W;T (Margaret Edson)

(Draft) I just had the most EPIC experience in watching a theater play today.

[/] Hinarang ng Guard.
[/] Natawagan ang cast.
[/] Sinundo ng staff.
[/] Diniscountan ang ticket.
[/] AT Pinaupo sa front row center seat.

I thought that was the highlight of my theater experience for the month April but my experience and realization after watching the show was awesome.

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I was supposed to watch W;T¬†the day after when I got stuck with my homework and decided to run to¬†Trinity University of Asia to watch there and then. I did not realize that the security of the TUA is very strict that they are demanding for tickets before I can actually enter the campus. Of course, since it’s an impromptu decision, I wasn’t able to buy one. So I tried calling the number in the poster asking how I can enter, (or buy a¬†ticket for me to enter the campus). That was 5:50 pm, 10 minutes before the start of the show.

Fortunately, the phone rang and someone answered the phone. The universe must be playing games with me, the person on the other end of the line was the cast/ producer of the show, Francis Mattheau. Fortunately, though, Francis was very accommodating and find people to help me (actually fetch me) from the entrance going to the theater house.

Fortunate events after fortunate events, the staff told me that the price ticket for today’s run, since it was a TUA sponsored event, was at P300.00 pesos only (Original P1000). And it did not end there, she even ushered me to the front row!

I must have done something great to deserve this. Thank you to the cast and staff!

Now on the play.

 

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Best seat in the house! ‚̧

 

CAST

Tami Monsod played the role of Vivian Bearing, a brilliant and uncompromising professor of English Literature diagnosed with a terminal ovarian cancer. She specializes in the Holy Sonnets of John Donne¬†famously know for his¬†literary pieces on death, poetry, and the use of “;” instead of “,”. ¬†Ms. Tami Monsod nailed tremendously the role of Vivian. Sobrang galing, at madadala ka talaga. She had an amazing interpretation of Vivian Bearing. Her¬†act was very precise and you can really see and feel that she gave all her heart (and hair) to give justice to the role. There were a lot of scenes that I would already want to stand from where I’m sitting and hug her.

 

Mikkie Bradshaw¬†played the role of Susie Monahan, a registered nurse, and chief nurse in charge of Vivian. I met Mikkie¬†Bradshaw from Fun Home where she played the role of Middle-Aged Alison (I’m so glad she remembered me). She was my¬†favorite character then, and again in this play. I am so amazed by how she transformed from a middle-aged confused kid to a compassionate and very kind nurse. I will never forget the last scene with her and the dead body of Vivian where I almost lost control and planned to go up to the stage to hug and comfort her. Susie highlighted the most significant trait of the Nurses in the health care community which is compassion. They are smart, reliable, and compassionate. A trait that is often lost by people in this field.

I had a chance to talk to Mikkie after the show and I asked her how was it playing the role of Susie. She said it was very different, and difficult at the same time. She needed to squeeze her brains out to understand some of the lines since there was a deep literary poem, and she had to act to be genuinely kind.

Bibo Reyes¬†played the role of Jason Posner, M.D. Of all the characters, he was the character I relate myself so well. He was an oncologist, a scientist, a researcher. He studies and conducts research to save lives of many people (such as I). But in doing so, forgets the life of the human being in front of him. He was so into his research that he went almost desperate just to make his research succeed. Like many researchers and doctors nowadays, often, we see patients as mere cases studies and good sources of data that we forget that it’s a life of a human being that we’re dealing with. Bibo was so effective with his role, aside from his charm that captivated the audience that very moment he stepped out of the stage, he delivered his lines and gave an¬†awesome¬†portrayal of an aspiring Oncologist, ambitious scientist, inhumane doctor, and desperate human being wanting to help mankind but forgets to be a human.

Other casts include Raymund Concepcion as Harvey Kelekian/ E.M. Ashford/ Mr. Bearing, Francis Mattheu, Jillian Ita-as, Anikka Estrada, and John de Lima as the Lab Technicians/ Students/ Fellows.

