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Advocacy, Arts, Classic, Culture, Drama, Entertainment, Theater

Noli at Fili Dekada Dos Mil: PETA’s Modern Take on Rizal’s Two Greatest Novels


Every Filipino is required to read Jose Rizal’s two greatest and controversial novels—‘Noli Me Tangera’ and ‘El Filibusterismo’ especially during high school, which perhaps this modern-day take of Philippine Educational Theater Association’s (PETA) of the said classic literary piece[s] via—‘Noli at Fili Dekada Dos Mil’ is fitting for people to watch especially the younger generation to understand fully what Rizal was trying to convey back then.

At first, it was quite difficult to imagine how the playright Nicanor Tiongson would compress the two novels into a two-act play, but after watching it—he succeeded; leaving me with alarming thoughts about what every Filipino must be awaken from the system that has been controlling the nation ever since the Spanish reign in the country.

Ibarra as Mayor, Simon as a Rebel.

Lucho Ayala is seen in this scene waering a polo Barong as he assumed the role of Mayor Ibarra in 'Noli at Fili Dekada Dos Mil'.  Photograph courtesy of Erickson Dela Cruz.

Lucho Ayala is seen in this scene waering a polo Barong as he assumed the role of Mayor Ibarra in ‘Noli at Fili Dekada Dos Mil’. Photograph courtesy of Erickson Dela Cruz.

In this scene, Ayala is now the rebel named Kumander Simon. Photograph courtesy of Erickson Dela Cruz.

In this scene, Ayala is now the rebel named Kumander Simon. Photograph courtesy of Erickson Dela Cruz.

These two personas of the character that Rizal has created were the basis for the titles of the two-act play. The first act is titled—Si Mayor Ibarra and the second act is—Si Kumander Simon. Unlike the novels, Tiongson has transformed Ibarra and Simon into the usual characters that Filipinos are exposed to these days—the purist and idealist politician who later on became a rebel.

What makes the play endearing is that fact that the actor who portrayed the alter-egos of Rizal—Ibarra and Simon is Lucho Ayala. He effectively breathed into the two characters. With him onstage, he is one actor that you would still get hooked with as he embodies both the elitist and the socialist characters required in the play.

Lucho sustained the momentum of the said production as he shifted effortless from one character to the other.

Two Mainstream Performers join the Cast.

The Starstruck alumna, Kris Bernal, who has been appearing on films and television series after joining the Kapuso’s talent reality search on the boob tube in 2007, eight years ago. Her pretty face is easily qualifies to portray the ladylove of Ibarra, but became the wife of Salvi played by Jack Yabut.

Bernal’s acting skills is placed to a test as she essayed the character of Clarissa, the modernized version of Maria Clara, who represents the portrait of an ideal Filipina—graceful, beautiful and compassionate.

It is also interesting to see film, TV and stage actress—Liza Dino-Seguerra alternating with Kris. It would be interesting to see her take on Clarissa. Like Bernal, Dino-Seguerra was crowned Miss

Rerun Production is with a Totally Different Set Design

Though PETA decided to mount its version from its first production in 2008, it has a totally different set design by Gino Gonzales that combines pipes and improvised tree roots. It definitely complements well with the shows’ new home—the Springs Production Studios after it opened on a Thursday, September 10.

Perhaps the opening scene is one of the most-awaited scenes in the play, which sets the play’s milieu in the mountains of Sierra Madre where illegal logging is still very much rampant even up to these days.

Kris Bernal plays Ayala's love interest--Clarissa, the modern version of Maria Clara. Photograph by Erickson Dela Cruz.

Kris Bernal plays Ayala’s love interest–Clarissa, the modern version of Maria Clara. Photograph by Erickson Dela Cruz.

This telenovela-type of love story of Ibarra and Clarissa in ‘Noli at Fili Dekada Dos Mil’ is brilliantly highlighted by Tiongson and audiences will definitely identify the journey of the lovers.

The show runs until September 27. It is directed by film, TV and stage director Soxie Topacio. For tickets, purchase via TicketWorld or call (632) 8919999; or contact PETA at (632) 725 6244 or +639212255183, or visit www.petatheater.com.

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Writer-Editor-Facilitator, Creative Strategist-Marketer, Publicist and PR Practitioner, Publisher and Social Entrepreneur.

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