Much Ado About ‘Angela’
It’s the not-so-distant future. Two characters are in a derelict shack. There is chaos outside, but our characters seem unperturbed by the sounds. The man, “Pa”, cooks while the woman, “Ma”, puts on make-up. They speak blissfully about growing older and the happier days they’ve had. There is a knock on the door. Enter a wounded and traumatized Fred (Vincent Kevin Pajara). Together, the three of them will spiral down into a rabbit hole of their own making.
In this piece, Angelina Kanapi plays “Ma” with a mastery and temperance despite her manic character. Roeder Camanag, for his part, is an imposing “Pa”, giving the impression that he was somehow in control. It’s their respective performances that make the play tense, giving every scene an air of unpredictability. Their dynamic sometimes worked to the advantage of the ambiguous plot. Other times, it only highlighted the inexactness of the story.
The play gives hints on the state of the world outside the ramshackle. Chaos abound. There is no writ of habeas corpus. All education has been uploaded online. Most people live in isolation. There are rebel youths with something to fight for. Pa reveals a jealousy for these rebels with a cause. This world is interesting, yet there is never anything revealed about it more than throwaway lines of exposition. The story’s more promising questions take a step back as the focus falls solely on the convoluted mess between Ma, Pa, and Fred.
Then, there is talk of the eponymous Angela, whose introduction only paved way for even more uneven footing between the three characters. The entire thing is a question of reality—a play with 6 possible interpretations, according to director Banaue Miclat—yet it feels more confusing than unsettling. There is a fine line between ambiguous and incoherent. Tungkol Kay Angela teetered down that line like a tightrope.
TUNGKOL LAY ANGELA
DIRECTED BY Banaue Miclat; WRITTEN BY Joshua Lim So; STARRING Roeder Camanag, Angelina Kanapi, and Vincent Kevin Pajara. It has shows on February 12 and 13 at Tanghalang Huseng Batute in CCP as part of Fringe Manila.