Dulaang UP presents the world premiere of Floy Quintos's COLLECTION (photo by Dino Dimar)
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By Precious Lee Cundangan
Manila, Philippines, February 20, 2013 -- When two brilliant creative minds in the theater collaborate on a most unlikely subject matter, one would be reminded of Andre Antoine (1858-1943), father of modern theater in France, and his Theatre Libre, where unbridled exploration in theater is both compelling and groundbreaking.
Being the educational theater organization of the University of the Philippines, Dulaang UP (DUP) encourages non-commercial works. "Collection," an original Filipino play, written by multi-awarded playwright Floy Quintos ("Shock Value," "Ang Bagong Harana") and directed by avant garde director Dexter Santos ("Rizal X", "Orosman at Zafira") is DUP's final offering for its 37th season. The production runs until Sunday, March 3 at Wilfrido Ma. Guerrero Theater, University of the Philippines.
"Collection" took two years to come to fruition. Santos, who has always wanted to work with Quintos, first envisioned the play as a dark comedy set in a fashion show; the play has evolved into exploring the parallel universes of society, business, auctions, and politics instead.
"History is the new handbag!" goes one of the lines in the play. In a world where everyone is obsessed with "what's new" and "what to buy next," "Collection" challenges our values, motives, and way of life. It is about what people are willing to do for fame and money. It is about a world where auctions are the new form of entertainment; and people bid with extreme absurdity -- even national treasures are sold to the highest bidder.
To properly present the premise of the story, Santos closely collaborated with Quintos, always asking each other, "How do we do this?" or "What if?" In an exclusive interview with BroadwayWorld, both indicated that 40 percent of the original working script has been revised because "Collection" is a work of progress (literally).
When Quintos writes a play, one expects his work will have patriotic themes written all over it. In his own words, he describes himself "very nationalistic in a funny way" who does works he "really wanted to do and truly believed in." "Collection," however, is not your typical "Quintosian" play according him. The play juxtaposes varied social elements, which are not bounded by time and space, from a futuristic alternate universe to 17th century Philippines, from the extravagant to basic.
In addition, "Collection," which was inspired by Salman Rushdie's "At the Auction of the Ruby Slippers" and Nick Joaquin's "Cave and Shadows," intends to be a theatrical meditation on a society where everyone is equal and right, which is wonderful -- but where does it take us?
Expectations are high for Santos, who is known for his unconventional works.
"There will always be a conscious effort in saturating ways to reach out and say something to the current generation, sustain their retention and provide something new," he explained, "Themes in the play are recurring but also dynamic that audiences get to have a new experience when they watch the production."
Santos added, "Each production should never be upstaging one from the other. As a director, I work with the text; see the important parts that I need to work on. It would be unfair to compare as I approach each project differently and work with the text and the play's essence."
For tickets, contact Dulaang UP Office at (632) 926-1349, 981-8500 local 2449 or (632) 433-7840. Look for Camille Guevarra or Samantha Clarin.