Got home last night by midnight, to my husband standing by the gate with his hands on his waist and the taxi driver chuckling in his seat. Nah, I’m just kidding about his hands being on his waist, but yes, he was standing by the gate, waiting for me, with prior text messages to me like, “So is the Virgin Labfest til midnight?” and “What time do you plan to go home?”

Actually, we went straight home after watching the play, with only a couple of minutes spent filling up survey forms and discussing how to get home and who goes with whom. It was just that the show started at 8pm, with three plays in the set, and the taxi ride was kinda long, in the pouring rain. As a side story, my heart almost broke when in the pelt down, out of the blurry vision of the road the windshield afforded us, I saw a pregnant woman with a one or two-year old baby in her arms begging from cars waiting for a green light. The little one was wearing a sando, its hair sticking to its head and its face, in the heavy rain. I had the urge to run out of the taxi and give my Esprit umbrella, and maybe I could have if only the traffic light did not change from red to green.

Today, I decided that I would catch the 3pm show so as to avoid coming home late in a taxi to a waiting, almost-angry husband. Besides, the lab fest could use an extra person in the audience. More people watch in the evening than in the afternoon because they have regular-hours work, unlike me – who works all evening and sleeps all morning.

So after my experiments with commuting from Cainta to CCP, which included taking an FX taxi from Junction to RCBC-Ayala and taking a cab from Buendia to CCP; as well as taking the orange jeep-LRT1-LRT2-to still, the taxi-route, I have finally resigned to just taking the LRT and just allotting more time for the commute. Since I have to be at all the sets to take photos, I figured a stored value LRT ticket is a worthy investment.

Route would be:

jeep from Cainta to LRT2 Santolan station
LRT2 Santolan to Recto station
LRT2 Recto-LRT1 Doroteo Jose station to LRT1 Vito Cruz station
Orange jeep to CCP

and vice versa.

Today was my first time to experience the LRT on a weekday scene and my, was it sensational! I have never seen so many people crammed in one place and with all kinds of smell – not in a long time at least! On the bridge from D. Jose station to Recto station, there were a lot of food stalls and I could not resist getting shawarma. I remember thinking, “Wow, I have not had shawarma in such a long time! I have not had shawarma since college! And I don’t even know if this shawarma I am having right now is good because I can’t even remember how it’s supposed to taste in the first place,” all the while watching with amazement at the throngs of people walking by. People in droves! What a sight!

I guess when you spend most of your days in your home for months and months at a time, people in great numbers, moving like an organism, become such a spectacular sight.

I took time to drop by Gateway to pay for some of the online shopping I have been doing quite a lot of on Facebook, and something I must stop by the way, as well as get Lia baby some multivitamins.

Over-all, today was such a productive day. I had a meeting with my boss during intermissions, met with Rody Vera, got introduced to people I needed to be introduced to so I could get press releases and other paraphernalia for my work, got an official camera pass as well as the privilege of watching every VLF6 set without having to introduce myself each and every time.

How was Set B anyway?

SET B: PAS DE DEUX:
JUNE 23 (WED): 3PM and 8PM; JULY 3 (SAT): 8PM; JULY 4 (SUN): 3PM

Higit Pa Dito
written by Allan B. Lopez, directed by Tuxqs Rutaquio

Collector’s Item
written by Juliene Mendoza, directed by Roobak Valle

Ondoy
written by Remi Velasco, directed by Ed Lacson

I was a few minutes late so I missed out on a few scenes of Higit Pa Dito, which happened to be the play I have been most looking forward to. It has Mailes Kanapi, a great actress whom I have had the chance to work with before, it’s written by Allan Lopez whose “Kasaysayan” at the Virgin Labfest 3 I happened to have liked very much, and directed by Tuxqs Rutaquio, who, despite a few little failures here and there (yes I am still talking about DUP’s Lulu), I profoundly admire. But above everything else, it has Cris Pasturan – who I am such a fan of. Yes, I can be a fan girl too. If you saw Tanghalang Pilipino’s Godot, Wer is U? you would be too. (Side notes: Why can’t I find a poster of Godot Where is U anywhere online? And why isn’t there a photo of “Kasaysayan” on Gibbs Cadiz’s article?)

Performance pics, photo lifted from Bong Cabrera's Multiply site. You may click on image to view source.

From Tanghalang Pilipino's Godot Wer is U?, photo by Jojit Lorenzo. Click on image to view source.

But to tell the truth, I was disappointed. Maybe because it was their first show or maybe because the audience had been too small to be any fun or reactive in any way or maybe, my expectations were too high. Not that they weren’t any good, there just was something missing. It had one truly heartbreaking moment. Just one. And it could only be heartbreaking to me because I am a mother. I cannot say it would have the same effect on anybody else or a good number of the audience for that matter. I loved the artistic quality of the ending with its haunting music and the symbolism accompanying what seemed to me as sunrise behind the window’s blinds; but I swear that if I see another overhead spotlight again in another play, I will close my eyes and pretend I’m at a beach on an island instead. (Escapism much?)

On the other hand, Julienne Mendoza’s Collector’s Item for all its good and bad points is just simply not for me. I can understand that this play could be fun for some men and I imagine how much fun it was to work on and develop during the Taumbayan Playwriting Sessions, but it just lacks a certain depth that I look for and like in the plays I watch. It’s a personal prejudice. I just like my plays haunting and evocative.

Though Remi Velasco’s “Ondoy” could be good enough for those who did not get to personally and fortunately experience the wrath of Ondoy, it simply was not enough for me who did and who is, to this day, brought to tears by the thoughts of my friend, his one-and-a-half year old boy, his wife and his entire extended family spending the night on the roof of their 2-storey house in Nangka, Marikina. I keep thinking that if Abet and/or I could have written about our own Ondoy experiences and brought it to life onstage, it would have the same message but perhaps a different tone. A happier one perhaps. Really. Because if there is anything that Ondoy taught us, it is simply not that “Life goes on” but that we laugh during the times that we feel like crying and we cry when it is all over… that on those times when we feel most obliged to be angry, to lose hope, to bring up all the past hurts – we are all at our strongest, our most positive and our most hopeful. Ms. Velasco might have experienced the tragic natural disaster that was Mt. Pinatubo in Pampanga, she might have made a lot of volunteer work for the victims of Ondoy and she might have made perhaps a hundred interviews of the victims of Ondoy but that still isn’t enough. For me. Her “Ondoy” lacked heart when in reality, for those of us who personally experienced Ondoy, Ondoy was all heart. Nothing but heart.

***

If you wanna catch Set B, you may still do so on these dates: JULY 3 (SAT): 8PM; JULY 4 (SUN) 3PM.

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