May 17, 2014
Good theater is a powerful instrument for human development and social transformation. The great works of William Shakespeare, Bertolt Brecht, Arthur Miller, Harold Pinter and Samuel Becket, among others have a timeless relevance and great influence on human society. Their literary masterpieces have been translated and adapted by theater artists in many countries throughout the centuries and have never failed to assert their contemporary relevance to their viewing public.
In the Philippines, Filipino literary artists of different generations have also made their own indelible marks on Philippine society through their art—Nick Joaquin, Bienvenido Lumbera, Virgilio Almario, F. Sionil Jose, Rolando Tinio, Malou Jacob, Rene Villanueva, Frank Rivera, Paul Dumol, Tony Perez, Butch Dalisay, Pete Lacaba, Bienvenido Noriega, Reuel Aguila, and Rody Vera. Lately, Floy Quintos, Nick Pichay, Liza Magtoto, and Layeta Bucoy stand out among their peers as literary geniuses, who capture and translate into great dramaturgy the nuances of the illnesses that plague contemporary Philippine society.
For its 28th Theater Season, Tanghalang Pilipino adopts DISEASE as its theme. As a company, we shall proactively exploit the power of theater to mirror the seemingly incurable social cancer of Philippine society. Layeta Bucoy’s play Kleptomaniacs, written in contemporary rap, theorizes the breeding of corrupt leaders; Rolando Tinio’s beautiful translation of Arthur Miller’s “Death of a Salesman” brings to life once more the futility of chasing the elusive dreams of prosperity and conformity; Jerry Respeto brings Luigi Pirandello’s Cosi E Si Vi Pare, a drama which explores conflicting versions of the truth; Balangiga by Rody Vera brings us back to a moment in our history filled with both triumph and pain and, finally, Elmer Gatchalian’s translation of Pierre Choderlos de Laclos Dangerous Liaisons sheds light on the intrigues of the upper crust society.
These productions dissect the social illnesses of society and all who live therein. From the age-old cancerous greed of politicians, maniacs of material wealth and power to the transnationals’ insatiable lust for profit and disregard for the plight of the workers, the obsession of the middle-class for recognition and social climbing, the arrogance of a superpower and the intimidation of a country and a people that are asserting their integrity and sovereignty, and finally, the desperate last efforts of the aristocratic conquistadores to dominate and devour their innocent prey.
“KLEPTOMANIACS” are psycho-sociopaths who have a pathological, uncontrollable urge to steal, and a most predictable curious way of denying that they have stolen from anyone. They can, without batting an eyelash, proclaim, “I did not steal anything. My conscience is clear. I have not done anything wrong. I swear to God.”
In Tanghalang Pilipino’s “KLEPTOMANIACS” in July 2014, Layeta Bucoy and Tuxqs Rutaquio will do an “expose” on the new generation of “KLEPTOMANIACS,” and will even make them do RAP and HIP-HOP.
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