If Jose Rizal had written his two novels today, what issues would he have raised? In modern society, who would Ibarra and Maria Clara be? Who would be the equivalent of the villains Fray Salvi and Fray Damaso, and the characters of Elias, Pilosopong Tasio, Basilio, Isagani, and Padre Florentino? Would his second novel end the way it did when he wrote El Fili in 1891?
The Philippine Educational Theater Association opens its 41st Theater Season this July with a new interpretation to Rizal’s classic works Noli Me Tangere and El Filibusterismo with Nicanor Tiongson’s NOLI AT FILI DEKADA 2000 (Dos Mil).
Inspired by the national hero’s powerful critique of the “social cancer” festering in the very heart of late 19th century Filipinas, NOLI AT FILI DEKADA 2000 with humility and concern reflects on the “reign of greed” in contemporary Philippine society. It seeks to underscore the continuing relevance of Rizal’s characters and the validity of his social analysis today. But it also highlights the differences in the conditions of the 19th century and those of our time.
NOLI AT FILI DEKADA 2000 (DOS MIL) is set in the small town of Maypajo in the province of San Lorenzo in Southern Tagalog where an idealistic but naïve Ibarra Marasigan, newly-elected mayor, decides to put a final stop to the deforestation of the Sierra Madre. He finds loyal support for this cause in Fr. Ino, parish priest of Maypajo, Mr. Atanacio, the principal of Maypajo High School, Kapitan Badong, the present chief of all barangay chairmen in Maypajo, and, most of all, Clarissa Santos, his childhood sweetheart and now fiancé. However, as Mayor Ibarra makes more vigorous moves against deforestation, he uncovers the whole web of corruption which implicates his future father-in-law and godfather Governor Santiago Santos, Provincial Commander Colonel Salvador (Salvi) Salvatierra, and Monsignor Damaso, bishop of the newly-established diocese of San Lorenzo. Mayor Ibarra is removed from office by “people power”, his fiancé is blackmailed into marrying Salvi, and his childhood friend Kumander Elias of the National Liberation Army (NLA) dies while covering Ibarra’s escape from prison. Three years after, Ibarra has risen to the leadership of the NLA. Now feared as Kumander Simon, he leads personal, punitive attacks against the individuals who caused his downfall as mayor of Maypajo.
Under the direction of theater and movie stalwart Soxie Topacio, this contemporization of these much-studied novels will feature some of the country’s seasoned stage artists as well as PETA’s pool of talented young actors and guest artists: Lex Marcos, Bodjie Pascua, Bembol Roco, Robert Seña, Raffy Tejada, Ernie Cloma, Randy Villarama, Gilbert Onida, Upeng Galang-Fernandez, Marichu Belarmino, Jess Evardone, Julia Enriquez, Shé Maala, Ian Segarra, Norbs Portales, Jack Yabut, Neomi Tabanao-Gonzales, Eric dela Cruz and Joseph Grantusa.
Performances are slated at the PETA-Phinma Theater from July 18 to August 24, 2008, Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays with shows at 10am and 3pm on all days. Tickets at P300 each.
For inquiries and ticket reservations, call the PETA Marketing and Public Relations Office at 725.6244, 410.0821, 0917-8154567, 0917-5642433, or email email@example.com. Noli at Fili Dekada 2000 (Dos Mil) is also open for sponsorship and showbuyers. (www.petatheater.com).
(Poster design by Brenda Fajardo, photo by Jojit Lorenzo)