land of the bizarre

Dogeaters, the play

Dogeaters struggles to keep its several storylines from being incoherent and achieves it with modicum success. Never mind though the novel was already episodic to begin with. The play presents the Philippines as a variety show, complete with melodrama, sex, murder and intrigues. There is Joey Sands, a drug dependent hustler, Fassbinder, an avant-garde German filmmaker, a bomba star and characters obviously patterned after Benigno Aquino and Fabian Ver. Much of the energy, however, frizzles out when the storylines finally do meet in the end and creates not so much as a bang but a whimper. It doesn’t exactly come together but I did feel the sting when the Jessica Hagedorn character complains about the mess we have created and her father looks at her and says: “It feels almost as if you are blaming me.” For the longest time, Marcos (the fuhrer) has been the butt of the blame but for most of the time shouldn’t we have been blaming ourselves too?

(Note: I saw the play a day after the Manila Penn incident and it felt a little weird. Dogeaters seemed even more dated with the recent bizarre events. An elected Senator on trial for seizing a luxury hotel has just seized another hotel in a futile attempt to topple a corrupt government. Indeed, Trillanes should be up there along with the other unbelievable characters of the play. Perhaps if Dogeaters was written just a few years ago, it would have definitely included Kris Aquino [whom would have merited an entire storyline by herself]. But as one character said in the play: “Welcome to the Philippines! It feels as if everything has changed but it also feels nothing has changed.” Apparently, our country is as bizarre and colorful as it has been in the last couple of decades.)


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