UP Repertory opens year-long theater season with ‘Intersection’

TWO streets. One of them remote and unfrequented, while the other is stacked in the congested shanties of the city. The first bears a shadowy aura so as to conceal the horrors of commissioned deaths, while the other is as bright and lively as its resilient citizens in the rubbles. Streetlight Manifesto tragically showcases events leading to death and murder, while Eskinita comically features what comes after.

A twin-bill of contrasts and ironies in the Philippines’s burgeoning urban landscape – this is what is to be expected in the UP Repertory Company’s production: Intersection. Intersecting in both plays are sinister humor, scarring pathos and rarely talked-about reality:

Streetlight Manifesto (written by Mix Villalon, part of the 2011 Virgin Labfest) is an anti-morality fable about two exterminators, a journalist and a police investigator contemplating over life, death and morality (or the lack of it) while a series of murders are committed in just a span of days. Over these people looms a flickering streetlight that illuminates the empty, decrepit alley.

And deeper into the slums and the passageways of the city lies the shaky ground for the satirical Eskinita. A comedic chamber farce written by UP Repertory based on Elyrah L. Salanga-Torralba’s 1995 Rogelio Sikat Award-winning short story, the play is about a widow whose husband’s remains cannot be ejected from an extremely narrow eskinita. Adding insult to injury, her neighbors spread nasty rumors and avoid her presence, as she is believed to be cursed.

The UP Repertory Company, in its 44th Theater Season, opens in the streets. In the wake of extrajudicial killings and social media, the local slums are once again on the spotlight, and UP Rep’s Intersection offers these two new, fresh plays to a bewildered urban audience. UP Rep allows you to share this rare opportunity to see the urban landscape in a different perspective, especially in the height of developments, of technology, and of impending “change” in society. Witness a delightful biting satire that cuts deep into our collective conscience as Filipinos, and leave the theater with dazed eyes, wide smiles and befuddled minds.

Given the theme’s depth and graveness, though, it is also an enjoyable showcase of our own local writers whose work of intellectual labor was given life with the biting energies of directors Nicole Lorenzo of Dulaang UP and Miguel Bongato of UP Repertory, with their creative team of diverse talent: Dulaang UP’s Mark Dalacat on lights, and UP Rep members Gio Potes on dramaturgy, Babylyn Fajilagutan on set design, Jzar Tabilin on sounds, and Cy Zinampan on wardrobe.

Intersection stars UP Rep’s homegrown ensemble of Roseball Toledo, Malvin Ramos, Cy Zinampan, Jzar Tabilin, Sarah Valdez, Gio Potes and Isaac Punzalan. In collaboration are actors from different companies, such as Gantimpala’s Roi Neri, La Salle University’s Jomar Carpena, UP Babaylan’s Ian, Dulaang UP’s Diane Formoso, and Rej Duka from UP Kontragapi. Watch out for a surprise appearance from the infamous Professor Victor Avecilla.

After all, the UP Repertory Company, awarded as one of   UP’s seven official University Performing Groups (UPGs), has always dared to attack its own audience with provocative and timely plays that make them wonder, question, and feel. This is all in line with the company’s main thrust: Repleksyon ng Pangangailangan ng Nakararami (Reflection of the Needs of the Masses).

This year, UP Rep chose its lineup of productions and plays based on one umbrella theme: traffic. Not only literal traffic, but even traffic of humans, traffic of ideas and ideologies, and even traffic of various philosophies. The company hopes to portray the struggle with traffic, from the most literal to its most critical sense. Watch out for our next two offerings: Edsa’sTres in April 2017, and Waiting for Godot in July 2017.

For the season’s first installment Intersection, show dates are 7 p.m., Nov. 11 and Nov. 18; and 3 p.m. and 7 p.m. on Nov. 12   and Nov. 19, at the Delos Reyes Auditorium, School of Labor and Industrial Relations (SOLAIR), UP Diliman, QC. Tickets are at P220. For inquiries and ticket reservations, contact Roseball at 09267037826 or 09290568205.

The University of the Philippines Repertory Company (UP Rep) is a non-stock, non-profit student theater organization founded by Behn Cervantes in 1972. Since then, it has delivered performances to a variety of audience, in and outside UP. The company aims to enlighten its audience on different social issues and to bring Philippine Theater closer to the masses under its main thrust RPN or “Repleksyon ng Pangangailangan ng Nakararami.” The organization is celebrating its 44th anniversary.

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