An old Spanish proverb once said that "The busy man is troubled with but one devil, and the idle man by a thousand devils." However, in the case of PETA’s comedy musical on the Philippine Elections titled Si Juan Tamad, ang Diyablo at ang Limang Milyong Boto, the ’Diyablo’ portrayed by Robert Seña is essentially one character split into many archetypes of the society. The Diyablo’s evil nature constantly challenges and pesters the idle Juan (Juan Tamad) and diverts his attention away from participating in the Filimini elections.
The Diyablo character was actually derived and inspired from the 18th century theatrical genre of Vaudeville. According to Seña, The Diyablo was supposedly portrayed to be a form of "Master Showman" in the play as he is the one in-charge with the flow of the story, direction of the cast, enticement of the audience to pay attention and at the same time, acts like a talk-show host. Given that kind of role, plus being a lead character in the story, Seña knew the difficulties of handling the character. He knew that the costume changes would be difficult because of the multiple roles the Diyablo must fulfill because at anytime the Diyablo "can go into the story itself and imitate a character, much like a hunyango [chameleon]", as he puts it.
"There should be even a careful delivery of lines. There are so many spoken lines of the Diyablo character that cannot be missed because they are informative," he said.
Despite the Diyablo’s complex array of roles, Seña’s take on the Diyablo veered away from being grandiose and complex. "That’s just how I interpret it," he said in an assured tone. "That’s my art. As an actor I have to use my artistry in order to fulfill the role. I have to do it."
Aside from the elementally evil archetype the Diyablo already portrays, Seña wanted to show the audience that humanity always has the darker side of things wherein he sees the bitter realities of life. That’s where the Diyablo of Seña comes in.
He explained: "The Diyablo can be beautiful, can tell you a lot of good things, can be attractive, all of his temptations are really desirable, otherwise you wouldn’t really be tempted by it, and not all desirable things are right."
But in the end, regardless of whether the Diyablo tempts us or not, Seña still believes that social change begins with the people, rather than with the elected leaders. "It’s a matter of choice." he said. I’ve always thought that we haven’t really gone yet to the Renaissance period. It needs a bulaga [wake-up call] for the Pinoys to change and choose the right leader for the job."
Si Juan Tamad, ang Diyablo at ang Limang Milyong Boto is being staged until March 14, 2010 at the PETA Theater Center, every Friday, Saturday and Sunday 10:00am and 3:00pm. For more information, call the PETA Marketing and Public Relations Office at Tel. Nos. 7256244 / 4071418 / 4100821 / 0917-8044428, or email firstname.lastname@example.org
Address: PETA Theater Center, No. 5 Eymard Drive, Brgy. Kristong Hari, New Manila, Quezon City
Robert Seña portrays the Diyablo in PETA’s comedy musical
by Philip Adrian Fernandez posted on March 9, 2010