The beginnings of love always feel like the first time.
In the middle of a lovely park, one beautiful day, a man and a woman meet. It’s a boy-meets-girl kind of thing. She’s sitting on a bench, crocheting, and he is enamoured by her. So much so that he sits next, lavishing her in prose and poetry that no millennial has ever experienced from a paramour.
It’s an old-fashioned courting yet it bears the distinct youth and naughtiness of first love. He is forward, she is coy, and they are charming.
In 40 minutes, they get to know each other over late husbands and major operations, but the bliss and newness of a budding love story is always there. It’s a quick show: quick-witted, quickly done, and quickly paced, and this swiftness is not lost on our characters. They don’t have all day, they’re in their seventies after all.
They found each other so late in life, and the realization feels like a pinch to any viewer. The ending, however, is a straight-up punch to the gut.
The depth and implications don’t hit you until much later. It’s only after the dusts have settled that the tragedy reveals itself amidst the laugh-out-loud comedy. “Empathy,” director Roeder Camanag says, when asked what he hopes young viewers will take away from the story. It’s all we can give, really. Empathy for those who may not have as much time as us. They, too, long for the connections we long for.
Quaint as the rest of the show, the set and the venue were perfect for this sweet little love story. It’s like people-watching from the next bench over. There’s an intimacy present that contributes to the show’s emotional impact. You’re so close to the stage, it’s like you’re watching your own grandparents interact.
Written by Amelia Lapena-Bonifacio and delivered beautifully by the leads, “Tag-Ani” is in a Filipino that’s growing more foreign to young ears by the generation. It’s the words our classics were written in, our kundimans were composed of. More than the plot and the subject matter, viewers are treated to the lyrical beauty of Filipino as it was meant to be said and used.
“Tag-Ani” says so much, for a play so short. Ermie Concepcion and Ces Aldaba performed with such heart and humor+ that you’re left wanting more– more of their hilarity, chemistry, and for lack of a better word, adorableness. You’re going to laugh, and you might even cry. But what you can’t do, is miss this lovely show. -NF
TAG-ANI DIRECTED by Roeder Camanag; WRITTEN by Amelia Lapena-Bonifacio; STARRING Ermie Concepcion and Ces Aldaba. Running on September 5 – 6 at The Little Room Upstairs, Landsdale Tower, Q.C.
Have you seen the show? What did you think?