Friday, October 23, 2009

Bakit Masarap ang Bawal?

Bored na ba ako. Andami kong requirements na dapat sulatin, pero play lang ang lumalabas sa utak ko. Hindi ko alam kung bakit. Buntis na naman ang utak ko. Kailangang iluwal habang may kaunti pang lakas at oras...

Trying to work on a new play. A sequel or a spin-off of Kapeng Barako Club. I'm not so sure. But so far, here's the conversation that came out of my head on my bed:

Konting background for those who haven't read KBC: Samahan ng mga Bitter, Marlowe is a playwright who owns a coffee shop kung saan tumatambay lagi ang KBC. Nagtuturo din siya ng Creative Writing sa university sa tapat ng kapihan niya. Si Sunshine ay estudyante sa university at nagtatrabahong part-time kay Marlowe bilang barista/waitress.

MARLOWE
Ano’ng ginagawa mo sa klase ko?

SHINE
Bakit? Bawal?

MARLOWE
Nadidistract ako sa’yo.

SHINE
Sorry naman.

MARLOWE
You don’t need to take that class. It’s a creative writing class.

SHINE
Pwede naman akong mag-elective ah.

MARLOWE
I-drop mo na.

SHINE
Ayoko nga. Pakialam mo? Gusto kong matutong magsulat eh.

MARLOWE
Ibabagsak kita.

SHINE
On what basis?

MARLOWE
Hindi ako makakapagturo nang maayos niyan eh!

SHINE
At bakit?

MARLOWE
Hindi ka pa ba kuntento na boss mo ‘ko dito? Boss mo na ako, teacher mo pa. Kulang na lang tatay mo na ako.

SHINE
Ayun! Feeling mo tumatanda ka na! May issue palang ganun.

MARLOWE
Ano ka ba? Wala akong pakialam sa edad ko. Mas virile at mas attractive ang mga lalake pag mas tumatanda.

SHINE
E di wag mo na lang akong pansinin sa classroom. How hard is that to do?

MARLOWE
Namputa naman lima lang kayong estudyante ko, hindi pa kita papansinin.

SHINE
E di pansinin mo ako.

MARLOWE
Ifa-fire kita.

SHINE
On what grounds?

MARLOWE
Insubordination.

SHINE
What about academic freedom? Hindi ba pinaglalaban mo ‘yun nung estudyante ka pa? Tapos ngayon, ite-terrorize mo ako para huwag i-take ang klase mo? Hindi ba dapat ngang ma-flatter ka because I’m wasting my precious time to attend your class? I’m willing to add to my load! Magpapasa ako ng lahat ng requirements mo! I’ll ace your class. I promise you, you will have no choice but to give me a 1.0. Kung ang worry mo ay mapapahiya ka sa akin, promise, I’ll shoot myself kung mangyari yun. I’m running for honors, alam mo ‘yan.

MARLOWE
I don’t doubt what you can do. You probably write better than me.

SHINE
Sobra ka naman.

MARLOWE
As a friend, can you do this as a friend? Can you drop my class, please? I’m asking you as a friend.

SHINE
Friends na pala tayo ngayon? Akala ko ba boss kita?

MARLOWE
Huwag kang Pilosopo.

SHINE
Bakit ba ayaw mo sa akin?

Sandaling katahimikan

MARLOWE
Hindi nga ayaw eh. Gusto nga eh.

SHINE
Huh? Anlabo mo.

MARLOWE
Pag naging estudyante na kita…

Sandaling titigil

MARLOWE
Hindi na kita malalandi.

Sandaling katahimikan. Hindi alam ni Sunshine kung paano magreact.

Ngingiti si Sunshine.

SHINE
Sabi ko nga.

Magiging seryoso ang mukha ni Marlowe

MARLOWE
You’re fired.

Dilim.


Sunday, October 11, 2009

KAPE at YOSI

Isang eksena mula sa pinakahuli kong naisulat na dula. I'm sure, hindi na naman ito papayagan ng mga prude sa UA&P. Somebody find me a free black box theater, I promise I'll stage it there. Hehe.

Coming this February-March.

IKALAWANG TAGPO: KAPE AT YOSI


Sa kabilang mesa.

STEF
Marlowe, it's not polite to eavesdrop.

MARLOWE
Masi won't mind.

STEF
Kahit na.

Magsisindi ng yosi si Marlowe.

MARLOWE
It's funny.

STEF
What is?

MARLOWE
Tayong lahat. How we are all bound by this place.

STEF
Bakit?

MARLOWE
The irony is almost cliche.

STEF
What do you mean?

MARLOWE
Wait for it. It's my next play.

STEF
Ayan ka na naman. Alam mo, delikado kang maging
kaibigan.

MARLOWE
Most people find it liberating.

STEF
Ang mapanood mo ang sarili mong buhay sa stage? Normal
people find it humiliating.

MARLOWE
And liberating. Deep inside, yun naman ang gusto ng mga
tao: mahanap ang sarili sa pinapanood nila. Kahit gusto
nilang tumakas sa totoong buhay.

STEF
How come you never write about yourself in your plays?

MARLOWE
I don't find myself interesting. I enjoy watching

STEF
Voyeur!

MARLOWE
Humanist.

STEF
Bosero!

MARLOWE
Perceptive.

Papasok si Shine. May dalang dalawang tasang
kapeng barako.

SHINE
Barako, black for Marlowe. Vodka Barako for Stef.

MARLOWE
Salamat.

SHINE
At bawal magyosi dito.

Maglalapag ng ashtray si Sunshine sa mesa.

MARLOWE
Sorry.

STEF
Saka water.

SHINE
Alright.

Lalabas si Shine.

STEF
I don't see it.

MARLOWE
What?

STEF
Imposibleng boring ang buhay mo.

MARLOWE
I never said it was boring. I said it wasn't
interesting.

STEF
Malay mo. Try me.

MARLOWE
Kung napanood mo lahat ng play ko, yun na yon.

STEF
Akala ko ba you dislike writing about yourself?

MARLOWE
Oo. Pero yun na ang kaluluwa ko.

STEF
E di interesting nga.

MARLOWE
If you find my plays interesting, salamat.

STEF
Minsan lang masyadong clinical ang dating.

MARLOWE
Clinical?

STEF
You spend too much time trying to disect a simple
emotion.

MARLOWE
There's no emotion that's simple.

STEF
You know what i mean.

MARLOWE
I'm curious so i explore.

STEF
Delikado kang maging kaibigan.

Tahimik.

STEF
How come you never wrote about me?

MARLOWE
Akala ko ba you find it humiliating?

STEF
Sabi ko, normal people find it humiliating.

MARLOWE
Hindi ka normal?

STEF
You tell me, Mr. Profiler.

MARLOWE
Do you want me to write about you?

STEF
I don't know.

Tahimik.

STEF
I always wondered lang. I mean, I saw all of your plays
and I recognize all of our friends in them. Kaya
minsan, iniisip ko, ano kaya ang tingin sa akin ni
Marlowe?

MARLOWE
You saw all of my plays? I thought you didn't like
plays.

Tataasan ng kilay ni Stef si Marlowe. Papasok si
Sunshine na may dalang tubig. Kukunin niya ang
ashtray.

MARLOWE
Saka double pepperoni.

SHINE
Pepperoni, double. Anything else?

STEF
Croissant. Painit.

SHINE
Croisant. Coming.

Lalabas si Shine. Magsisindi ng yosi si Marlowe.

MARLOWE
Is it bad?

STEF
What is?

MARLOWE
To be clinical?

STEF
Hindi naman. I just find it...fascinating. Naisip ko
minsan na "ganun pala yon!" Hindi mo kasi narerealize
pag sayo nangyayari. So what's this new play about?

MARLOWE
You.

Manlalaki ang mata ni Stef.

MARLOWE
Me. Us. About our friends.

Marerelax ang mukha ni Stef.

STEF
About the irony and the cliche.

MARLOWE
Yup.

STEF
What is ironic?

MARLOWE
How all of us like coffee.

STEF
Masi doesn't.

MARLOWE
Bitter din ang beer.

STEF
Oo nga naman. What's ironic about it?

MARLOWE
Deep inside, all of us believe in true love.