Story

‚ÄúIt is not my intention to give away the plot; but I think I die at the end.‚ÄĚ – Margaret Edson, Wit

The story revolved around the last remaining days of Vivian Bearing, a great professor of English Literature. She was diagnosed with stage 4 ovarian cancer and had to undergo a chemotherapy treatmentРan unguaranteed and experimental chemotherapy treatment. It was a narration of her life: as a student in English literature, as an uncompromising professor, as a daughter, as a patient, as a subject for a case study.

The story is very moving as it captures and marries English literature, through words and sonnets; and health science, through data and research. I like how the play showcased the commonalities of the two fields and their common differences.

It reminds every literary major, health sciences experts, and human beings in the audience to be human. To never forget, as we strive for greatness and optimum knowledge, to be kind. Sometimes, as literary majors, we are too overwhelmed by understanding and interpreting life and death into words that we forgot about life, and to live. Sometimes, as health researchers, we are too perplexed by the wonders of the human body that we forgot to be human, and that who we’re dealing with are humans.

We must always strive, not to be great, but to be kind. ‚ÄúNow is a time for, dare I say it, kindness. I thought being extremely smart would take care of it. But I see I have been found out.‚ÄĚ ‚Äē Vivian Bearing, Wit

After going out of the theater teary-eyed and extremely moved, I highly recommend that you watch this play, “W;t: A play by Margaret Edson”. It is the first time that the play is being adapted in Asia brough to you by Twin Bill. They still have five remaining shows: April 29 (3:00 pm and 8:00 pm), April 30 (3:00 pm), May 2 (8:00 pm) and May 3 (6:00 pm) at Mandell Hall, Trinity University of Asia.

#TheaterAppreciation #AprilTheater #Wit

 

Holy Sonnets: Death, be not proud
Death, be not proud, though some have called thee
Mighty and dreadful, for thou art not so;
For those whom thou think’st thou dost overthrow
Die not, poor Death, nor yet canst thou kill me.
From rest and sleep, which but thy pictures be,
Much pleasure; then from thee much more must flow,
And soonest our best men with thee do go,
Rest of their bones, and soul’s delivery.
Thou art slave to fate, chance, kings, and desperate men,
And dost with poison, war, and sickness dwell,
And poppy or charms can make us sleep as well
And better than thy stroke; why swell’st thou then?
One short sleep past, we wake eternally
And Death shall be no more; Death, thou shalt die.

—-Photo opportunity with the cast—-

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20 Questions

20 Questions is a one-act play by Juan Ekis about two friends locked in one room for twenty-four hours. It was my first time to watch a Juan Ekis play, and unlike other plays I’ve watched, Juan Ekis brings the audience to the scene itself.¬†The entire room was designed and set-upped to feel like the stage itself. The intimacy between the actors and the audience is close you would feel like you’re actually on the scene–witnessing the dialogues of the characters.

It was my first time to watch a Juan Ekis play, and unlike other plays I’ve watched, Juan Ekis brings the audience to the scene itself.¬†The entire room was designed and set-upped to feel like the stage. The intimacy between the actors and the audience is so close you could feel like you’re actually on the scene witnessing the dialogues of the characters.

It didn’t actually felt like watching a well-rehearsed play, it felt like just watching two people talking about their belief, ideals, and perspectives.

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Yes, we’re that close!

I had a hard time connecting with Jigs’ character, played by Jedidah Maigue, at first. He was acting, he was himself acting as Jigs. It took him a while to find grounding and be more comfortable on stage. It only came at the later part where his dialogues became more spontaneous and more natural. But of course, it is also because Jigs’ character is difficult. (If you read the script) Most of his lines are short responses to Yumi and thus it is difficult to establish his character- a gentleman, hopeless romantic, but fun to be with kind of guy. Nevertheless, Jedidah Maigue did a good job portraying the role of Jigs.

