An illegitimate daughter, a death-row convict, and an ignorant young boy are all unwittingly part of a struggle for power in the halls of Malacañang. In this fanciful re-imagining of modern-day Philippines, the Magwayen Creative Scholars' Guild of the Pamantasan ng Lungsod ng Maynila makes a firm stand against the death penalty. The group's play Eks (X) will be staged in Intramuros until tomorrow, September 22.
Magwayen founder Marlon Miguel tells PEP (Philippine Entertainment Portal) about the creative process behind Eks (X). The Engineering graduate of PLM bagged the grand prize for the Film Academy of the Philippines Screenwriting Competition in 2005 for his screenplay Sapi. His screenplay Kolono won second prize to the Don Carlos Palanca Literary Awards earlier this year.
Marlon wrote most of the guild's stageplays—Hawla (1998 and 2007), Bidasari (1999 and 2000), Senorita Pretenciosa (2001 and 2004), Walang Umaga sa Casa Ligaya (2002), Trajedia La Vida (2003), 19sUmtHnG (2004), Ang Prinsipe ng Marulaya (2005) and Indrapura (2006).
Aside from writing for PLM, he is employed as a brainstormer for GMA-7's ETV Drama group.
PEP: What was your inspiration for Eks (X)?
Marlon Miguel: Eks (X) is very experimental. Not only because it's an anthology of ten short plays, but because of the unique structure of its narrative. The plays, although they each can stand alone, are connected with each other. But they are not presented in chronological order. Stories take you back and forth in time. Most of the inspiration came from contemporary indie films.
Why did you decide to make a ten-part production instead of a full-length play?
Eks (X) is part of a line-up of projects that the Guild is undertaking as we count down the days to our 10th Anniversary on August 2008. Hence, ten plays and ten directors. The plays can each stand on its own, but they are related to each other.
How long did you rehearse for Eks (X)?
The script took about two weeks to write. The rehearsals went on for about a month.
Can you share an anecdote or two about preparing for Eks (X)?
The original concept for Eks (X) was to have ten plays of ten different genres: horror, musical, romance, action, suspense, fantasy, drama, comedy, silent (subtitled), and epic. I started writing the first three scripts. But finding a common thread among these plays was really difficult, so the guild decided to go back on the storyboard.
How did you choose the directors for each segment?
The ten directors are alumni members who directed a play or two when they were still students in PLM. It's a coming home experience for most of them.
What is the common thread among the ten segments? Are they connected to each other?
There are several characters appearing in more than one play. Some characters, you only get to meet once. The common thread is the way a sliver of realism, of life, is presented while discussing socially relevant issues. Politics is a recurring ingredient in most plays. You will sympathize with some of the major players, and you will hate some.
The 10 directors at the helm of this project are:
MICHAEL LOUIS FLORORITA is the 4th President of Magwayen Creative Scholars' Guild. He represented Magwayen in the President's Committee on Culture and Arts during his term. Michael is now working at an Events Agency under the Department of Trade and Industry and still continues to be Magwayen's acting coach.
He directed "Tisoy" in X.
JOAN JELICA LOPEZ-FLORES is a 24-year-old poet, musician, graphic artist and an aspiring filmmaker. Her short film Respite won a special award in Gawad CCP Para Sa Alternatibong Pelikula at Bidyo in 2004. Sibuyas, another short film she made, and her documentary Asyenda were finalists to the Catholic Mass Media Awards 2005. She wrote and composed all the songs in the comedy-musical Saan Nagtatago Si Happiness?, finalist to the 2nd Cinemalaya Indie Film Fest. She also worked for ABS-CBN Concept Development Group in 2005. Joan is currently employed in Global Sources as Copy Editor for Hardware&DIY.
She directed "Clemency" with Renneth Moldes.