STEF
I don't.

MARLOWE
(ngingiti)
Dig deeper.

Tahimik.

STEF
So what are you saying?

MARLOWE
Masarap ang kape.

STEF
Mapait ang kape.

MARLOWE
Yes.

Tahimik.

STEF
So I'll finally see myself in this play?

MARLOWE
You're always in my plays.

Sandaling katahimikan.

STEF
Well, yeah. I "see" myself in your plays in general. I
meant, as a character.

MARLOWE
You're in all of my plays.

Tahimik. Manlalaki ang mata ni Stef.

STEF
Of course not. You've been writing plays before we met.

MARLOWE
Before we were introduced.

Tahimik.

STEF
What are you saying?

Papasok si Shine dala ang croisant at pizza.

SHINE
Croissant for Stef. Pizza for Marlowe.

MARLOWE
Salamat.

SHINE
And no smoking please.

Papatayin ni Marlowe ang yosi niya sa ashtray ni
Sunshine.

MARLOWE
Sorry.

Lalabas si Shine. Magsisindi ng yosi si Marlowe.
Magtititigan ang dalawa.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Ang Kagilagilalas na Pakikipagsapalaran ni Juan Ekis sa Naga

Highlights ng Adventure ko sa Naga with Dave and Javi

Opportunity cost, di ko napanood ang first two shows ng play ko. I heard it was great. Got rave reviews from J.K. Rowling, Carlo Caparas, and Steven Spielberg. No, seriously, I hope you guys catch it. It's one hell of a ride.

Anyways, I went to Naga with Dave and Javi to look for direk's angles for her upcoming film. Yes, finally, Marilou Diaz-Abaya is cooking up something for the big screen. Unfortunately, I cannot spill the beans yet. But suffice it to say that my adventure with Dave and Javi is all in preparation for that.

It was the feast of the Penafrancia. We were actually a week late. Good thing there still was the fluvial parade to catch over the weekend. We left thursday night and arrived 2 hours early. Yes. Everyone was asleep. We got to the Basilica Minore where we were supposed to reside. Unfortunately, no one was awake to open the doors for us. We had to wait for the priests and the nuns to wake up. When we got in the room, we immediately dozed off.

We woke up after lunch and started to trace the path of the Virgin from the cathedral to the river then back to the Basilica. We were mostly on foot but we took trikes in between the four bridges that the Lady would pass through.

We caught a glimpse of various interesting characters along the way. If we had more time, we probably would've shot a short film. There was this very interesting group of preachers in the plaza at the Centro saying "Lahat kayowng worshippers ng Penafrancia! Mga criminal kayow!" I applaud their courage to preach against idol worship in the middle of the most attended fiesta nationwide. But then again, I believe there are more effective ways to insist on your beliefs and convert people. The following day, someone stood up to them and debated explaining why we don't worship Mary, we revere her.

It was a huge town and we walked most of the time. When I got to Manila, my whole body was aching and my colds got worse. The streets were filled with people. It was unbelievable. More people than what I saw in EDSA 2. Anyways, we went around the bridges and took some photos of the location where direk could possible plant her camera the next time we go there to shoot. I got a glimpse of several kids jumping off the bridge for a nice bath. We never have these things in Manila. We are also losing this in Laguna where I grew up. Too bad my children might not get a chance to do this, much more, witness other kids jumping off bridges to swim.

The following day, more people came in from all walks of life and from all parts of the country. Artistas and politikos filled the place. Banners of congratulations from congressmen who weren't from there were littering the skyline announcing that they are about to run for the senate. On the TV, most presidentiables had paid advertisements greeting the Bicolanos for their 300th anniversary of the Penafrancia.

On saturday afternoon, the three of us went to the cathedral to witness the embarkasyon, where the virgin is taken from the cathedral and brought to the pagoda in the river. It was an ecstatic experience. I always doubted the faith of the people celebrating fiestas and always felt that there were still remnants of our pagan past haunting our celebrations. But when the virgin was about to be put on her Andas, I saw people kneeling, crying, waving, and shouting "Viva La Virgen!" Never in my life have I seen such overflowing faith. It definitely is not idol workship. It is the love and reverence we give to the mother of God. No politician has commanded this kind of following. No celebrity had this kind of charisma oozing out of a representation, an ideal of the perfect example on how to be like her son.

Going home was a pain. Mas okay pa sa EDSA 2, you had room to move and walk around. Since we lived at the convent behind the Basilica, to get home means to swim through the sea of people. Dito, hindi ka makakasingit. Makakagalaw ka lang if the sea decides to move you. Thank God, I think it took us around an hour or two to get home from outside the Basilica. When I got home, I immediately crashed and fell asleep. Di na ako nakasama kina Javi at Dave mag-inuman.

Final destination on sunday was the hotsprings. Commute lang kami nila Javi and Dave. We had a hard time getting there and a harder time getting home we almost did not make it to the bus station on time. Sa bubong ng jeep kami sumakay papunta dun. And then we had to rid a motorcycle. Long hike, mga 20 minute hike siguro from the entrance to the hotsprings. Worse pauwi kasi paakyat. Shet ang sakit ng buong katawan ko. Sa sobrang sakit hanggang pag-uwi ko masakit katawan ko at napatagalog ako sa blog ko ngayon. Shet.

We almost didn't make it to the bus station, like I said. We had to wait for a jeep from the hotsprings for an hour. After an hour of waiting, walang dumadaan. Apparently, rare ang jeep doon. Good thing there was this kind-hearted family who let us hitch in their jeep.

We got to the basilica 30minutes before our bus left. Quick shower. Quick pack-up. Then ran out to get a pedicab. After the pedicab, no trike would take us to the station. Finally found one but traffic was not on our side. 5 minutes to 7pm (our bus leaves at seven) I told Javi "paano kung di tayo umabot?" The driver asked me, "Ano'ng oras biyahe ninyo?" "In 5 minutes" sabi ko. He immediately left the long queue of jeeps and trikes and moved around the bituka-eskinitas of Naga City and brought us at exactly 7pm at the bus station. The bus hadn't left so I bought the first bunch of pili nuts I saw for pasalubong without even thinking to whom they were for. It was one hell of an adventure. Sulit ang 8 hour bus trip. Shit, can't feel my ass.

Friday, September 11, 2009

Hindi ako sinungaling. Mahal Kita.

Sa mga sumusubaybay sa mga play namin, lalo na ang huli--twenty questions--eto na ang follow-up!

Sorry, hindi pa sequel. Next year pa yon.

Pero mas malupit ito.

Mula sa henyong utak ni Tony Perez.

at sa malupit na direksiyon ni Juan Ekis.

Inihahandog ng ACASIA at A.S.T.I.G. ang


"SA NORTH DIVERSION ROAD"

kasama sina Frankie Pascua at Martin dela Paz

Sa 6 Underground, Pearl Drive, Ortigas.

OPENING THIS SEPTEMBER 18, FRIDAY

For more information visit northdiversionroad.blogspot.com

para sa ticket, hanapin nyo si
paris

sa mga gustong magdonate sa ACASIA para makapagsulat at makapagstage pa kami ng mga bagong plays, hanapin ninyo si JUAN EKIS

Monday, August 31, 2009

Malayo pa ba ang expressway?

“Eto ang best part ng trip, sa expressway. So smooth, so wide, ang liwa-liwanag.”

Malayo sa NLEX ang biyahe ng play na ito. Mula nang naisipan naming ito ang isadula, hanggang sa mga problemang naengkwentro namin sa biyahe, siguro, sa baku-bakong service road kami napadaan. Hanggang sa pagsusulat ko nitong ilang mga tala tungkol sa produksiyon, hindi pa kami nakakapasok sa expressway. Hindi pa naming nararating ang smooth, wide, at maliwanag na bahagi ng biyahe.

Maraming lubak, humps, kupal na driver, at mga pedestrian na hindi gumagamit ng overpass ang nasalubong namin sa aming paglalakbay. Noong una, napili namin ang dulang ito dahil akala nami’y madali lang ang “Sa North Diversion Road.” Tutal, dalawang artista lang ang kailangan. At lagi lang silang nakaupo sa kotse. Ngunit tulad ng kahit anong biyahe, marami kaming harang na nasalubong sa daan.

