By Jude Cartalaba
Manila, Philippines, September 26, 2012 — Multiple award-winning actress Eugene Domingo (“The Woman in the Septic Tank,” “Kimi Dora”) is at her finest in Philippine Educational Theater Association’s (PETA) stage adaptation of Lino Brocka’s early ‘80s film “Bona,” a Nora Aunor starrer. However, Domingo’s take on Bona, a deliriously-obsessed teen actor fan, cannot be compared to that of La Aunor’s; both make very different portrayals of the character.
Apparently, this stage version of “Bona” is not all about the psychology of fandom; it also sheds light on how Filipinos cope with everyday stresses, challenges, and more.
“Bona” is also about Gino Sanchez, a wannabe actor, played by Edgar Allan Guzman (“Ligo na U, Lapit na Me”, “I Do Bidoo Bidoo”), whose now infamous “bathtub scene" with Domingo truly sizzles and has been the talk of the town lately.
In fact, Guzman claims that his love scene with Domingo is one of his memorable scenes in the play.
“Hindi ko siya makakalimutan kasi nag-eenjoy kami eh. Nag-eenjoy ako sa eksena na ‘yon. Kumbaga, isa ‘yon sa highlights ng play eh, ‘yung love scene namin,” says Guzman in an exclusive interview with BroadwayWorld.com.
He adds that the other scene in the play that he certainly likes is his opening scene, where he wears a Barong Tagalog and acts like a fool — laughing and crying at the same time — as if he were in front of a television camera.
“Importante kasi sakin ‘yung first scene na ‘yon eh. Doon nagsisimula ‘yung energy ko na tumaas.”
Domingo, who joins Guzman during the interview, is all praises for her co-actor, who previously trained via the educational plays of Villa Teatro Philippines. “Pursigido siya. Alam ko every night pinaghuhusayan niya… Alam ko malayo ang mararating ni Edgar,” she says.
Domingo, who is a proud homegrown talent of Dulaang UP, admits that doing “Bona” is not an easy task.
“Mahirap 'to. Mahirap kaysa ‘… Septic Tank.’ Di naman ganun ka mura ang ticket dito sa PETA, at umuulan, mahirap ang parking. Pumupunta talaga ang tao so dapat talagang husayan. Dapat galingan.”
Despite criticisms that this Layeta Bucoy-penned play was loosely based on its celluloid inspiration, PETA’s “Bona” still gratuitously provokes and disturbs its audience.
The show’s director, theater stalwart Soxie Topacio, successfully combines film, television, and theater on stage. Nothing is wasted; each supporting actor also gets his moment to shine in the production, especially Joey Paras as Baldy, Gabs Santos as Raf, Juliene Mendoza as Bert, the persistent suitor of Bona, Shé Maala, and Olive Nieto.
PETA’s “Bona” has extended its run at PETA Theater Center in Quezon City until Sunday, September 30.
Jonjon Villareal is lighting designer; Terresa Barrozo is music and sound designer; Boni Juan is set designer; and Carlo Pangunaling is costume designer.
For tickets, call PETA at (632) 725-6244, (632) 410-0821, www.petatheater.com or TicketWorld at (632) 891-9999, www.ticketworld.com.ph.
Photo Credit: JR Sala