TFM Review: Peratedes by Nikki Francisco
Loosely based on Federico Garcia Lorca’s play, The House of Bernarda Alba, Victorio Concepcion’s Peradetes follows its source material more in theme than plot. Lorca’s play is about women, after all. This adaptation, in contrast, pulls men at the forefront.
Alfredo, the golden boy of the Peradetes family, died. We see a family in grief, torn apart by the personal and intimate horror brought upon Filipinos during the Marcos era. Their tragedy is aggravated by their stark belief that their youngest son died by the hands of the eldest.
More than the radicalized and estranged son, we discover the dark goings-on behind the seemingly typical upper middle class Filipino family of the time. Theirs is a restrictive, patriarchal household where the father is violent and terroristic and the mother is too caught up with appearances to see what’s really happening in her own house.
We see shadows of Lorca’s play in the traditional, restrictive, and patriarchal depiction of the Peratedes family. The daughters have no agency. Their job is to bow their heads and follow their parents. Female oppression (a central theme in Alba) takes a back seat to pave way for more sinister twists and secrets.
Neil Tolentino is superb as Balthazar, the head of the Peratedes family. His portrayal creates such tension on stage that you’re left at the edge of your seat. Character actress Mosang, shows her dramatic prowess, too, playing Dolores. It’s their performances that really made the show.
It’s a compelling drama, albeit the soap operatic turn and the chaotic final act. The cast shone best when they were simply allowed to perform opposite each other, and without the theatrical elements that served little purpose than to take up space. Still, Third Person Collective accomplished an entertaining theater experience in their debut offering.