An illegitimate daughter, a death-row convict, and an ignorantyoung boy are all unwittingly part of a struggle for power in the halls ofMalacañang. In this fanciful re-imagining of modern-day Philippines, theMagwayen 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 (PhilippineEntertainment Portal) about the creative process behind Eks (X). TheEngineering graduate of PLM bagged the grand prize for the Film Academy of thePhilippines Screenwriting Competition in 2005 for his screenplay Sapi.His screenplay Kolono won second prize to the Don Carlos PalancaLiterary Awards earlier this year.
Marlon wrote most of the guild's stageplays—Hawla(1998 and 2007), Bidasari (1999 and 2000), Senorita Pretenciosa (2001and 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 brainstormerfor 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'san anthology of ten short plays, but because of the unique structure of itsnarrative. The plays, although they each can stand alone, are connected witheach other. But they are not presented in chronological order. Stories take youback and forth in time. Most of the inspiration came from contemporary indiefilms.
Why did you decide tomake a ten-part production instead of a full-length play?
Eks (X) is part of a line-up of projects that theGuild is undertaking as we count down the days to our 10th Anniversary onAugust 2008. Hence, ten plays and ten directors. The plays can each stand on itsown, but they are related to each other.
How long did yourehearse for Eks (X)?
The script took about two weeks to write. The rehearsalswent on for about a month.
Can you share ananecdote or two about preparing for Eks (X)?
The original concept for Eks (X) was to have tenplays of ten different genres: horror, musical, romance, action, suspense,fantasy, drama, comedy, silent (subtitled), and epic. I started writing thefirst three scripts. But finding a common thread among these plays was reallydifficult, so the guild decided to go back on the storyboard.
How did you choose thedirectors for each segment?
The ten directors are alumni members who directed a play ortwo when they were still students in PLM. It's a coming home experience formost of them.
What is the commonthread among the ten segments? Are they connected to each other?
There are several characters appearing in more than oneplay. Some characters, you only get to meet once. The common thread is the waya sliver of realism, of life, is presented while discussing socially relevantissues. Politics is a recurring ingredient in most plays. You will sympathizewith some of the major players, and you will hate some.
The 10 directors at the helm of this project are:
MICHAEL LOUISFLORORITA is the 4th President of Magwayen Creative Scholars' Guild. Herepresented Magwayen in the President's Committee on Culture and Arts duringhis term. Michael is now working at an Events Agency under the Department ofTrade and Industry and still continues to be Magwayen's acting coach.
He directed "Tisoy" in X.
JOAN JELICALOPEZ-FLORES is a 24-year-old poet, musician, graphic artist and anaspiring filmmaker. Her short film Respite won a special award in GawadCCP Para Sa Alternatibong Pelikula at Bidyo in 2004. Sibuyas, anothershort film she made, and her documentary Asyenda were finalists to theCatholic Mass Media Awards 2005. She wrote and composed all the songs in thecomedy-musical Saan Nagtatago Si Happiness?, finalist to the 2ndCinemalaya Indie Film Fest. She also worked for ABS-CBN Concept DevelopmentGroup in 2005. Joan is currently employed in Global Sources as Copy Editor for Hardware&DIY.
She directed "Clemency" with Renneth Moldes.
RENNETH MOLDES isthe former VP for Literary and Production of Magwayen from 2000-2002. She wasthe Technical Director of the guild's concerts from 1999 to 2002. She helpedwrote the controversial stageplay on homosexuality, Tatlong Mukha (2006). She is now working at an Events Agencyunder the Department of Trade and Industry.
She co-directed "Clemency" with Joan Jelica Lopez-Flores.
CARLO ANGELO YANESA hasbeen 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 varietyshow, ASAP '07, and part-time vocalcoach for ABS-CBN artists.
He directed "Kape" in X.
REAL RANDOLPH JOSEPHFLORIDO is a 24-year old aspiring filmmaker. He was the guild's presidentin A.Y. 2003-2004. He co-wrote Saan Nagtatago si Happiness?, finalist tothe 2nd Cinemalaya Independent Film Festival in 2006. His short filmParang Sirang Plaka was a finalist to the 9th CinemanilaInternational 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 CONDICIONis a graduate of Bachelor in Mass Communication. He is a scholar of the CENTERFOR ARTS INC. (CAFI) where he showcased his singing and acting prowess in anarray of musicale performances held in Music Museum. He also played one of themajor characters in Magwayen's Walang Umaga sa Casa Ligaya.
He directed "X."
VANESSA ANN SINGH isa former VP for Performing Arts of Magwayen Creative Scholars' Guild. She hasexperience in professional theater, being part of Nick Joaquin's Portraitof the Artist as Filipino. Vanessa also took part in the guild's 1stmusical Bidasari in 1999 and 2000. She is now performing around Asia asthe lead vocalist of Fast Track Band. She is a proud mom to TJ.
She directed "Byaning."
JOHN BORGY DANAO startedin Magwayen at the age of 15. He organized parties in the club scene and workedwith local and international DJs like DJ Manolet Dario, RUPAUL, White PartyArmsterdam and Salvation London DJs, Air Dance, Ragin Divas, and May Bayot. Hisindependent animation film was given honorable mention by GAWAD CCP in 2003. Heis currently a part of the creative brainstorming group of GMA-7's Zaido.
He directed "Ama Namin."
FRANCO MONTICODis a former vice-president of Magwayen (2003-2004) and a graduate of Bachelor in Mass Communication. He is afreelance assistant director for music videos, TVCs, films and TV productions.His filmography include Mulawin the Movie, Eternity, La VisaLoca, ICU BED #7 (Cinemalaya 2005 entry) and Saan Nagtatago siHappiness? (Cinemalaya 2006 entry), ABS-CBN's Maalaala Mo Kaya, SaPiling Mo, Maria Flor de Luna and Ysabella. He is now workingas a brainstormer of GMA-7's teleserye Impostora and Kamandag.
He directed "Kompro."
BYRON JOSEPHBARINUEVO is a former President of Magwayen (2006-2007). He directed AngPrinsipe 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 workedas a writer and segment producer for MGM Advertising. She also worked as EventsProduction and Marketing Manager for Circuit Asia Events. She directedMagwayen's 1st stage play, Hawla, and the two stagings of Bidasari.She is currently an English Teacher for IECC, a student in Every NationLeadership 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.