Anuman ang mga lubak na iyon, pilit naming nilalampasan at tinatandaan upang maging bahagi ng aming edukasyon sa teatro. At bawat araw ng aming ensayo, lalong humihirap ang biyahe. Hindi pala madali ang dulang ito. Kailan ba naging madali si Tony Perez? Napasubo ata kami. Pero tinanggap namin ang hamon ng dula ni Tony Perez. Hindi kami titigil hanggat hindi naming nabibigyang buhay ang drama sa diyalogo ng batikang mandudula.

“Sa lawak ng pag-ibig ko, baka maligaw ka lang…”

Una akong na-inlove sa mga gawa ni Tony Perez nang mabasa ko ang “Sierra Lakes.” Naging matagumpay ang aking unang pagtatangkang idirehe ito sa tulong ng dulaang ROC. Mula noon, kinulekta ko na ang mga gawa ni Tony Perez at sinubukan ko siyang gayahin sa aking mga sinusulat. Inspirasyon si Tony sa dalawang paborito kong isinulat—ang “Twenty Questions” at ang pinakabago kong dula, “Kapeng Barako Club: Samahan ng mga Bitter,” na kapwa ipalalabas sa darating na bagong taon. Iba ang karisma ng mga karakter at ang talim ng sagutan sa mga dula ni Tony Perez. At lalo kaming nagulantang sa bigat ng “Sa North Diversion Road.” Hindi siya pambata. Hindi siya pang-amateur. Hindi siya pang-bagito.

Bagaman ang temang tinatalakay ng dula ay tungkol sa pangangaliwa ng may-asawa, na malayo sa saklaw ng karanasan ko at ng aking mga artista, ang higit na tumawag sa aking atensiyon ay ang tema ng pag-ibig at pagpapatawad. Higit sa tema ng pangangaliwa, mas tumimo sa aking kamalayan ang diskusyon ni Tony Perez sa iba’t ibang mukha ng pag-ibig at pagpapatawad. Hindi ko tiyak kung ito ang tesis ni Perez. Ngunit ito ang direksiyon ng biyaheng aming sinimulan. Ito ang basa namin sa mapa ng script. Walang kapatawaran, kung walang pag-ibig. Walang pag-ibig kung walang kapatawaran. Sa lahat ng uri ng relasyon, madaling itinatapon n gating mga bibig ang salitang pag-ibig ngunit bihira natin itong naiintindihan. Sa pagkakataon lamang na sinusubok ito ng mas malaking pag-ibig, ng pagtataksil, o ng kamatayan laman natin ganap na mabibigyang linaw ang konseptong ito. Dito lamang siya tunay na maiintindihan. At hanggat hindi natin nararanasan ang magpatawad sa kasalanan sa pag-ibig, hindi natin ito lubos na mauunawaan. Sa bahaging ito, nang malinaw namin ito sa aming pag-intindi ng malawak na haraya ni Tony, doon lamang kami nakalabas sa expressway. Sana nga’y tuluy-tuloy na ang biyahe. Sana’y makarating sa huling exit.

“Magkwento ka naman, Tony. Ano’ng iniisip mo?”

Ang dulang ito ay koleksiyon ng sampung diyalogo tungkol sa pag-ibig, pagtataksil, at kapatawaran. Higit sa lahat, ito ay pag-uusap ng dalawampung kaluluwa, pag-intindi sa dalawampung puso at isip. Higit sa lahat, ito ay pagtatalik ng dalawang kamalayan patungo sa dulo ng malawak na daan ng pag-ibig. Inaanyayahan tayo ng dulang itong makisama sa biyahe patungong hilaga, kung saan nakaturo ang lahat ng bagay—sa hilaga, sa true north, na destinasyon ng lahat…sa pag-ibig. Mararanasan lamang natin ang salimuot at luwalhati ng paglalakbay na ito sa pamamagitan ng pag-urirat sa isipan ng mga karakter, sa pamamagitan ng pakikipagkwentuhan sa kanila.

Kung gayon, maupo kayo’t magrelax. Mauupo rin sa harap ninyo ang mga tauhang likha ni Tony Perez. Kasama ng mga bumubuo ng ACASIA at ASTIG, uupo rin kami, tayo’y magkwentuhan habang bumibiyahe patungong hilaga…patungo sa pag-ibig.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Eto na, this September!


"Sa Lawak ng Pag-ibig ko, baka maligaw ka lang..."

sa direksiyon ni Juan Ekis

COMING THIS SEPTEMBER

Monday, August 03, 2009

Sa North Diversion Road

video

Rehearsing Tony Perez's "Sa North Diversion Road"

Starring

Frankie Pascua
Martin dela Paz

Directed by X Vallez

Sunday, July 05, 2009

Good Morning Poems

A long long time ago, in a galaxy far far away, noong gumigising ako kapag hatinggabi, pumupunta sa tuktok ng bundok at nag-aabang ng mga bituwin, manghuhuli ako ng isa gamit ang aking mga kamay. Kahit sunog ang aking mga palad sa paghuli, papandayin ko ang bawat isang bituwin at gagawin tula.

Ito ang mga tulang nahukay ko sa baul ko. Buti na lang, tinubuan na ulit ako ng kamay at kaluluwa.

Paggising ko sa umaga, sumusulat ako ng isa. Heto sila. Buti na lang ginawa ko ito, naging training ko ito sa pagsulat ko ng libretto ng "Lorenzo."

Pagtiyagaan n'yo na at matagal na akong hindi tumutula...


Good morning Poems


Tanaga #1

Maganda ang umaga
Sa binatang makata
Na laging tinutula
Ngiti mong mahiwaga


Haiku #1

Nililigawan
Ng makulit na hamog
Ang dahong tuyo


Dalit #1

Hinarana ng makata
Ang silahis ng umaga
Para lamang masinagan
Ang ngiti ng paraluman


Tangka #1

Inaawitan
ng maya ang umaga
ng talinghaga:
napangiti ang araw,
humiwaga ang tula


Diyona #1

Gising na aking mahal
Mundo ay nakaabang
Sa ngiti mong dalisay


Awit #1

Ngumiti ka sinta
Ayan na’ng umaga
Tuyuin ang luha
Sa pisngi mong sutla

Pagkat ika’y musa
Ng pobreng makata
Na salat sa tula
Pag ngiti mo’y wala


Freeverse #1

Pinaalpas
Ng ngiti mo
Ang tugma’t sukat
Na ginapos
Ng tayutay
Ng halik kong
Nakasulat
Sa hangin.


Senryu #1

Inaapuhap
Ng aking haikung hubad
Ang iyong ngiti


Bugtong #1

Tula kung umaga
Sa gabi’y tulala


Limerick #1

Ako’y humubog
Tulang pansahog.
Pag-ibig ay hinamak
Ng dalagang nasindak--
Puso’y nagdabog.


Quintella #1

Mauubos din, mahal ko
Ang mga alay kong tula.
Ngunit dahil sa ngiti mo
Walang hanggang talinghaga
Ang aking kayang iluha


Haiku #2

Humikab
Ang bukang-liwayway:
Tula.


Awit #2

Gising na, mahal ko
Almusal ay tula
Talinghagang luto
Ginisa sa tugma

Gising na, mahal ko
Pagdamutan mo na,
Ang ‘yong kusinero’y
Hamak na makata


Dalit #2

Kung saan-saang lupalop
Naghahagilap ng tugma
Ang buhok mo pala’y ilog,
Nilalanguyan ng tula.


Tanaga #2

Tahimik na nagmasid
Umiibig na buwan
Nagnakaw ng silahis
sa dilag niyang araw


Diyona #2

Nagpaalam ang luha
Sa sinisintang mata
Tinanan ng makata.


Freeverse #2

Sa wakas
Ngumiti ka
Ngunit ako’y
Dati pang nakatihaya:
Dahil baligtad
Ang nakita,
Ang simangot mo’y
Ngiti pala.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Kapeng Barako Chronicles: Paano kung mahal na kita?

Kapeng Barako Chronicles are sketches, monologues, "doodles", drafts, thoughts, etc. that I crafted in helping flesh out the characters. I'll be posting them once in a while in my attempt to clarify the play to myself and expand the universe (for possible prequels and sequels).

