‘Pilipinas Kong Mahal with All the Overcoat’ Book of Plays to Be Launched
Pilipinas Kong Mahal with All the Overcoat, a collection of four one-acts and a full-length play by Eljay Castro Deldoc, will be launched on Sunday, August 7, in Lipa, Batangas.
The launch event will take place at 2 PM at The Outlets and will also include a talk by Deldoc himself entitled “Kung Hindi Tayo Magsusulat ng Dula sa Panahon ng Pagkainip at Paglimot, Salamat na Lang sa Lahat!” and a talk by Marco Viaña entitled “Paano Ba Kukulayan ang mga Titik sa Higanteng Haligi ni Eljay Castro Deldoc?”
The five plays in the anthology explore the themes of digital misinformation and historical revisionism, environmental and cultural degradation, queer narratives, and farcical criticisms on health and education. Three of these plays were previously featured in the The Virgin Labfest.
The book is published by Isang Balangay Media Productions (Balangay Books), a company that seeks to empower local and grassroots literature and readership, publishing literary books mainly for Filipino writers’ immediate communities or the localities they live in. The company hopes to inspire communities to value literary works produced by their own writers and to encourage the production of books within these communities by conducting workshops that build-up confidence in publishing books as a communal effort.
The website for Pilipinas Kong Mahal with All the Overcoat also serves as an online depository of all materials available about the plays included in the book including links to previous production videos, photos, and articles about the plays. These resources have also been made available to encourage groups to stage their own productions of the plays. The website will be updated every time a play is restaged.
Here are the synopses of the five plays in the anthology:
Pilipinas Kong Mahal with All the Overcoat
The play follows Ambet and Nato who run a viral satirical news website. They are at odds over their success at writing “fake news.” But things get even more complicated when a client demands that they rewrite a crucial part of Philippine history, making them even more complicit in the spread of “fake news” and historical revisionism. They are forced to face the consequences of these choices and the adverse effects they have made on their readers. The play was originally staged during The Virgin Labfest 13 and then as a revisited performance at The Virgin Labfest 14 at the Tanghalang Huseng Batute of the Cultural Center of the Philippines.
Ang Higanteng Haligi ng Hilaga
Ang Higanteng Haligi sa Hilaga is an interactive play-turned-film by Eljay Castro Deldoc. It follows the story of Mameng, a teenage forest dweller in Sierra Madre, and Jade, a city yuppie as they try to save an old Kamagong tree against various forces that try to cut it down. The film was put online last year and is available HERE.
Owel is an intriguing exploration of complex themes such as loss and heartbreak, gender discussions, and personal strife all set in an infimary in the metropolis. The play is black comedy featuring two ex-lovers trying to find closure while surrounded by stool samples and urine examinations. The play was originally staged during The Virgin Labfest 9 in 2013 at the Tanghalang Huseng Batute of the Cultural Center of the Philippines. It was nominated at the 26th Aliw Awards for Best Non-musical Play and Best Director for a Non-Musical Play.
Ang Goldfish ni Prof. Dimaandal
This one-act play was first staged at the 2014 Virgin Labfest Festival (VLF). It was then chosen as part of the Revisited set in 2015. A virtual reading of the piece was streamed for the Open House fundraiser in 2020.
The story follows Prof. Dimaandal (a.k.a Ma’am D), a retiring cranky Science teacher, who demands justice for her beloved goldfish. Allegedly murdered by three students, her pet becomes the center of chaos inside the Principal’s office as concerned parents, who turn out to be alumni of the school and former sweethearts at that, obliquely resolve their open-ended past; while faculty members struggle to grasp the logic of seeking justice for a dead fish.
Based on real events, Ang Goldfish ni Prof. Dimaandal portrays how absurdity can effortlessly prevail in places where things are expected to be normal, even in the academe. Because after all, does anything even make sense?
Kasaray Duma: Mga Supling ng Sigwa
The play revolves around the struggle of the Kasaray Duma tribe of Sapang Kawayan island as they are being forced by the government to leave their ancestral land so the mayor could turn it into a sanitary landfill. Even more alarming is the division this has caused within the community. The tribal chieftain, Labang Biwas sides with the government with its promise of a relocation site and financial subsistence, while Pinak, one of the tribe’s elders, strongly opposes it because he believes that they are the rightful steward of the land. In the middle of such dispute, Pakawakaw, the forgotten priestess of the tribe, prays tirelessly for her most awaited coming of a storm. Amidst the threat from a coercive government and a possible disunion amongst themselves, will the Kasaray Duma still find within them their innate knowledge and power as the descendants of the storm?
The play was staged by the Tabsing Kolektib in 2016.
Pilipinas Kong Mahal with All the Overcoat at iba pang mga dula is now available on Lazada.