Rody Vera, a brilliant playwright, well-loved writer and artist, lends a spectacular yet intriguing take on the issue of children and the war through his latest opus, PETA's Ismail at Isabel.
This play staged by the Philippine Educational Theater Association revolves around two characters, Ismail and Isabel, a Muslim and a Christian child. They used to live in a village called Dilangawen, an atypical place in Mindanao where Muslims and Christians once settled peacefully until it collapsed due to the pressures of violence and war. Mirroring similar events facing the country today, the play also exposes plight of children and the ill effects of war towards them, their families and their environment.
Although coined as a children's play, Vera's narrative is thought-provoking and critical. In his playwright's note, Vera stresses the need for children of more fortunate backgrounds to understand what is happening to children like them, who in their everyday life struggles face the realities of danger, fear and death.
Vera also injects several folktales into the narrative (The Story of Pilandok, Creation Myths, among others) that involve mythical creatures and magical transformations that add color and mystique in the rather biting realities told by the play.
Although it comes with a strong message, Ismail at Isabel promises to be an uplifting and celebratory story about the transformative power of hope.
Rody Vera has been known for his collection of notable plays that have earned merits from various award-giving bodies: Kung Paano Ko Pinatay si Diana Ross (2nd Prize, Carlos Palanca Memorial Awards), Ang Paglalakbay ni Radiya Mangandiri-Isang Pilipinong Ramayana, Balangiga (2nd Prize, Carlos Palanca Memorial Awards), Luna: Isang Romansang Aswang (First Prize, Carlos Palanca Memorial Awards), and Dreamweavers (Second Prize, Carlos Palanca Memorial Awards).
He has also written a few plays that were performed by PINTIG cultural group, a Fil-American theater group based in Chicago: Sky Legends (3rd Prize, Palanca Memorial Awards), and a musical, The Bells of Balangiga. Senyor Paciano is his first film script also won Second Prize in the National Centennial Literary Awards in 1998.
Ismail at Isabel is being staged at the PETA Theater Center until October 4, 2009, every Friday, Saturday and Sunday (10 am and 3 pm). Tickets are priced at P300 each.
Address: PETA Theater Center, No. 5 Sunny Side Drive, Bgy. Kristong Hari, Quezon City
For inquiries or ticket reservations, contact 410-0821, 725-6244, 0917-8044428 or email@example.com