Anyways, for those who have read my first draft of the finished version, this is Joel's internal monologue before he collapsed in front of Anna, right before he dropped the bomb. This monologue was never part of the play and will never be uttered. But this might help the actor understand what is going on inside Joel's head when he was about to confess his feelings to Anna.

More to come. Enjoy!

---

JOEL:

Araaaaaay! Putangina nakikipagsabayan pa ang sikmura ko sa sakit ng puso. Sinabi na nga bang nasobrahan na ako ng kolesterol sa katawan. Sa dinami-dami ng mga araw na tatamaan ako ng acid reflux, ngayon pa, sa harap mo. Putangina lang talaga.


Matinding apoy, kumukulong asupre na lasang bile. Sikmura ko ba talaga ang sumasakit o puso ko ang nagrereklamo sa sakit ng rejection na isasampal sa akin. Alam ko na naman ang ending ng kwentong ito. Alam ko na namang basted ako. Alam ko na namang walang patutunguhan ito. Kaya siguro winawarningan ng sikmura ko...humilab ka lang nang humilab: sige! Mabuti nang pisikal na masaktan para hindi mo mapansin ang sakit ng damdamin na aabutin mo mamaya pagkatapos mong sabihin sa kanya ang lahat.

Oo. Lahat.

Siyempre sasabihin ko sa'yong ngayon ko lang ito naramdaman. Pero ang totoo, matagal na. Sintagal ng paghilab ng sikmura kong hinayupak. Bakit kasi kailangan ko pang magkaroon ng sikmura? Bakit hindi na lang osmosis? Tangina! Ang hilig ko kasi sa maalat at mataba! Man cannot live by bread alone! But with Chiggy's jumbo liempo!

Pero kelangangan kong magkasikmura. Para masikmura ko ang mga sasabihin ko sayo kahit hindi masikmura ng kaluluwa kong aminin ang mga bagay na dapat nilulunok na lang...para iutot.

Mahal kita.

Siyempre sasabihin ko sa'yong ngayon ko lang narealize.

Hindi ako si Pinocchio na hahaba ang ilong pag nagsisinungaling. Sumasakit ang sikmura ko pag nagsisinungaling. Nagsisinungaling ako sa'yo ngayon.

Noong nagkwentuhan tayo tungkol sa kung ano ba ang art at ang artist. Noong tinanong mo sa akin: paano kung mainlove ka sa isang hardcore artist? Noong aminin mo sa akin na gusto mong mainlove sa isang artist. At naisip ko: teka, artist ako ah?

Noong magkaklase pa tayo sa copywriting and creative direction. Noong ako ang artist mo at ikaw ang copywriter ko. Noong parati tayong nananalo sa weekly plates ng prof natin. Noong maghiwalay tayo ng landas at magsell-out ka at naiwan ako para maging starving painter.

Noong tinext moko ng "Pst. Ui, kinilig nakita pix ko!" dahil alam mong lumalabas ang picture mo pag nagtetext ka sa phone ko. Noong mag-usap tayo tungkol sa buhay habang naglalakad lang sa Shaw Boulevard. Noong nagtitigan lang tayo at tumunganga sa open air ng Shangri-La habang umiinom ng Gilbey's premium. Noong gabing sinabi ko sa'yo na wag nating dalasan kasi baka may mabuo at tinawanan mo lang ako. Noong nireto kita kay Roger kasi type na type ka niya kahit di mo siya trip at nabadtrip ka sakin kasi iniwan kitang kasama siya...

Noong masyado ko nang niloloko ang sarili ko.

Dahil hindi ka pa tapos kay Ed.

Tangina. Masakit.

Hindi sa puso. Kundi sa sikmura.

Ipapatanggal ko na ang sikmura ko. Dahil mas gusto kong puso ko na lang ang sumakit.

Parang dighay na ayaw ilabas. Kelangan ng kremil-s o mas matinding droga para makawala. Siguro, pag nasabi ko na nga, kasabay na ring mawawala ang sakit ng aking sikmura.

Paano nga?

Paano nga kung mahal na kita?

Tuesday, May 05, 2009

Justice League Filipinas!

Pagkatapos kaming ipagparty ni Tita Malu sa dorm (birthday namin nina rhenz, at despedida ni marlowe), biglang napunta ang usapan namin sa mga useless super powers. Sumakit ang tiyan namin sa kakatawa at halos maiyak ako sa sakit ng bagang at tiyan. Siguradong hahaba ang buhay namin sa haba rin ng halakhakan.

Paano nga kaya, kung mayroong mga ganitong superheroes?
(contributions by ron, rhenz, joe, alex)

SIGH-CLOPS. Katulad ni Cyclops, meron siyang heat vision. Pero di tulad ni cyclops, hindi niya kailangan ng shades. He can completely control his powers. Problema lang, one-inch lang ang distance na kayang abutin ng kanyang heat vision. Kailangan niyang dumikit, up-close, face to face sa kalaban para tamaan ito.

VERTICAL MAN. Kaya niyang lumipad. Pero vertical lang.

THE TELEPORTER. Kaya niyang mag-teleport. Pero isang dangkal lang.

IMBISIBOL BOY. Invisible siya, pero sa sarili lang niya.

IMBISIBOL BOY Jr. Nagiging Invisible siya pero parating may loud music siyang kasunod.

IMBISIBOL BOY III. Nagiging Invisible siya pero kailangan niyang kumanta para maging invisible.

SLOW-MO MAN. Lahat ng bagay sa kanya, slow-mo. Forever.

THE FLUSH. Kaya niyang lampasan ang speed of sound, pero one meter lang. Tapos, hihingalin na siya.

LOGAN Jr. Parang Wolverine, may self-healing powers. Pero mga sugat lang na nagawa niya sa sarili ang kaya niyang gamutin.

THE BULK. Parang si Hulk. Pag nagagalit, lumalaki ng sobra ang dalawang braso niya. Sobrang laki. Kaso, yun lang ang lumalaki, wala nang ibang parts.

TON-TON. Kaya niyang magbuhat ng mabibigat na bagay that weighs more than one ton. Pero di niya kayang magbuhat ng magagaan.

ANALEPSIS. The man who can see 10 seconds into the past.

AMNESIA. He can see 10 minutes into the future. Pero 5 seconds lang ang memory niya.

ARK ANGEL. Parang si Angel ng X-men. Pero nasa dibdib ang pakpak niya.

THE COMEDIAN. Better than the comedian ni Allan Moore. Eto, talagang magaling siyang magpatawa. Sobrang witty. Pero nagagawa lang niya ito...sa funeral.

UGLY MAN. Pag nagagalit siya, pumapangit siya. Yun lang. Pero mabait pa rin siya. Pangit lang.

THE FIRE FLY. Kaya niyang magpalabas ng apoy sa kamay niya. Pero nasusunog ang kamay niya pag ginagawa niya ito.

THE REPAIR MAN. Kaya niyang ayusin ang lahat ng sirang bagay. Pero kailangan, sirain muna niya.

Pag may naisip pa kami, idadagdag ko sa listahan. Tapos, gagawin naming graphic novel. Hehe.




Friday, May 01, 2009

Di na natuto

Palanca season na naman. April 30 deadline.

Noong college ako, tradition na namin nila Mr. Coroza na sabay-sabay na magpunta sa Palanca office at magsubmit ng aming entries bandang alas onse medya ng gabi pag April 30. Minsan magkikita muna kami sa bahay niya at magkakatayan bago kami tumuloy. Eventually, naging busy na lahat, kanya-kanyang submit na lang. Minsan nagkikita-kita kami doon.

Ako na lang yata sa amin ang nagsusubmit. Si Terdo, Araw awards na ang kinakana. Si Robster, abala sa paggawa ng jinggle at kanta. Si Roni, ekonomista na. Si Mr. Coroza, nagjujudge na ng Palanca.

6 years ago, nanalo ako, sa wakas.

Panahon na para magtake-two.

Noong mga sumunod na taon, hindi ko masyadong naseryoso ang pagpapasa. Lagi akong inaabutan ng deadline kaya parating mga lumang gawa ang nasasubmit ko. At parati, pag April 30, alas dose ng hatinggabi ako dumarating sa palanca office para magsubmit. Buzzer beater na naman.

