“Ano pa bang realidad ang meron kami? Ang ilusyon, para sa inyo, para sa amin ay ang nag-iisang realidad na alam namin.” – Ama
In our society’s history of storytelling, there are immortalized tales masked by facades and revised with lies. We treat human experiences as a product that can easily be modified to cater to certain standards, when in truth, human experiences are people’s only reality – a chapter inked in their lives, marking their every heartbeat.
Breathing life into a play centered on six characters who long for an author’s voice and the embrace of their own stage, Dulaang UP (DUP) served as instruments in the telling of how theater becomes an allegory to itself. Fusing both the becoming of a story and its exposition, “Six Characters in Search of An Author” enchanted the audience with the raw assemblage of the play, telling the story in confusing puzzle pieces.
While in the middle of a theater rehearsal, the chaos among the cast and crew was interrupted by six characters who claim that they are in search of an author to serve as voice of their story. The play revolves around the six characters imparting their lives to the members of the theater, and as the story unravels, different interpretations of their lived realities arise.
Six Characters did not intend to swamp the audience with overwhelming props and crazy visual executions. With minimal additions in props and changes in setting, the play adhered to its mission to exemplify a theater’s behind the scenes – unadorned from all its glittering splendor.
Despite this, Six Characters in Search of an Author left a positive impression on the audience through an emphasized reminder on how the characters and the story should remain the heart of theater.
One of the most captivating characters easily became the Stepdaughter (Anak sa Labas), with Noor Hooshmand’s enchanting yet haunting portrayal of a woman haunted by the scandalous and sensual tragedies in her life. From the way she buried her stare into the men in the play to the way her hands roamed around her body as if she itched to break free from it, the Stepdaughter undoubtedly became a memorable piece from the orchestra of characters.
Reynald Santos (as the Young Boy) and Shanaia Cuerpo (as the Little Girl) filled the theatre with the eerie silence that fuelled whispered remarks about the audience’s disturbed feelings.
Characterized by her deafening cries throughout the duration of the play, Issa Lopez’ portrayal of the Mother (Ina) allowed the audience to resonate with a sense of pity directed towards a mother who was forced to hear stories of her husband and daughter in a series of sexual encounters.
On the other hand, Allen Baylosis outstandingly embodied the disgusting, ill-hearted nature of the Father (Ama). Baylosis took on the role of an ignorant husband who manipulated his wife’s decisions, and an inconsiderate father who gave into bodily temptations towards his stepdaughter. Played as one of the most controversial roots of the story’s problems, the Father became a negatively interesting agent in the narrative.
Exuding the same nauseating masculinity, the Son (Anak na Binata) played by Andrew Estacio personified a character that felt imprisoned in others’ stories that he felt should not concern him. Often taking his place in a corner away from all the chaos, the Son played such a meaningful scene when he attempted to escape the story only to be anchored back in the coil of conflict.
Dulaang UP’s performance of “Six Characters in Search of an Author” stirred the emergence of a spectrum of questions. Among a crowd of questions were: Who is the true author of the story? Which interpretation of the story is in its truest form? Can stories be told even in silence? How does the told and sold story deviate from reality?
Rody Vera’s Filipino translation of Pirandello’s Six Characters (Ang Anim na Tauhang Naghahanap ng May-Akda) brought the piece closer to the hearts of the local community. Through Vera’s translation, every character’s emotions are amplified and expressed in a way where Filipino audiences are able to identify more with the struggles embodied in the story.
The chaotic interactions occurring before the perfection of a play were magnified through the characters’ constant bickering, questioning, and arguing. Each character had a different version of the story which added to audience’s confusion. But as the story gradually revealed itself to both the characters and the viewers, the atmosphere began to slowly dim along with it.
From the well-lit, comedic beginning, the motion of Six Characters in Search of An Author began to descend in a grim direction that pushed the audience to the edge of their seats as they anticipated for the end of the tunnel, with no clue of what lay beyond.
Signifying the end of the play, the theater blacked out and was met with silence. Before they thundered into applause, the audience filled every corner of the theater with the absence of noise and the presence of bewilderment over what they had just witnessed.
Six Characters in Search of an Author was a masterpiece shaped to share a journey of six characters who longed for a voice to tell their story, but sometimes, living the reality of your story is the only voice one will ever need.
As the curtains closed and the story ended, it was questionable if the search for an author ended along with it — or if the author was present all along.
Directed by the iconic Tony Mabesa, “Six Characters in Search of an Author” is dated to run until September 30 in the Wilfrido Ma. Guerrero Theater in Palma Hall, UP Diliman. It will have English shows on Wednesdays, Fridays and Sundays, and Filipino shows, told through the translation of renowned scriptwriter Rody Vera, on Thursdays and Saturdays.
For ticket inquiries, call 09062241034, 09165552782, 9261349, 9818500 loc. 2449 or email [email protected]. Tickets are also available in the Dulaang UP (DUP) Office.