Words by: Danica Tria
Tanghalang Pilipino’s award-winning “Ang Pag-Uusig”, an adaptation of Arthur Miller’s “The Crucible“ by director Dennis Marasigan, translated by Jerry Repesto takes the stage once again as an entirely new production with new cast members.
Attended by invited guests and media, including The New Channel, the press preview was held last February 16, 2023 at the recently opened Tanghalang Ignacio Gimenez (TIG), also known as the CCP Black Box Theater while the public got to watch the play from February 17 to March 12, 2023 in the same venue.
Six years after its first staging, Tanghalang Pilipino has decided to present the play a third time, just right after the global pandemic and one of the most polarizing elections in our nation’s history. And although the play is still set within the original’s premise of witch trials in Salem, Massachusetts between 1692-1693, “Ang Pag-Uusig” once again served an allegory that draws strong analogies in the present day, as economic crisis and mistrust of technology make this an especially easier time for moral panic to develop.
The message is clear, thanks to Dennis Marasigan’s clear direction and Jerry Respeto’s compelling translation. Afterall, it has always been Tanghalang Pilipino’s trademark, showcasing a narrative that will undoubtedly leave you thinking by the time curtains fall while highlighting a significant issue that the country is currently experiencing.
This was also a special night for The New Channel as it was the team’s first time to attend as media in the theatre industry. Additionally, it is also beneficial for the team to be exposed to these kinds of events and programs, especially because we work in the same industry. This way, we can learn and adapt certain live production skills that may likewise be applied to digital production.
As the nostalgic house music began, the actors took the stage and instantly transported the audience to a journey that unravels both the past and the present.
The performance of the lead roles, Marco Viana, Lhorvie Nuevo, and Antonette Go alongside the rest of the ensemble was truly excellent and some might have wondered what the play is about, there are elements of sorcery and witchcraft, but the parallels became more clear, bringing light to oppression, persecution, and execution of the powerless by the forces in power as the plot developed.
The cast’s ability to play off of each other’s energy shows how well the ensemble has come to grasp both their own and one another’s characters.
The stage designed by Ohm David and stage by TJ Ramos, are modest but completely adequate for their respective purposes, enabling viewers to concentrate on the scenes and story as they develop.
In addition to its excellent interpretation of the literary classic, Tanghalang Pilipino’s third iteration of “Ang Pag-uusig” also served as a subtle remark on our current social climate—a pleasant yet unsettling reflection of the societal dynamics of the today.
It also timely that the play was scheduled during the month of love, which also made it a perfect date night for fans of locally produced and thought-provoking stage plays. Afterall, the love for one’s country is among the greatest expressions of love.
From The New Channel, congratulations to the whole Tanghalang Pilipino team!
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