By Colin Tupaz
Manila, Philippines, March 4, 2013 -- Dulaang UP closes its 37th season with a bold and daring new play, "Collection," written by visionary playwright Floy Quintos.
"Collection" covers a gamut of themes: humankind that has become obsessed with fame, power, and the next big thing; and moral values that are controversial. It presents situations that expose absurdity and hypocrisy -- a depiction of who we are, what we have become, and what we can be.
A must-see play, Quintos's new work dares to tackle opposite extremes, and proves it possible. Indeed, theater makes the impossible possible. When the essence of faith got twisted, and materialism became the new religion, chaos creeps in.
Set in present-day Manila, the play turns back the hands of time to the 16th century, where an image of the Virgin of the Lost Souls was discovered. Subplots are then intertwined: La Hermana Augusta Beata's mystic story; government official Helena's plan to dole out money to eliminate poverty; creative guru Alphonse's historical fiction that influences fashion and movies; renowned jeweler Tatiana's desire to possess things, which is her effort to give back to the community; business tycoon Manolo's dream of an organized and progressive society; cosmetic expert Stephen Yan's quest for scientific evidence proving the soul's existence; young man Gus's well-founded distrust towards the above mentioned personas; and auctioneer Carlo Vibal's scheme to sell various Philippine treasures.
The image of the Virgin is put on sale; and everyone wants "a piece of the cake." And as the play reaches its peak, the tension among the play's characters gets too thick.
I was easily hooked on the play -- from the moment the auctions began to the dance party celebrations; from Manolo's elegant living room to some 16th century references; from the house interiors of each major character to the street scenes; and back to the live auctions arena. The set, costume, and lighting departments were remarkably creative. In a split of a second, the stage transformed into a new setting, done smoothly, despite not using theater curtains.
I loved the angelic singing voice of Teetin Villanueva (La Hermana), her voice captivating, crystal clear. Jeremy Domingo (Carlo) proved his mastery of the theater craft, and was well-supported by his formidable co-actors, particularly Jean Judith Javier (Helena), Alya Honasan (Tatiana), Alexander Cortez (Alphonse), Leo Rialp (Manolo), Roeder Camanag (Stephen), and Red Concepcion (Gus).
The play was ably choreographed and directed by Dexter Santos, who is well known for his creativity, passion for social change, and excellence in theater.
Hats off to the cast and crew of Dulaang UP's "Collection"!
At the end of the day, the audience members have been reminded to strive to better themselves as citizens of their country.
Dulaang UP closes Quintos's "Collection" on Wednesday, March 6, 7 p.m. at Wilfrido Ma. Guererro Theater, University of the Philippines.
Photo by Vlad Gonzales