Saturday, October 1, 2011

Dulaang UP’s Titus Andronicus: Ang Tinarantadong Asintado

Titus Andronicus: Ang Tinarantadong Asintado is an adaptation of William Shakespeare’s play Titus Andronicus by Layeta Bucoy in the direction of Tuxqs Rutaquio.  The Roman Tyranny in Shakespeare’s first tragedy is transformed into the drama of the Philippine elections.

The heat of the election and the war between parties brought out the aura of a fast selling market of votes, dignity, principles, power, body, sex, love, lives, freedom, false hopes, and religious beliefs. Ironically, the election does not cater service which is the sole essence of taking a seat in politics.  Election brings out clowns with painted faces saying empty promises, senseless but dramatized helping hands and money acting as the ruler. 

Set with revenge, greed, and deception, Ang Tinarantadong Asintado follows the characters of Ricardo “Carding” Munoz (Titus), a retired police officer, and an influential church devotee, Clarissa Castillo (Tamora).  A wake for one of the sons of Carding begins the battle between two parties as Carding connected the death to the Castillos.  Taking revenge, Carding setout his men to kidnap and kill one of Clarissa’s sons.  Clarissa, plotting her revenge, married Vice Mayor Armando Torres (Saturninus) who is running for Mayor against the incumbent bold star.  Clarrisa used her “weakness” to win favor of Torres making him her own little puppet.  Chua (Aaron), Clarissa’s lover, entrapped the two sons of Carding who were accused of killing Antonio (Bassianus), Armando Torres’ brother to enrage Armando.  While the sons of Clarissa kidnapped Salve (Lavinia) and brutally raped and decapitate her hands and tongue. Returning to her family, Salve was able to reveal her perpetrators.  Carding and his other son, revengefully killed Clarissa’s sons and made Dinuguan (meat pie in the original Shakespeare play) out of them and served them in a dinner where Clarissa and Armando Torres were present. 

The end justifies the means.  Even if the end, in this case, power begets 13 actual murders, 1 rape, numerous side murders, cannibalism, and a man gone crazy.

Shakespeare, a genius as he is, surely has an intriguing and mysterious mind.  His play on the nature of man, the complexity of its environment and his adaptation to this chaos surely is excalibur.  How he weave the plot and the sub plots in an intricate cloth of Titus Andronicus is a two thumbs up. 

Tuxqs Rutaquio’s execution of the play is equally superb.  The gruesome torture and brutal murders are executed perfectly with all prosthetics and props.  The elements of visuals and media was also captured in the play and its role in the elections and the characters.  What is also effective of Rutaquio’s play is the balance of the distinct scenes and letting the audience’s imagination run in full gear.  I left the theater with scenes of cannibalism, rape and vicious butchery, lingering in my thoughts that I felt nauseated going home.  It is like I brought with me the psychosis of the play.

Titus Andronicus:  Ang Tinarantadong Asintado
Wilfirido Ma. Guerrero Theater
Palma Hall, UP Diliman
Quezon City

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