the audience is teasing them. But how they played their part gave life to a very unusual modern love story.

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