Cebu, Philippines — Ever since I was a prep student at the University of San Carlos, I had been exposed to stage plays and writing manuscripts for plays. Yes, I was exposed to a highly creative environment since Prep. Studying in a Catholic institution that values art and music on one of its academics, I had made the world my stage and literally acted on several programs in the course of my elementary years. I had acted quiet a few times and it gave me a very satisfying feeling when the crowd would clap after each performance. I may not be the star of each play, but I always had a feeling that I owned the stage, nothing more.
The stage and the plays had been my escape to the harsh realities of life. It brought me to a more profound world where I can be someone else and worry on my sorrows later. It gave me the strength and the tenacity to face the audience and make my facial expression understandable to everyone even at the farthest. I had become expressive and more attuned to the lights and the music and even when there are no cameras on cue, I can definitely pull off my acting stunt and just have to have a smile plastered on my face when needed. I had been subjected to different roles and when I moved on to High School, the love for performing did not cease. I had found another diversion when I was in Elementary, being in the choir, and honed my singing skills properly. I had been trained and survived through thick and thin, and had been awarded several medals every end of the year. It gave me more access to theater and even when I am not in the limelight, I still sing the pieces on certain parts of the play. These two gave me the best years in my existence as a pupil for the university.
As I actually made myself ready for the play slowly unraveling before me, I felt a bit strange, maybe because I was not expecting such intense emotions filling the air. I felt like I was part of the cast, and somewhere on the stage, I felt like I am one of the actors. My feeling escalated into somewhat more than being awesome. The stage may be minimalist, and religious icons may be the focal point on the set but still, the message being conveyed was loud and clear. The play itself is enlightenment for the 51st International Eucharistic Congress is all about. Dubbed as Mga Dula Sa Pagtuo, or Plays of Faith, all the acts centered on FAITH as something that binds the family together. In the play, different scenarios of families and would be families are presented, each at the core, presents how the society has existed. It is a blow-by-blow account of how Catholicism and our personal faith played an essential and critical role in our dealings with the society. In fact, in one of the acts, particularly in Sila Nga Mitaliwan Na, I was reminded about the unborn children being disregarded by the society at present. There is a rampancy of pre marital sex resulting into unwanted pregnancies, and when worse circumstances present itself, the unborn angels are not given proper rights for their eternal rest. And then most people complain of voices and presence of unknown spirits and elementals in their homes and surroundings. It is quiet ironic that we are a dominantly Catholic, and yet, we lack faith and trust in God.
Each of us are having the freedom of choice. Sometimes, we forget to acknowledge knowing the signs given by God to guide us in our endeavors. The short act of Ringtone reminded me of the past when I had gone against my parents will with being in a relationship when I was still young. It brought back memories of being reminded either by Holy intercession or what, and luckily, I thought twice and followed what I think is right.
Forgiveness is also one of the salient points in the play. The “Paklay sa Canta Misa” poignantly portrayed how forgiveness and trust is essential in maintaining bonds between family, the best of friends and the community. It showed how the truth can always set us free from the bondage of sin. It effectively captures the emotions that run deep. As they say, when you truly forgive, you become happy and feel free.
I noticed that the Cebuano Stage Play scene is already extinct for some reason. Ironically, the people can spend for more on films being shown on movie houses where you can’t even see the cast in the flesh. This form of art was relevant and prevalent in the olden times until about the 80’s and it is very saddening that the talent and ability of Cebuanos are already down the drain. I was glad to meet Silven, who also acted as Sandro in the act of “Sila Nga Mitaliwan Na” as the husband of my friend and mentor Mam Ferliza, who plays the role of Rosa. Coincidently, he saw my favorite play, The Love Letters, A.R. Gurney’s hit Broadway play “Love Letters,” starring Bart Guingona and Pinky Amador on the same year I was able to see it. He was every inch a literary man, and somehow we agreed that he will help me polish my writing style. I salute Msgr. Ting Ancajas and Director Ligaya Rabago for coming up with such wonderful plays. I had missed the theater and no doubt, I would love to join and be a cast of upcoming plays in the future, too.
Image Credits to Madam Ferliza Calizar Contratista 🙂 I was fortunate to get the last staging of the play a day after the Cebu Blogging Summit.