by Sara Jamel Bangayan
Without a doubt, religion plays a powerful role in society. In the Philippines, it can even meddle in the political affairs of the state, which polarizes people on certain issues. In a country where religion is revered at most, Floy Quintos’ Collection emphasized the tendency of the people’s materialistic nature and greed to rule over their conscience and morality.
Carlo Vibal (Jeremy Domingo), a handsome and charismatic auctioneer of Maharlika Pilipinas, had successfully auctioned many artistic and national treasures with the fictional government agency, the National Commission on the Disposal of Philippine Patrimony, represented by Helena de Zialcita (Jean Judith Javier). Among these treasures sold were the Banaue Rice Terraces and some of the Bohol Chocolate Hills.
The latest object to be auctioned was the recently unearthed 16th century image of the Virgin of the Lost Souls made from ivory, which was connected to a certain Hermana Augusta Beata (Teetin Villanueva). Patrons of Maharlika Pilipinas, Manolo Estancio (Leo Rialp), a businessman, Tatiana Olandrez (Alya Honasan), an international jeweler and Alphonse Castrence (Alexander Cortez) were ready to spend millions of pesos to win the image. Dr. Stephen Yan (Roeder Camanag), a health and beauty doctor who wanted to find a proof of the existence of the soul, also became interested and contended to win the image.
On the other hand, Gus Mendez (Red Concepcion), a student who witnessed the bid for the Banaue Rice Terraces, questioned the intentions and motives of the bidders regarding the image.
The play portrays the image of the Philippine society today: wealthy people blinded by materialistic desires to have everything, educated people who question and oppose those they deem wrong, and media that fail to present different sides of an issue.
Reminiscent of Lino Brocka’s Himala, Collection also criticizes people who blindly follow anyone or anything. Greed was worshipped by people, as much as how the townspeople worshipped Elsa – perhaps Nora Aunor’s most famous role – in the film.
In reality, the issues that it brought up were serious and depressing. Nevertheless, the comedic approach of the play made it light for the audience to appreciate. The performance became an eye-opener in an entertaining way.
The combination of Quintos’ humorous script and Dexter Santos’ direction and choreography makes the play a masterpiece. In addition, the detailed set design and veteran cast of characters spiced up the performance, which made it more spectacular.
Closing the 37th season of Dulaang UP, Collection is a must-watch, especially for those who want to take a break and see something more socially relevant in the field of arts and culture today.
Editor’s note: Collection’s run has been EXTENDED until tomorrow. For tickets, you may contact DUP at 9818500 Local 2449 / 9261349 or visit its office at Palma Hall 136 , UP Diliman.