RENNETH MOLDES is the former VP for Literary and Production of Magwayen from 2000-2002. She was the Technical Director of the guild's concerts from 1999 to 2002. She helped wrote the controversial stageplay on homosexuality, Tatlong Mukha (2006). She is now working at an Events Agency under the Department of Trade and Industry.
She co-directed "Clemency" with Joan Jelica Lopez-Flores.
CARLO ANGELO YANESA has been the resident musical director for Magwayen stage productions and concerts. He directed 19sUmtHnG, Magwayen's musical romance offering in 2003. Carlo is currently working as musical coordinator, for ABS-CBN's Sunday variety show, ASAP '07, and part-time vocal coach for ABS-CBN artists.
He directed "Kape" in X.
REAL RANDOLPH JOSEPH FLORIDO is a 24-year old aspiring filmmaker. He was the guild's president in A.Y. 2003-2004. He co-wrote Saan Nagtatago si Happiness?, finalist to the 2nd Cinemalaya Independent Film Festival in 2006. His short film Parang Sirang Plaka was a finalist to the 9th Cinemanila International Film Festival (Young Cinema Night). He also worked as an Assistant Director for ICU Bed # 7, finalist of the Cinemalaya Independent Film Festival in 2005.
He directed "Smoltaym."
VIDAL CONDICION is a graduate of Bachelor in Mass Communication. He is a scholar of the CENTER FOR ARTS INC. (CAFI) where he showcased his singing and acting prowess in an array of musicale performances held in Music Museum. He also played one of the major characters in Magwayen's Walang Umaga sa Casa Ligaya.
He directed "X."
VANESSA ANN SINGH is a former VP for Performing Arts of Magwayen Creative Scholars' Guild. She has experience in professional theater, being part of Nick Joaquin's Portrait of the Artist as Filipino. Vanessa also took part in the guild's 1st musical Bidasari in 1999 and 2000. She is now performing around Asia as the lead vocalist of Fast Track Band. She is a proud mom to TJ.
She directed "Byaning."
JOHN BORGY DANAO started in Magwayen at the age of 15. He organized parties in the club scene and worked with local and international DJs like DJ Manolet Dario, RUPAUL, White Party Armsterdam and Salvation London DJs, Air Dance, Ragin Divas, and May Bayot. His independent animation film was given honorable mention by GAWAD CCP in 2003. He is currently a part of the creative brainstorming group of GMA-7's Zaido.
He directed "Ama Namin."
FRANCO MONTICOD is a former vice-president of Magwayen (2003-2004) and a graduate of Bachelor in Mass Communication. He is a freelance assistant director for music videos, TVCs, films and TV productions. His filmography include Mulawin the Movie, Eternity, La Visa Loca, ICU BED #7 (Cinemalaya 2005 entry) and Saan Nagtatago si Happiness? (Cinemalaya 2006 entry), ABS-CBN's Maalaala Mo Kaya, Sa Piling Mo, Maria Flor de Luna and Ysabella. He is now working as a brainstormer of GMA-7's teleserye Impostora and Kamandag.
He directed "Kompro."
BYRON JOSEPH BARINUEVO is a former President of Magwayen (2006-2007). He directed Ang Prinsipe ng Marulaya in 2005. He also bagged major roles for stage plays Indrapura (2006), 3 Mukha (2006), Ang Prinsipe ng Marulayta (2005), 19Sumthing (2004), Trahedya La Vida (2003), and Walang Umaga sa Casa Ligaya (2002). He is currently working as a project coordinator for Mowelfund Film Institute.
He directed "Huling Dalaw."
SHENGKA MANGAHAS worked as a writer and segment producer for MGM Advertising. She also worked as Events Production and Marketing Manager for Circuit Asia Events. She directed Magwayen's 1st stage play, Hawla, and the two stagings of Bidasari. She is currently an English Teacher for IECC, a student in Every Nation Leadership Institute and a self-proclaimed soldier of God.
She directed "Alas-tres."
PEP (Philippine Entertainment Portal) is the official media partner of Magwayen Creative Scholars' Guild.