The Inbox

Wounded

Cris Villonco and Noel Rayos lead the Walang Sugat cast

By Marilyn Mana-ay Robles,VERA Files

What biting wit!

Such is Walang Sugat, a sarswela written by the father of Tagalog sarswela, Severino Reyes, popularly known as Lola Basyang.   Walang Sugat was written in 1898 and first staged in 1902.  The play was considered subversive during the early years of American colonization.

The story line is very much relevant to this day.

A sarswela is a play which employs song, dance and poetry.   For many years, this genre was used by Filipinos to express their conflicts of the heart, political fervor and resentment towards a domineering foreign colonizer.  However, the advent of modern stage plays relegated sarswelas to the sidelines.   In the late '60s the sarswela Walang Sugat was revived and the writing of modern sarswelas was encouraged by the Zarzuela Foundation of the Philippines through a modern sarswela playwriting contest .

Walang Sugat is a love story woven within a love story.  It is the story about forbidden love, the love between a lovely and privileged lass Julia and a dashing young man from the proletariat named Tenyong. It is also the story of Tenyong's awakening towards his dormant love for his country which was then suffering from oppression by Spanish friars.  Tenyong sacrifices his love for Julia and joins the revolutionary force to topple the Spanish colonizers.  Believed to have died in battle Tenyong surprises everyone as he arrives at Julia's wedding, seriously wounded. He asks the officiating priest that he be wed with Julia as his dying wish.  All those present agreed and the priest proceeds to wed the sweethearts.  As soon as they were pronounced man and wife, Tenyong stands from the wooden sled where he was positioned, removes the bandages from his body while people gasped and cried out "Walang sugat!(Not wounded)".

Tenyong has outwitted everyone, including his love, Julia. The festivity continued. But such a happy scene soon changed when another flag, that of another colonizer, covered the landscape.  The Americans had arrived. The struggle continues.

The entire ensemble gathered on stage and sang with passion Bayan Ko, a song originally written as a poem to express opposition towards American occupation.  It was a dramatic and moving sight. Bayan Ko is considered, unofficially, the second national anthem of the Philippines.  It was first sung in 1928. It was used in Walang Sugat in the 1970 production directed by Daisy Avellana.

Cris Villonco as Julia and Noel Rayos as Tenyong are excellent stage actors. This is so because they are veterans in their own right.  They essayed their roles to the hilt. At the end of the play, their faces even transformed into poised and matured individuals reflecting the purity and beauty of the characters they played.

But it is the singing of Bayan Ko that pierces the heart and envelopes the soul.  Bayan Ko can and should rouse even the callous and apathetic.  As the song reverberated in a theater full of young students, a number coming from De La Salle Canlubang, some attendees, graduates of the First Quarter Storm could not help but recall the instance when they participated in demonstrations to denounce the abuse and exploitation of the country by a dictator.   One was seen raising a clenched fist. Deception continues. Some done by foreigners.  But often times by Filipinos themselves.  There seems to be no end to the pillage of Filipino ingenuity and resources.

Carlitos Siquion-ReynaCarlitos Siguion-Reyna deserves commendation for his excellent handling of a sensitive theme.  He established the conflicts, relationships and emotional beats of the characters clearly.  Even the play of lights was carefully executed.  The costumes were simple but telling of the Spanish era. The Actors' Company provided admirable support to the main cast.

A stage play ends only when the curtain is drawn. Otherwise, the scenes unfold one after the other, second after second; minute after minute. It is difficult to weave a love story within a love story especially when both stories involve the expression of intense emotion.  As his debut to the world of theater, Mr. Siguion-Reyna displayed sensitivity to even the slightest nuances of the story.

Walang Sugat opens Tanghalang Pilipino's 26th season under the theme "Truth and Consequence." Remaining performances  are on August 24, 25 and 26. On the 24 and 25th, there will be two shows; at 3:00 p.m. and 8 p.m.  On August 26, Sunday, the first show is at 10 a.m. The second at 3:00 p.m.