So last year, sabi ko sa sarili ko, magpapasa ako ng bagong play. Matagal nang idea yung Kapeng Barako Club. May tatlong taon na siguro. Sinimulan kong isulat. April 30 ng umaga, wala pa rin akong nasusulat. Naghanap na lang ako ng lumang play, nirevise ko ng konti. Print. Submit. Dumating ako, 12:30am na. 30 minutes late ako. Nakiusap ako. Sa awa ng Diyos, dahil bagong lipat ang office nila at maraming naligaw, inextend nila ang deadline for a week.

Pagkapasa ko, sabi ko sa sarili ko, okay lang na di ko natapos yung Kapeng Barako Club. Meron akong isang taon para sulatin yon.

Isang taon ang nakalipas.

Di ko pa rin tapos ang hinayupak na play. Sinimulan ko noong isang araw. Kinopya ko yung mga snippets sa blog ko at sinubukan kong lagyan ng sense. Sakit sa ulo. After writing 3 scenes, may ibang play na pumasok sa utak ko. Di ko napigilan ang sarili ko, kaya sinulat ko na rin. Nakatapos ako ng isang one-act play. "Riles" ang title (pero di ako masaya sa title, papalitan ko na lang pag nanalo na). Noon matapos ko yung one-act play, binalikan ko yung kapeng barako club. Shet. April 30 na.

Habang nagco-countdown ako bago mag-alas dose, piniga ko ang utak ko sa pagsusulat.

Alas dos ng hapon, nakatulog ako.

Alas singko na ako nagising.

Shet. Isang act pa lang nasusulat ko. Ligo muna para magising ang utak.

Alas diyes ng gabi. Natapos ko ang play ko na isang taon ko dapat susulatin. Tinawagan ako ng gf ko. Walang tinta ang printer niya. Walang tinta ang printer ko. Walang tinta ang printer ni Marlowe. Pakshet. Takbo kami sa tapat ng JRU. Buti may bukas na computer shop.

Ang haba pala ng play ko. Halos 60 pages. Times 3 copies. Wala pa silang photocopy machine. Tawag ako kay Czyka na kakasubmit lang. May xerox sa palanca. Bahala na. Doon na ako magpapaphotocopy.

Dumating kami sa Palanca 11:55 at wala pa akong makuhang parking. Nakipagdiskusyon pa ako sa guwardiya na 5 minutes lang ser! Malelate ako sa Palanca!

Naawa ang Diyos, may bakanteng parking bigla. Takbo kami pataas. Sakto alas dose. Submit.

Doon na ako nagpaphotocopy. Shet anlaki ng ginastos ko.

Pakshet kang palanca ka pag di kita makuha this year ewan ko na lang.

At least, nakatapos ako ng play. At buti na lang, masarap ang kinain namin ni alex sa whistlestop.

Di na ako natuto. I had one year to write. Bakit kelangang last minute ako lagi magpasa?!

Ang sakit na ng utak ko. Wala akong ginawa maghapon kundi makipag-usap sa mga karakter ko.

Matutulog na ako. Bukas, sana paggising ko, maganda pa rin yung play.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Top X Reasons bakit kelangan magfilm school

May camera naman ako. Point and shoot na lang di ba? Gagastos pa ako ng pag-aaral e pwede ko namang kapain. Bakit pa ako mag-aaral sa film school?

Iho, lagi ka na lang nagrereklamo kung gaano kapangit ang mga palabas sa TV ngayon. Feeling mo ikaw ang messiah ng Philippine TV and Film Industry. Pero ayaw mo mag-aral? Eto ang sampung dahilan kung bakit kelangan mong mag-aral:

1. Ang pelikula ay art na may grammar. Kung di ka nag-aral ng grammar, para kang barok magkwento sa pelikula. Gamit ka nang gamit ng fade to black hindi mo naman alam ang ibig sabihin.

2. Hindi naman nag-aral ng Film si Orson Welles ah?! Bakit si Lino Brocka at Ishmael Bernal? Si Lino, nag-apprentice ng ilang taon. Si Ishma, nag-aral sa India. Kung ayaw mo talagang mag-film school, mag-apprentice ka sa isang Master for 10 years. yun, pwedeng substitute. Sa panahon ngayon, kaninong master ka mag-aapprentice?

3. Kailangan mo ng mga kaklaseng tutulong sayo pag gumagawa ka na ng pelikula. Yung nagkakaintindihan kayo. Hindi mo kayang gumawa ng pelikula mag-isa.

4. Nagbabago ang technology. Magpapalit ang mga kamera, hardware at software. Ang technique permanente. Hindi maibibigay sa iyo ng technology ang technique.

5. Kelangan mo ng teacher na magsasabi sayong pangit ang gawa mo. (At di ba, mas fulfulling kung may karapatan ang teacher na nagsabi sayong maganda ang gawa mo?)

6. Lahat ng art, kelangan ng disiplina. Di mo makukuha ang disiplina sa internet.

7. Lahat ng art, kelangan ng praktis. Magpapraktis ka sa bahay ng shooting protocols kasama ang mga stuffed toy mo? (o kaya ang katulong ninyo?)

8. Mas magastos ang trial and error kaysa sa mag-enrol at matutunan ang tama.

9. Masyadong mahal gawin ang pelikula para lang panoorin mong mag-isa. Kelangan mong malaman kung paano ito ibebenta, ididistribute, ipapackage, imamarket...kelangan mo ng know-how at network.

10. Pag sa film school ka magkamali, may magtatama sa iyo. Pag sa labas ka nagkamali agad, hindi ka patatawarin ng audience mo.

Ang tanong ngayon, saan ako mag-aaral ng film?

DITO:



Bago maubusan ng slot! Enroll na!

In Lab Ka Na Ba Exam

Di makatulog sa kakaisip sa kanya? Puro poster ng mukha niya ang kwarto mo? Pangalan niya ang bukambibig mo? Siya parati ang naiisip mo?

In love ka na ba? Akala mo lang yon. One way to find out. Sagutan ang Exam na ito para malaman kung certified in-love ka na nga.

Part 1. TRUE or FALSE

1. Paggising ko sa umaga, lagi ko siyang tinitext ng "good morning. :-*"

2. At any random time of the day, tinitext ko siya ng "miss na kita."

3. Kahit hindi sa "A" nagsisimula ang pangalan niya, siya pa rin ang unang pangalan sa address book ko.

4. Kung may 2 ticket ako sa concert ng Eraserheads, siya ang isasama ko.

5. Naimagine ko na ang wedding day namin.

6. May pangalan na ang una naming anak.

7. Lahat ng kantang naririnig ko sa radyo, tungkol sa kanya. (ultimo kanta ni Lito Camo)

8. Nakangiti ako pag natutulog.

9. Dati ayaw ko sa Air Supply, ngayon, fan na ako.

10. Picture niya ang wall paper ko.

11. Lagi akong may cheesy status sa YM.

12. Nagbabasa na ako ng Norah Roberts at Sidney Sheldon.

13. Lagi kong chinicheck ang horoscope naming dalawa.

14. Bumili na ako ng sun cellular dahil may sun din siya.

15. Alam ko ang class schedule niya.

16. Bumili ako ng SLR at nagpapanggap akong photo hobbyist para lang may excuse ako na picturan siya.

17. Hindi ko siya matitigan sa mata for more than 3 seconds.

19. Napatawag na ako ng Dean dahil pangalan niya ang naisulat ko sa test paper ko.

20. Pag nagtext siya ng "K :)" masisiraan ako ng bait at guguluhin ko ang bestfriend ko para tanungin kung ano ang ibig sabihin ng text niya.

