Last night, I slept with a rock for a stomach. Now, my lower back's sort of paying the price. Today is the first time (and should be the last) in both semesters that I took an entire day off from school. One of my proudest achievements in high school was never ever being absent due to sickness during all ten months of fourth year.
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Theater year 2011 officially kicked off last Saturday with The Joy Luck Club by Repertory Philippines at Onstage Greenbelt (performances from Friday-Sunday until Feb 20). Probably the best bargain we've ever made: Fourth row orchestra side aisle seats for P400 apiece. Anyway, here are my thoughts:
1. Best daughter: Cris Villonco, hands down. Hers was the most consistent and authentic performance, exhibiting perfect control over her characterization of the chess prodigy struggling with present-day relationships. Jenny Jamora comes a not-so-close second. Best mother: Frances Makil Ignacio (Cris's onstage mom). Some may disagree with me, but I thought her performance was entertainment in every sense of the word.
2. Ana Abad Santos was a disappontment. It was as if she was trying to make herself larger than she already was, as if she was afraid the theater would swallow her up. At many points along the show, I thought her voice would break. And her childhood scene seemed an extract from a high school declamation piece.
3. Best execution of a scene: the airport arrivals area at the end of Act II. Or maybe it's just me and my obsession with planes and stuff. Now I don't want to call this next one 'the worst execution of a scene', so I'll settle with 'most dragging part of the show': The Moon Lady Act I ender. Coming from a Chinese high school background, I say this with nary a bat of an eyelash: It was simply an unpleasant experience to sit through.
4. Somewhere along the show, I actually doubted whether I was watching a drama piece or a pseudo-comedy. Many times, I found myself laughing at the fake Chinese accents and unpolished Chinese lines. There were also scenes that seemed rushed, in the end unable to obtain that emotional and dramatic peak (like Pinky Marquez's childhood scene; I thought she was just okay there). Oh, and the matchmaker played by Gold Soon gave me a headache.
5. Overall, the play was mildly pleasant at the most.