It is wise to rekindle lost patriotism once in a while.

(VERA Files is put out by veteran journalists taking a deeper look at current issues. Vera is Latin for "true.")

Loading...

Editor’s note:Yahoo Philippines encourages responsible comments that add dimension to the discussion. No bashing or hate speech, please. You can express your opinion without slamming others or making derogatory remarks.

  • Aquino: Philippines to fly usual routes over disputed reefs

    MANILA, Philippines (AP) — Philippine aircraft will continue to fly their usual routes over disputed reefs in the South China Sea, the country's president said Monday, defying China's challenges to its planes and those of the United States. …

  • Philippines to fly over disputed South China Sea: Aquino
    Philippines to fly over disputed South China Sea: Aquino

    Philippine military and commercial aircraft will keep flying over disputed areas in the South China Sea despite Chinese warnings over the airspace, President Benigno Aquino said on Monday. "We will still fly the routes that we fly based on the international law from the various conventions we entered into," Aquino told reporters when asked whether the Philippines accepted China's position. The Chinese military last week ordered a US Navy P-8 Poseidon surveillance plane away from airspace …

  • Mitsubishi reaches out to far-flung Batad community
    Mitsubishi reaches out to far-flung Batad community

    A “Dadbod” is a newly coined term now trending in media. It was introduced to the world by Clemson University sophomore Mackenzie Pearson as she refers to any man—father or bachelor—with a physique that’s a “nice balance between a beer gut and working out.” “It’s more human, natural, and attractive,” she adds. For this writer, […] The post Mitsubishi reaches out to far-flung Batad community appeared first on Carmudi Philippines. …

  • A weekend of premium cars
    A weekend of premium cars

    Good news to all luxury car fanatics as PGA Cars, the exclusive importer and distributor of Audi, Porsche, Lamborghini and Bentley cars in the country, will be holding the PGA Cars Premium Festival from May 29 to May 31 at the PGA Center in Global City in Taguig. The 3-day event will showcase PGA’s latest […] The post A weekend of premium cars appeared first on Carmudi Philippines. …

  • APEC ministers to endorse Boracay Action Agenda
    APEC ministers to endorse Boracay Action Agenda

    Trade ministers at the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) meeting in Boracay, Aklan agreed yesterday to endorse the proposed Boracay Action Agenda to the member countries’ leaders, presenting opportunities for global trade for micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs). In a press conference following the conclusion of the APEC Ministers Responsible for Trade Meeting, Trade Secretary Gregory Domingo, who also served as chairman, said ministers agreed to recommend the adoption of the …

  • Talks with China over sea row urged
    Talks with China over sea row urged

    The Philippines should engage China in bilateral talks in its efforts to maintain peace and order at the disputed West Philippine Sea, Sen. Francis Escudero said yesterday. Escudero supports the government’s move to bring the issue before international arbitration but also stressed the need for the Philippines to pursue talks with China. Escudero made the statement after UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon on Friday called for a peaceful solution to territorial disputes in the South China Sea. …

  • House panel tackles bill on regular disaster drills
    House panel tackles bill on regular disaster drills

    The House committee on national defense is deliberating on a measure mandating the regular conduct of disaster risk reduction drills in educational institutions nationwide. Authored by Camarines Sur Rep. Rolando Andaya Jr., the bill mandates that risk reduction drills be held annually in all educational institutions throughout the country in coordination with the schools’ respective local government units. “The Philippines’ location along the Pacific Ring of Fire and close to the equator …

  • PCSO running out of funds
    PCSO running out of funds

    Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office (PCSO) chairman Ireneo Maliksi has admitted that the revenue-generating agency is running out of funds as it continues with its mandate to provide financial assistance to indigent Filipinos. Aside from providing financial help to individual recipients, Maliksi cited at least 13 laws that mandates the PCSO to provide mandatory contribution to different government agencies. Just last week, PCSO released P100 million to the Commission on Higher Education as …

POLL

Should Aquino be held accountable over the Mamasapano operations?

Loading...
Poll Choice Options