21. Puno ang inbox ko ng puro "k" na text niya sa akin.

22. Ang status ko sa friendster at facebook ay "It's complicated"

23. Natatae ako pag nakikita ko siyang may kasamang iba.

24. Natuto akong gumawa ng epic poetry dahil gusto ko siyang bigyan ng tula araw-araw.

25. Nakatulala ako for at least 3 hours (commulative) sa isang araw


Part 2. ENUMERATION

1. Cellphone number, facebook, ym, multiply, landline, at email address niya (without looking at the address book)

2. Pangalan ng lahat ng kapatid, magulang, lolo't lola, pinsan, barkada pati pets

3. Limang walang kwentang bagay sa mundo na biglang nagkaroon ng meaning dahil naaalala ko siya pag nakikita ko.

4. Pangalan ng mga naging ex boyfriend at crushes niya (pati celebrity crushes)

5. Lahat ng favorite songs niya


Part 3. MULTIPLE CHOICE

1. Pag papalapit siya sa akin, ang una kong ginagawa ay...
a. Kunwari may ka-text o kausap ako sa celphone para hindi kami magkatinginan agad
b. Aalis bigla, kunwari nagmamadali papunta sa kung saan
c. Tutulala
d. all of the above

2. Pag nagtext siya ng tanong, nagrereply ako ng...
a. :-)
b. "ano sa tingin mu?"
c. kahit ano basta tanong din para hindi matapos ang pagtitext namin sa isa't isa
d. magtetext ako ng kaibigan para tanungin kung ano ang irereply ko

3. Pag tumawag ako sa bahay nila at tinanong ng maid kung sino nasa linya, ang sagot ko ay...
a. yung coolest nick name ko kahit hindi iyon ang tawag niya sa akin
b. "si pogi"
c. "pakisabi, yung crush niya"
d. Denny Crane

4. Pag tinanong niya: "sino ba 'yang crush mo?" Ang sagot ko ay...
a. sikret
b. kilalang-kilala mo siya
c. wala akong crush noh!
d. ikaw na lang, kawawa ka naman, walang may crush sayo e

5. Pag niyaya ka niyang magsine, ang pipiliin mong panoorin ay...
a. Romantic Comedy
b. Horror
c. Art film
d. dvd na lang sa bahay, gusto mo?

6. Nagseselos ako sa...
a. bestfriend niya of the opposite sex
b. ex niya
c. yung stuffed toy niya
d. lahat ng taong dumikit sa kanya kahit ung guard na laging bumabati sa kanya ng good morning.

7. Lagi kong nakikita ang mukha niya sa...
a. TV
b. sa kisame ko pag nakahiga ako sa kama
c. sa kawalan
d. sa panaginip

8. Nabigyan ko na siya ng...
a. blue rose
b. red rose
c. stuffed toys
d. century tuna

9. Nacheck ko na ang compatibility charts namin sa...
a. horoscope
b. chinese zodiac
c. numerology, palmistry, at baraha
d. FLAMES

10. Nasisiraan na ako ng bait sabi ng
a. best friend ko
b. barkada, kaklase, officemate, roommate ko
c. nanay ko
d. lahat sila


Part 4. ESSAY

Ano'ng meron sa kanya na wala sa iba kaya siya na nga ang "the one."





Creative Commons License
This work by Juan Ekis is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 Philippines License.
Based on a work at juanekis.blogspot.com.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Kapeng Barako Club: Samahan ng mga Bitter (excerpt)

I've been working on this play for a couple of years now. Kapeng Barako Club is about a barkada who does not believe in love, or so they say. Ridiculous, really. It's a comedy about how people are in denial about love, how they fear rejection when love is already staring them at the face. I really hope to finish it by the end of this month.

This excerpt from the first scene, is between Eric and Masi who are best friends who made a pact that they will get married when they turn 30. Eric turns 30, Masi is in a relationship, and instead of getting married, Eric and Masi do something else under the influence of alcohol. You figure out the rest. I decided to publish only the middle of the dialogue so you'll have something to look forward to when I stage this.

I would appreciate greatly your comments and initial reactions so I know where to bring this play. Let's eavesdrop in the conversation of Eric and Masi:

ERIC


Sinabi mo ba sa kanya ang nangyari?

MASI

Sira-ulo ka ba?

ERIC

Tinatanong ko lang.

MASI

Gusto mo bang sabihin ko?

ERIC

Gusto mo bang malaman niya?

MASI

Wala ka bang sagot na hindi depende sa sagot ko?

ERIC

Meron ka bang tanong na hindi depende sa tanong ko?

MASI

(Matatawa)
Nang-aasar ka?

ERIC

Naaasar ka ba?

Matatawa sila pareho. Iinom ng beer si Masi.

MASI

Birthday mo lang no'n. Regalo 'yon, gago. To commemorate our stupid pact.

ERIC

Ulul. Aminin mo na, ginusto mo rin.

MASI

Sinabi ko bang ayaw ko?

ERIC

But you're still going through this bullshit?

MASI

Why not?

ERIC

Ah, the ultimate answer to all philosophical questions that pertain to the point of one's existence. Alam mo Masi, hindi na uso ang hippie ngayon. 21st century na.

MASI

Pakialam mo ba?

ERIC

At least give me a sensible answer.

MASI

Bakit kailangan mo ng sensible answer? For your peace of mind? Para sa'n pa?

ERIC

Pag sinabi ko ba sa'yong isang malaking pagkakamali ang gagawin mo, bibigyan mo ako ng sensible na sagot?

MASI

Siguro.

ERIC

You're making a big mistake. Don't do it.

Titignan ni Masi si Eric nang masama. Sandaling katahimikan. Iinom ng beer si Masi.

ERIC

Pikon.

Mapapangiti si Masi. Iinom ulit ng beer.

MASI

Akalain ba nating aabot ka ng 30 na single pa rin.

ERIC

Ouch.

MASI

Kung makapagsalita ka 6 years ago, pakakasalan mo na si Meggy eh.

ERIC

Hindi pa ako marunong uminom ng kape nun.

MASI

Ano'ng kinalaman ng kape dun?

ERIC

Uminom ka kasi ng kape nang malaman mo. Puro ka beer.

MASI

Did you make that deal with me because you thought na hindi ka aabot ng trenta na single ka?

ERIC

Ikaw, yun ba iniisip mo?

MASI

Pwede for once, sagutin mo tanong ko?

Tahimik.

ERIC

Oo.

MASI

So hindi ka nga seryoso noon?

ERIC

Kaninong idea ba'ng magkaroon tayo ng kasunduan?

MASI

Hindi ba sa'yo?

ERIC

Bakit ko naman maiisip 'yon?

MASI

Dahil ikaw ang mas malapit sa trenta?

ERIC

Hindi ba idea mo 'yon? Yun yung sinabi mo sa'kin nung binasted moko.

MASI

Binasted kita?

ERIC

Ampota. How can you forget something like that?

MASI

I don't remember rejecting you.

ERIC

Naging tayo ba?

MASI

Hindi.

ERIC

See?

MASI

Pero di ko maalalang binasted kita.

ERIC

Alam mo pumapatay ng brain cells ang alak e. Sabi mo sa'kin no'n, ayaw mo pa. Pag thirty na lang ako, dun na lang, kasal agad. Para diretso na. Wala nang boypren-gelpren relationship.

Look of disbelief sa mukha ni Masi.

MASI

Sinabi ko 'yon?

Tahimik.

MASI

Shet.

Friday, March 20, 2009

On Theater and Virtue

“Art does not stand wholly on the side of the mind...but making, which is the very essence of art, is brought to bear in the body and through it.”

-Etienne Gilson, Forms and Substances in the Arts


Of the arts of the beautiful, Theater, particularly acting, is the most accessible to self-mastery. By self-mastery, we mean a sense of full possession or command, a sense of full knowledge of the capacities and proper utilization of the self—in both mind and body. This mastery should already imply the proper use of the possessed faculties, meaning, in the context of art as virtue, these mastered strengths of both body and mind should not be used other than its purpose—to create something beautiful. Therefore a mastery of the art of acting is distorted and abused when used to con or deceive people in real life.

By accessible, we mean that in the very nature of the art itself, it is required of the artist to have a certain grasp of these faculties. In order for the artist to be successful in producing this particular form, he will have to surrender to the prerequisites. Although both the mind and the body are required in producing art as Gilson concludes, there are varying levels of involvement of either aspect: “the role played by the mind depends more or less upon the art involved, playing a greater role in architecture and poetry, and a lesser one in sculpture and in the execution of musical compositions.” (12) In acting, the role of the mind and the body plays an equal role, and the mastery of both is crucial in the success of the art production.

