PETA’s Under My Skin, the anthology drama on HIV written by Rody Vera, is now streaming online.
In commemoration of World AIDS Day on December 1, PETA, together with advocacy organizations LoveYourself PH and The Red Whistle, and major co-presenters UNILAB, Inc., and Pilipinas Shell Foundation, Inc., revamps Rody Vera’s play, directed by Melvin Lee, from stage to the screen.
Under My Skin was PETA’s last live performance at the PETA Theater Center before the lockdown in 2020 – just two weeks shy of the show’s closing. The play is inspired by real people and events, and depicts the realities, triumphs, and struggles of people living with HIV, while navigating an important conversation about acceptance and tolerance.
The show introduces us to a number of characters – Jonathan, Greg, Syd, and Mario whose relationships are tested when Jonathan gets infected; Dino, an HIV-positive teen whose status is discovered through a contraction of tuberculosis; Mary Rose, a mother who unknowingly passed down the virus to her son after getting it from her husband; a gay beauty parlor employee experiencing work-related discrimination, and more. Their stories of love, pain, and acceptance are revealed through Dr. Almonte, who is studying the spread of the devastating virus.
PETA Executive Director Beng Santos-Cabangon says that Under My Skin hopes to yet again provide a space where various HIV-advocacy groups can unite and strengthen their cause, with art and theater at the centerpiece. “We believe that Under My Skin Online can continue to serve as a platform for probing conversations and reflections as well as bringing attention to and engaging the public on the issue of HIV and AIDS. Converting the production into the film medium would allow for more people to see it – and bring to the spotlight the advocacy,” says Santos-Cabangon.
“Amidst the COVID- 19 pandemic, we should be relentless in our efforts to address the problem of access to HIV prevention, testing and treatment. It is our hope that this endeavor will contribute in generating greater public awareness and concern, building a caring community and somehow helping eradicate stigma and discrimination,” she adds.
WATCH: ‘Under My Skin’ Play Stream releases Trailer
Now is also the time to generate urgent conversations about HIV and AIDS – especially since there has been a “21% increase in new infection brought about by the decrease in HIV prevention coverage and increase in treatment gap,” according to the 2021 data of the Department of Health. LoveYourself founder and executive director Ronivin Pagtakhan says that as the pandemic continues to evolve, we continue to adapt in the name of the HIV advocacy. “LoveYourself has allocated resources to shift our services online including refill for treatment medicines with XPress, self-screening with SelfCare, and setting up regular appointments for health check up with Booking as we contribute to ensuring equitable access of HIV-related services for key populations in the country,” says Ronivin. “We are glad to partner once again with the wonderful people at PETA to make Under My Skin accessible online for greater awareness as this initiative amplifies our advocacy’s voice towards ending the HIV epidemic.”
The Red Whistle also continues to respond to the HIV epidemic by addressing the need for a change in mindset. “Theater has the ability to move people to understand the issue more. We need to shift perspectives around HIV-related stigma and change attitudes towards our sexual health,” says The Red Whistle Executive Director Benedict Bernabe.
“If we want to change people’s minds, we need to tug on their heartstrings first. This is why the arts is an important and necessary component—especially during this pandemic—not just for awareness and education, but also for behavior change in the HIV advocacy.”
The online streaming cast features Cherry Pie Picache, Eko Baquial, Gio Gahol, Mike Liwag, Jarred Jaicten, Kitsi Pagaspas, Dylan Ray Talon, Dudz Teraña, She Maala, Bene Manaois, Erold Enriquez, Jason Barcial, Joseph Madriaga, Rach Gimpes, Reggie Ondevilla, Roy Dahildahil, Gerard Dy, and Ekis Gimenez.
For tickets to today’s (November 28) stream, you can send us a message on Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter or buy from Ticket2Me.net. Video on Demand tickets are P250, and Livestream tickets are P180. It is available to view worldwide and is accompanied with English subtitles. The show will be streaming until December 5.