Gantimpala Theater closes its 31st Season with A Life in the Slums, written by Rolando S. Tinio, National Artist for Theater. This play was awarded first prize in the English division of the 1975 Don Carlos Palanca Memorial Awards. The announcement came from Tony Espejo, artistic director, who also directs the play.
A Life in the Slums is a comedy of manners with musical numbers that presents the intertwining lives of Henny, a truck diver; the wonder twins Millie; the neighbor Salud, a resident hunk and Roger, every body's lover.
One afternoon, Millie (Kimberly Diaz) gets a surprise visit from her sister Annie (Monica Llamas), in the squatters' area where she resides. The two share pleasantries and discuss the many happenings in their respective lives.
Millie reveals the wonders of being part of the "real world," in the slums, with her truck driver husband Henny (alternately portrayed by Xeno Alejandro and Francis Cruz III), and children. For Millie, despite the squalor, stench, confusion, fistfights, rumormongers, and the people's search for their daily existence, being in the slums is her version of "heaven on earth."
Annie, on the other hand, laments the sorry state of her affluence. She feels "filthy" because of the many transgressions of the people surrounding her--their mother's accidental death due to gluttony, their father's extra-marital affairs, her marriage on the rocks with Roger (Jojo Riguerra) who happens to be Millie's former lover and her incapacity to become a mother.
In the end, the two sisters agree to reverse their roles, both hoping that they will discover true happiness in their newly acquired neighborhood and personas.
Espejo says, "I am directing the play as a theatre of the absurd production because obviously, National Artist Rolando Tinio wrote it so that it can be performed as such. It is very funny; biting at some points, and will definitely open the eyes of people on the ridiculousness and hypocrisy of the rich and their ambivalent attitude towards the poor. One day they embrace them, the next day, they loathe them."
A Life in the Slums is the fifth season of Gantimpala Theater's National Artist Production Series. Yearly, the company stage plays written by national artists for theater and literature to give its audiences the opportunity to appreciate and understand the artistic contributions made by these masters of the dramatic and literary arts.
Helping Espejo create the impoverished world of Millie and Annie are Andy Villareal (lights designer); Marianne Sedotes (set designer); Albert Figueras (costume designer); Joey de Guzman (musical composer); Jorge Cabullo (production manager) and Michael King Urieta (stage manager).
A Life in the Slums is fully supported by the National Parks Development Committee.
Performances are on December 5-6, (10 am/2 pm), at the AFP Theater, in Quezon City, December 12-14, (10 am/2 pm) SM South mall in Las Piñas City.
Shows will resume next year with play dates on January 23-25, (10 am/2pm) at the AFP Theater, and February 6-7, at the SM South mall in Las Piñas City.
For information, tickets, and booking information, please call the Gantimpala Theater Marketing Office at 899-5745/896-3503 or 474-5198 or write to email@example.com
Gantimpala Theater stages "A Life in the Slums"
by Alwin Ignacio posted on November 27, 2008