Yumi was played by  Diandra Concepcion. She was very comfortable with the role. She put a lot of adlibs, and improvisations to make her character her. And it made her dialogues more natural, and spontaneous. She seemed to really enjoyed playing the character, and it reciprocated because it was also enjoyable watching her.

I’ve read the script many times over when I was college. I got interested in the dialogues and the character of Jigs. I believe that we share the same point of view towards love, sex, and relationship. And, yes, I’d probably answer the 20 questions in the same way as Jigs– Because yeah, I am so Jigs in so many levels. It’s like me watching myself having a conversation with someone explaining my beliefs and points of view in life.

Jigs¬†was carefully established from the start to represent the conservative (using this word loosely) POV. The type of people who are not very open talking about sex, can’t even say it on public [Scene: Sige nga sabihin mo nga, Sex, Sex, Sex!]. He’s the guy who believes in preserving virginity after marriage and offer it as the greatest gift for his soon to be wife (yes, I share that same belief too). He represents those individuals who value¬†purity and chastity. He believes that love is about commitment¬†and that marriage is no trial and error. The kind of mindset that brought him his first heartbreak. Jigs and his girlfriend, Trisha, broke up after he declined his girlfriend’s invitation to live together, to try it out as a couple before actually getting married. He refused because he thought why would that be necessary, there is no practice game for marriage where it is okay to fail. You have to be sure. Two months later, he found out her girlfriend to be pregnant and ¬†eventually got married to someone else.

Yumi represents the liberated (again using the word loosely) group of people where she takes love, sex, and relationship not seriously. She had her first sex when she was in high school, followed by much more, had several boyfriends, and even experienced having two boyfriends at once. For her, having sex is like eating when you feel hungry, sleeping when you get tiredРa basic need, no big deal; and that love is nothing but a trial and error. She had this belief until she got pregnant. She had two boyfriends at that time and got dump by one of them, the father, after knowing about her infidelity.

My take on the 20 Questions is it is about the two opposite perspectives (that often clash) about love, sex, and relationship. The piece was carefully put together and tried to explain (not defend) each side of the opposite perspectives. It is a thought-provoking piece that asks so many whats and what-ifs on love, sex, relationship.

What is your definition of love?

What is sex?

How important is virginity?What if you’re Jigs, and met Yumi, would you still love her despite and in spite of what she is and what’s done. Would you love someone like

And what if you’re Jigs, and you met Yumi? Would you still love her despite and in spite of what she is and what she has¬†done.

Would you love someone like Yumi.

What if you’re Yumi, would you let go of your needs for someone you love, Jigs.

Would you love some like Jigs.

I like how the characters were established strongly at the start in the perspectives they’re trying to portray, and then slowly mature and move towards the opposite spectrum, then overlaps. Evident in the scene where Yumi was fooling around with Jigs of not being able to say the word “Sex”, only to find herself later in the same situation where Jigs was fooling around her because she was too embarrassed to say the same word.

Another part is when Yumi suddenly became poetic, Yumi explained she wants to be a violin, she wants someone to stroked in the soul.

 

[...] Yumi: ‚ÄėPag tumutugtog ang violinist, ang nakikita ko at naririnig ko, he strokes the soul of the instrument and the instrument penetrates the soul of the player. Para silang nagmi-make love. Di ba? Very Sexy, very intimate, very sublime. Di ba? Pareho silang sincere sa isa‚Äôt-isa. Dahil kung hindi sila sincere, walang music na mabubuo. The violin surrenders her body to her player, her whole body and her whole soul, in full trust and sincerity. Di ba, compared to the sound of the other instruments, and tunog ng violin paran isang naked woman? A naked woman in surrender? I want to be a violin. I want to be stroked in the soul. I want to make sincere music. I want to experience the sound of love. [...]

 

What made this change of hearts happened, the bottle of wine? The good conversation? Love? The 20 Questions? Maybe.

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READ FULL SCRIPT HERE: 20 Questions by Juan Ekis