‘Kumprontasyon’: 3 One-Act Plays About Our Unresolved History to Run this January
Kumprontasyon, a production that consists of three one-act plays that confront our historical past, will be running from January 18-21, 2024 at the PETA Theater Center. The show first ran as a thesis production by Melvin Lee, the production’s director, last September 2023 in the same venue.
“Our country is still journeying towards the full actualization of its optimum potential, towards the possible return to greatness as a nation. But before it achieves its ideal state it has to deal with its unresolved history; the ghosts of the past that continue to haunt our communal psyche,” says Lee. “As an artist, I humbly offer this production as a concrete contribution in confronting our past. Allow these plays to be the conduit to further advance the role of this kind of theater: incite conversations and use the genre as an avenue to mainstream current social concerns like questioning the status quo and to help further enhance the critical minds of its audiences.”
The first play is Lakambini by Allan Palileo, featuring performances by Sherry Lara and Teroy Guzman.
Noong 1931, sa pista ng paggunita ng deklarasyon ng Kongreso de Malolos, pinasinayaan ang Rebulto ng Republika Pilipina sa Malolos, Bulakan. Dito magkasamang hinawi ang tabing ng rebulto nina Emilio Aguinaldo, ang unang pangulo ng Republika, at ni Gregoria de Jesus-Nacpil vda. De Bonifacio, ang Lakhan Bini ng Katipunan. Muling nagkita sina Miong at Oryang matapos ang tatlumpu’t tatlong taon matapos pinapatay ni Aguinaldo ang Supremo ng Katipunan na si Andres Bonifacio. Dito sa tahanan ng Diyos, sila’y magtatalo, mag-aaway at magtutuos. Halaw ito sa mga tunay na pangyayari.
Lee shares, “The play Lakambini was chosen to help deal with an unresolved historical event, the death of Andres Bonifacio. Through this imagined confrontation between Gregoria de Jesus and Emilio Aguinaldo, we may have a sense of resolution, at least in our psyche. Though fictional, we are able to demand accountability. For a real democracy to work, an institutionalized mechanism should be in place for accountability to foster.”
The second play is The Impossible Dream by Guelan Luarca, featuring performances by Romnick Sarmenta and Ron Capinding.
If that president and that senator, mythical political rivals (…come on, you know who…), had met behind closed doors to talk about the fate of this country — as they were rumored to have done when that senator was in prison — what could they have said to each other? This historical fantasy aims to answer this what-if, not so much with a reconstruction of the past but a reflection on our present. How can a people whose political imagination is perpetually torn between these two giant personalities ever grow and be truly free?
Lee says, “In the second play, The Impossible Dream looks into the psyche of two highly influential leaders that our country has ever produced. Through this process of interrogation and dissection, we inevitably get to reflect on the kind of leaders we have elected — relied on and rooted for — a mirror to the kind of civilians, voters, and citizens we have become.”
The third play is A Color for Tomorrow by Joshua Lim So, featuring performances by Missy Maramara, Adrienne Vergara, Gillian Vicencio, Eric Dela Cruz, and Carlon Matobato.
In the future, a product can create augmented realities1 of your younger self that you can interact with, intended to provide nostalgia therapy2. A former advertising bigwig is testing this technology against the backdrop of an imminent presidential elections. She then engages with her 24 year old self, a young Gen-Z copywriter, and a volunteer for the 2022 Philippine elections. After which, she encounters herself at other ages, when she has a more brutal way of seeing the world.
For this last play, Lee shares, “In A Color for Tomorrow the character of Woman at 60 living in the future is a representation of the journey of a regular civilian who needs to find her inner core, find her purpose beyond serving her personal interest, and search for her reason for being again. We, as civilians, need help in navigating this complex, evolving world.”
Joining Lee in the creative team are Eric dela Cruz (dramaturg), Carlo Villafuerte Pagunaling (production designer), Sagę Ilagan (sound designer), JD Santiago (video designer), David Esguerra (lighting designer), Jomelle Era (choreographer), and Jana Jimenez (poster designer).
This Kumprontasyon revival is part of PETA Theater Center’s Changing Narratives Festival, which aims to reclaim and reshape stories of the Filipino people. It will run on January 18 (10am), 19 (10am), 20 (3pm and 8pm) and 21 (3pm), 2024 at the PETA Theater Center. You can get tickets through Ticket2Me.