Sunday, November 18, 2007

DOGEATERS, A Play About the Philippines

Last night my husband and I watched DOGEATERS (, a play about the Philippines written by celebrated Filipino-American writer Jessica Hagedorn at the Carlos P. Romulo theater in RCBC Plaza. I figured it was time to take a break from the fun but occasionally shallow world of fandom.

Dogeaters has had several showings in the US over the past 10 years but never in the subject country- the Philippines! So Atlantis Productions finally brought the play to Philippine shores and it opened for a limited run last November 16th.

I expected it to be a heavy drama since the book's background is the tumultuous time of the Marcoses leading to the 1985 Edsa Revolution. What I did not expect though is that oftentimes I would be dying of laughter.
Why laugh so hard when the play's subject matter is very serious? Several things but first and foremost is the story-telling of an era that I can so relate to - the 80's, 1982 to be exact.

I graduated from high school in 1982 and the background of the dramatic sketches brought me back to the past big time. The fashion, the music, the products that I remember using/consuming and the technology of the times or lack of. The play's director Bobby Garcia, would lead us to a depth of emotion with the tragic stories of characters like Daisy Avila, Senator Avila's daughter who fell in love with a member of the New People's Army, considered insurgents by the Philippine government. Also of Joey, the often drugged DJ/manwhore who witnessed the assasination of Sen. Avila and Trining, the girl from the province who saw her lover slain for being a suspected but unsuspecting assasin.

Whenever, we are all about to cry or wallow in depression, the era made us all remember life back then and the play would make us all laugh. Laugh at how we remember the days of Studio 54 (the replica of New York's..), the people watching at the Jeepney Bar in Intercon (which by the way is still there but not as illustrious as it was in the 80's) and how the movies including the "bomba" movies would serve as our only form of entertainment.

I remembered myself, my family and how we coped with life back then. And though our life was not as tragic and megalomaniac as the characters in the play, we were all survivors of an era when the country was awakened from its stupor. That we were all part of the montage that was the political turmoil. It made me remember why I love this country and why I am still here despite all the rage of migrating and going overseas.

The Filipinos are not just "dogeaters" to the western world, we are a people that are maturing in our belief, battling through the confusion that was brought to us by our colonizers and so-called friends from the west. We are a forgiving nation sometimes to a fault. And we are passionate about love - kahit na mali ang mahal natin.

Catch Dogeaters. It will run until December 1. You can buy tickets online at Ticketworld (

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