The craft of the actor entails rigorous training of both aspects to succeed in the mounting of a stage play. First, a training of the body to make it malleable to assume gestures, postures, and manners that do not naturally belong to the actor but belongs to a fictitious character created by the dramatist. Several books have been written that prescribe a series of exercises to condition the body for this task. During rehearsals and even before shows actors perform physical warm-up exercises, breathing exercises, and vocal exercises to achieve a certain level of malleability and agility. After all, this is the first contact of theater with the audience. The body of the actor is what they first perceive amongst the myriad of elements arranged by the dramatist.

An equal training of the mind is required. Actors portray characters who have personalities created by the playwright. The actor must either assume or “borrow” the soul of the character to achieve an effect of believability, or he must use his own personality to commandeer his body to “deceive” the audience that he is another person. The two techniques are employed to achieve this: internalization and externalization. In internalization, the memory and emotions are trained to be called at will so that actors can use them to provide psychological realism. In externalization, the psychosomatic character of acting is capitalized, training the mind to be in full control and awareness of the self so that it can dictate externalities to the body. In either case, there is a need to forge the soul of the actor for it to either assume a new personality or portray one.

This kind of self-mastery is also present, however in a lesser degree, in dance. Because of the psychosomatic nature of the performing arts, a certain degree of training of both human aspects will always be required. The same physical training is undergone by the dancer except for the need to exercise the voice. More importance is given to the training of the body in this art for the same reason that the body is the first point of contact with the audience. There are no characters being portrayed in this art except maybe in ballets that have stories or interpretative dances that portray scenes and characters. Still, the portrayal of these characters is not as important as the grace of movement itself. The characters portrayed, if any, are merely secondary to the actual dance. Nevertheless, a mastery of the mind is required to achieve that same sense of awareness and control to direct the movements of the body with grace.

It is even lesser in the performance of music. Gilson admits that the body plays an important role in the playing of an instrument—dexterity mostly for instruments like the piano, violin and guitar. The training of the soul is less intellectual and more emotional in this case as with virtuoso players who draw energy and vitality in their playing from their passion and emotions.

The equal need for both body and mind to be mastered simultaneously lessens in the other arts. It is more intellectual in the case of poetry and architecture and more physical in painting and statuary as Gilson noted. It is in theater, among the arts of the beautiful, that we find this kind of need for equal mastery in both body and soul.

This prerequisite addresses Diderot’s complaint that “one never becomes an actor for the love of virtue.” (260) If by virtue we mean the excellence and perfection of a thing, and human virtues are that which brings man to excellence and perfection, then the mastery of body and soul is in itself a virtue or at the very least, a precondition to virtue. Diderot questions the actor’s intention and purpose for getting into acting. However, we have shown how tedious and straining it is to become a well-trained actor. Knowing these prerequisites, what else would one’s motivation be to become an actor? Even if he did not know these requirements before he committed himself to it, his training and formation in rehearsals would make it clear to him what it takes to be an actor.

Diderot may have his biases based on his milieu of theater. His conclusions were drawn from the attitudes of actors during his time: “What leads to their infatuation with the stage? The lack of education, poverty and libertinage. The theater is an expedient, never a choice.” (259) Of Diderot’s concerns, libertinage might be the only one left that is applicable. Lack of education may be discounted because theater, in the present, has become an art form that is accessible only to the elite and educated. Theater in the Philippines can only be accessed through schools and universities. Surveying the struggling theater companies at large, the form and content of our theater productions require its artists and audiences to have some level of education. There are very few community-based theater companies existing that cater to the uneducated and the masses. And in the case of these community-based theater groups, the actors will have to undergo some sort of education before they can participate in the production of a stage play.

Poverty, in fact, is more of a deterrent to the stage rather than an attraction. In the case at least of theater groups in our country, theater doesn’t pay much. A lot of our respected theater actors need to resort to appearing on TV commercials or soap operas to subsidize their real passion. Acting on stage pays very little some even consider it as a hobby rather than a profession. You will have to have some level of financial stability or you will have to be prepared to starve to embrace acting as a profession.

Libertinage is a valid concern of Diderot and there are a million cases to prove it. Theater, in the point of view of the audience, is very actor-centered. Gilson spends most of his chapter on theater on the actor and concludes that “it is the artist in him [the actor] whom we applaud.” (277) The actor is the first contact and on whom the audience anchors their relationship to the art with. Rarely is a stage production applauded for lighting and design, sound, production, directing, and script by ordinary watchers. Almost always, the first and most appreciated is the actor’s performance. The danger lies here. Inasmuch as acting provides a venue for the actor’s self-mastery, his ego might resurface at the sound of the applause. There is a tendency for the actor to take upon himself the excellence of the entire production where he, albeit crucial to the entirety, is only a small part in the artistic collaboration of the theater troupe. This, however, is only the gate to libertinage or the bohemian lifestyle and not necessarily the cause of it. The actor becomes the star and center of attention. If this gets into his head, this becomes the start of overindulgence. The actor starts to become a diva. He starts to think he deserves to be treated in a special way because of the difficulty of his craft. He starts to reward himself by indulging in sex, drugs, and alcohol, which he later justifies as a means to feed his passion and art. His virtue deteriorates to vice. The proof of this is no secret to everyone. Just turn on the TV and catch the Sunday afternoon entertainment news special.

Despite the proofs and actual cases of libertinage and immorality of the superstar actor, this cannot be attributed to the art of acting or of theater. There is no direct causal relationship between the two. Furthermore, theater alone cannot be blamed for this attitude. Libertinage and the bohemian mentality are not exclusive to theater. We know of painters, poets, sculptors and musicians who practice this lifestyle.

Still, Diderot should not be easily dismissed. Despite the fact that no causal relationship can be established between the art and this lifestyle, it is still a prevailing perception that artists—especially theater people—are bohemians and libertines. If we have established that engaging one’s self in the mastery of the craft of acting brings one to self-mastery, how come the opposite occurs to the point that it has become a cliché? This is a subject that merits investigation and contemplation.

To delve into this means we have to attempt to answer or, at the very least, speculate “what leads to their infatuation with the stage?” Instead of making a survey of actors and their attraction to theater, let us look at what is most attractive in the art of theater which naturally draws artists to participate in its production. By looking at the virtues of theater we will be able to understand whether these attractive traits are somehow related, causally or indirectly, in the creation of the perception of actors as libertines. But more than finding the cause of this perceived cliché, this investigation aims more to understand if and how theater is an art form that preconditions the artist to virtue. Necessarily, we will see whether the other arts of the beautiful form the artist in a similar manner and in what degrees of formation.

In calming Diderot’s anxiety, this infatuation with the stage must be seen in the perspective of the art itself and not from the point of view of the participant. This is necessary to illustrate the universal characteristics of theater present in all eras. This will avoid any biases in circumstances of history which was present in Diderot’s analysis of this predicament.

There are three characteristics of theater that may be the cause of this infatuation: its collaborative nature, its formative nature, and its illusory nature.

Theater necessarily requires more than one artist for a stage play to be mounted. Statuary, Painting, Poetry and Dance require only a single artist. Music may need but not necessarily require two—the composer and the performer—but they can be the same person most of the time because music cannot just be written but must be performed and heard. The closest to theater is architecture. Although the design and conceptualization springs from the architect, he requires engineers, carpenters, masons, painters, decorators, etc. to fashion the imagined space into real space. The same is true with theater. A stage production requires a director, production designer, sound designer, lighting director, scorer and actors. The main difference between the two arts is the nature of collaboration between the participants. In architecture, the participants contribute to the mounting of the building as workers and not as artists. Their main objective is the proper execution of the designs in so far as they are functional. This may not be true for the designers and decorators. But for the carpenters, masons, painters and other craftsmen involved, their main objective is not that of creating something beautiful but of something functional. Therefore, the collaborators of architecture produce in the service of function and not for beauty. The collaborators of theater, on the other hand, produce in the service of beauty. All members of the production team work to create something beautiful as envisioned by the dramatist.

However, it may be argued that the engineer, despite the scientific and mathematical nature of his work, dedicates his science in the service of beauty conceived by the architect. It may also be argued that in an inspired construction team, everyone, may fulfill their functions in the service of beauty. This therefore becomes an argument of intention which cannot be scrutinized.

