They say if you want to see the future of a country, look at its youth. Among all ages, the youth perfectly mirrors the voices, aspirations, sufferings, and trials of a nation because they theoretically make up the largest portion of a population. They have the strongest body to move and mind to strategize for the advancement of a particular nation. But what happens when the youths are hypnotized by their social and personal sprites? What future awaits them?
On its 36th season, Tanghalan Ateneo presents Han Ong’s “Middle Finger” – an adaptation of the renowned German play “Spring Awakening” by Frank Wedekind which tries to reveal the answers to the questions above.
|Cast of the Middle Finger|
The bilingual play is about five teenage boys, two of them Filipinos who see themselves as people trapped in a cage full of repression, conservativeness, and injustice while obsession, torment, and evilness try to choke them to death. The mark of authoritarianism is evident in the play as its stage design is festooned by high walls made by thick wires. Even some props are made of wires such that of the chair and table, and these plus the light design signify darkness in home, school, and street – the major settings in the play.
Are the youths our real problem? Or is it the system that we continue to embrace that makes them problematic? In the play, the teenagers are situated in a Catholic school ran by tyrannical rules and dictatorial leaders. It is a place where liberal minds are not welcome, even dreams are sheltered by order and limitations. The home, which is supposedly the temple of happiness becomes otherwise. It illustrates a home where a father who speaks powerfully, a mother who always follows, and an offspring who is confuse. Lastly, a wrong system is apparent on how a street life reflects values and culture.
The play exposes the struggle of a teenager in the name of Benjamin Lunga played by Joe-Nel Garcia as he is forced to admit something that he didn’t do. Because extreme demonization and repression prevail over their freedom and self-confidence, he eventually sends off his life to death.
Meanwhile, his best friend Jakob Rodriguez who is also mutinous like Benjamin searches and tries a life without boundaries and far from comfort zones. Jakob tested the perfume of lust and styles of angst.
When Benjamin died, realizations conquer Jakob’s sinful mind and soul. The tragedy let Jakob began to twist his way of life.
The play will bring you into super reality setting with characters whom we can relate with because once or at least today, whether we agree or not, we still experience being oppressed and oppressors in somebody else’s life.
The middle finger signifies subjugation, insult, dominance, strength, rudeness, and other associated words. To contrast the negative meanings of that middle finger, a person has two choices: either to show off his middle finger too or to answer back with a smile.
They will open on August 1 and will run until August 22, 2014
For tickets, you may contact Hannah Tolentino at 0917-576-0805!
See you all in the theater!
Special credit to Lemuel Villanueva for the second to the last fotos.
About Jerome Papa
He is the new resident writer in the Axl Powerhouse Group, Studies Master of Arts in Philippine Studies at University of the Philippines Diliman and also a blogger.