What becomes definitive therefore is the creative input. Creative input, insofar as each participant fashions something beautiful, an artwork in itself, as a contribution to the entire work, becomes the differentiating factor in the nature of collaboration in these two arts. The collaborators in architecture provide services in fashioning what is in the mind of the architect. The workers become extensions of the artist. The carpenters, masons, painters, and engineers become the architect’s hands. In theater, each collaborator is an artist. The scorer produces a piece of music that is in itself, an art. The production designer acts like an architect, sculptor, and painter in fashioning colors, sets, spaces—beautiful things on their own. The actor has his own craft, a performance that may be akin to dancing, using his own body as material. The lighting director illuminates more than just as something aid the perception of the play but in presenting the play beautifully. The creative inputs of these artists are legitimate artworks individually, albeit subsumed in the singular vision of beauty by the dramatist.

This room for creativity in the art of theater becomes attractive to the actor. He is able to practice his art without totally losing it in the grand design of the whole, while at the same time, he becomes intrinsically part of a singular work of beauty. What is most attractive in this type of collaboration is the way each artist feeds off from the other artists surrounding him. The actor draws his stage reality from the space provided by the designer. The designer draws his arrangement from the narrative of the playwright and blocking of the director. The scorer is inspired by the dramatic beats of the actors. The lighting director draws from the space and movement on stage, and so on. The interaction between the artists in this art is so intimate that people who are involved in it develop real relationships of artists and friends. This is why most production companies stick together until the next project. This is not the case in architecture.

The formative nature of theater in the craft of acting was discussed earlier but only to illustrate theater’s accessibility to self-mastery. Acting requires the training of both mind and body to succeed in the portrayal of a role. All the other arts involved in the theater production aid this portrayal—illumination, dramatic scoring, realism or fantasy in space. When the actor takes center stage, the elements converge and aids in the phenomenon called the suspension of disbelief by the audience. But all these complementary arts are useless if the actor is untrained in both mind and body. This manner of formation of body and mind becomes one of the attractions of the art of theater. The actor needs to involve his entire being to participate in this creation. This is only metaphorical in the other arts. When we say that painting, poetry, or music consumes the artist’s entire being in its production, this means that though both body and soul are involved in its entirety, either body or soul takes the lead. As Gilson mentioned, it is more intellectual in the other arts, and more physical in some. This opportunity to master the self equally in the two aspects present in theater is a step closer to perfecting the self—closer to virtue. What is there unattractive in self-mastery?

The phenomenon of suspension of disbelief is the last cause for infatuation with theater. This is present in both the stage and cinema. In stage, the aim is to displace the audience from their actual reality and invite them to witness another universe. The simulation of life allows the audience to escape from their own lives and enjoy the show. It is larger in scale in cinema because literally, the screen is larger than life. The illusion of reality of the alternate universe the audience is witnessing is the primary attraction of this art. For its participants, especially the actors, this too becomes an escape, even just for the duration of the play. There is a sense of dispossession of the self in this craft, allowing the actor to move according to an alternate grand design fashioned by the dramatist. This dispossession attracts the actor not just in the sense that he has an escape from reality, but because he becomes a participant in the illusion. There is a negative connotation in this “escape” implying that there is something unattractive in real life. But this escape should be seen in the light of the nature of theater. It is not just an escape because everyone who participates in it—both artist and audience—know that reality is merely suspended. The infatuation may arise from the knowledge that as artists, they too are capable of calling to life another reality. This thrill of creation is also present in all of the arts. But it is more evident and closer to life in theater. May it be a realistic drama or an absurd comedy, the internal universe of the play has its own unity, its own life.

These three characteristics of theater are what causes the infatuation of the artists with the stage as opposed to what Diderot enumerated which may have been very specific only to his time. These three also address his conclusion that no one desires to be an actor for the love of virtue.

All three aspects of theater address the issue of virtue. St. Augustine describes virtue as the habit that is consonant with our nature. Habits are repeated good human acts. St. Thomas Aquinas defines it as “habitus operativus bonus,” an operative habit that is essentially good. The three aspects of theater provides the venue for self-mastery so that the actor can commit to habits and virtue. The collaborative aspect of theater allows the artists to hone their social nature. The formative aspect enables the artist to train his concupiscence. The illusory aspect allows the artist to practice the virtue of art.

In order for collaboration to succeed, the artist must surrender his ego and perform his art in the context of the single vision provided by the dramatist. It is in theater where true conversations between artists occur. They have a healthy discussion and clash of ideas to bring out the beauty of the single vision of the dramatist. There is nothing more hostile than a room full of artists. Each artist has his own vision and his own manner of producing art. In theater, all the artists must come to a convergence and agreement in order for the beauty of the play to come out. This requires a proper exercise of social skills and interaction. If the single vision is achieved as we give our applause at the end of the production, we can say that the artists were successful in acting according to their social nature. They have improved in the aspect of their social dimension.

The rigorous training of body and mind provides for the harnessing of the concupiscence. Rehearsals are habit-forming. Theater rehearsals require a strict adherence to time, a level of consistency in performance, and a quality of execution that can only be achieved through constant practice. Repetition is intrinsic in theater. A single show cannot be successful without the repetitive methodology of running lines, walking through the acting space, and training of the body and voice. Similarly, good habits are formed in this manner.

In his Summa Theologica, Aquinas defines art as “the right reason about certain works to be made.” (Question 57, Article 3) He proves in this article that art is a virtue of the operative type. The New Advent Catholic Encyclopedia defines virtue as “the habit superadded to a faculty of the soul, disposing it to elicit with readiness acts conformable to our rational nature.” Virtue has its root in the same Latin word that signifies man—vir. This implies that virtue is the strength assimilated by man so that he can act according to his nature, so that he can become more of a man, in other words, to perfect himself. This quality has a stronger connotation in its Filipino translation. Virtue is “birtud” both in Tagalog and Bisaya signifying power and strength. Therefore, art is a power and strength of the will (and of the intellect) to produce something that is beautiful.

The third aspect of theater, illusion and the inducement of the suspension of disbelief, is where the virtue of art is practiced. All the artists in a theater production muster all creativity and strength to produce their individual art works in order to converge with the others in the creation of one beautiful thing. The goal is to mount an alternate reality, something worthy of the audience’s surrender of their disbelief, something that will be pleasurable to them. In creating the illusion, the artist does not deceive the audience but comes into a sort of social contract with them, that what they are about to witness is an alternative universe which has a unity and truth within itself that may stir something in their souls. Because of theater’s illusory nature, it is inevitable that universal themes will be derived from the show which will have bearing in the sensibilities of the audiences. More importantly, each artist is obliged to perform with “the right reason about” the play is to be made. In order for the whole to come out as beautiful, each artist must practice the proper way of producing their art works. Art as virtue is in fact already present in the first two aspects earlier mentioned. Collaboration and rigorous rehearsals are the only proper way of executing a stage play.

It seems that there is nothing in theater that merits Diderot’s scruple. All that is attractive to theater for the artist seem to be more conducive to virtue than anything else. Still, the question of the cliché persists. If the art of theater is so conducive to virtue, why is it still a persisting perception that actors are libertines? Where in the entire process of self-mastery and habit formation was theater wanting?

I would say that there is none. Earlier we have established that there is no causal relationship between libertinage and the art itself. Diderot was mistaken. Theater cannot be solely responsible for the deterioration of the actor. The other fine arts as well, cannot be responsible for the moral degeneration of some artists in other fields. If this question is being asked of artists, shouldn’t it be asked of athletes as well and of scientists? If their fields have their own avenues for habit and virtues, why then, do their practitioners fail? The answer is complex and is not the concern of this treatise. Suffice it to say that the arts never caused it, in fact, the arts provide the venue for the opposite.

The artist, in principle, should become the paragon of virtue because it necessitates him to perfect himself every time he creates art. We have illustrated how it is possible most especially in theater. However, the artist’s life does not consist merely of the creation of art. He has other human dimensions to attend to. Whichever aspect of his life affects him to the negative is not our concern as long as we have proven that art has nothing to do with it.