Dulaang Sibol and Sa Kaharian ng Araw

Mr. Pagsi describes Sa Kaharian ng Araw (In the Kingdom of the Sun) as a disturbing play to watch. It's not light or fun like The Mischievous Angel and he says that it is not for kids in grade school.

True enough, when my family caught the February 19 show, all of us enjoyed the show, except for my daughter (who happens to be in grade school). All throughout the play, she kept asking me questions and now that I think about it, this is the first presentation of Dulaang Sibol which she caught which was serious from start to finish.

The play is about two friends, Paulo and Ponce, who set out on a journey in search of the Kaharian ng Araw. When Mr. Pagsi introduces the play, he raises the question: "Ano ba ang Atenista?" (What is an Atenean?) He then proceeds to say that the usual answer that one will get is that the Atenean is a man for others.

He then explains that in this play, the focus will be, not on the man for others, but on the man for self. He expounds further by saying that sometimes, something is made more startling by its absence. So by highlighting the man for self, the audience will see more clearly, what is meant by being a man for others.

Sa Kaharian ng Araw, directed by Mr. Onofre Pagsanghan; written by Joel (Mr. Pagsi's son) and Onofre Pagsanghan (Joel's father), with music by Mandy Agoncillo and Ray Miranda, is about the quest for prestige, power, and possessions. Through the creative use of words and music, the play probes, disturbs, and gets each individual to think and reflect. Themes like friendship, sacrifice, and the cycles of life are brought to the fore. While I enjoyed the music and the songs (I still have tik tik a tik tik a tik tik tik playing in my mind from time to time), it is really the script which I appreciated the most. Everything rhymes from start to finish. If there is any person who doubts still that Filipino is such a beautiful and lyrical language, I highly recommend that he or she watch this play. Take the following lines for example:

"...Pag matayog ang minimithi
talagang ganyan
dapat humandang lahat ay pagbayaran.
Kay raming ibang taong
tagumpay din ang pinapanagimpan
ngunit wala nang lakas ng kalooban
at tibay ng paninindigan..."

Or

"...Dapat ilibing muna ang punla sa putikan bago sumibol ang halaman..."

To think that this play was written when Mr. Pagsi's son, Joel, was still in second year high school...

In Paulo and Ponce's search for the Kaharian ng Araw, they journey through several kingdoms: Kaharian ng Ulan (Kingdom of the Rain), Kaharian ng Hangin (Kingdom of the Wind); and Kaharian ng Dilim (Kingdom of Darkness). Each Kaharian is made interesting by the meticulously made costumes (all Dulaang Sibol produced!) and by the highly effective props and set design.

Sa Kaharian ng Araw will have more play dates. These will be on March 4, 5, and 11, at 6:30pm at the Tanghalang Onofre Pagsanghan at the Ateneo de Manila High School. Tickets sell for P150 each and you may buy them at the gate before the show. If you have time and would like to watch a play that will make you think about what is truly important, about what your dream will be and what you are willing to give up to achieve your dream, go watch Kaharian. Come to think of it, March 9 is Ash Wednesday. This may be a good way to start your Lenten reflection.

What happens at the end of the journey? I won't say so as not to spoil your enjoyment of the show. Let me just quote what Mr. Pagsi said to my son's class: "If you are not amazed by the ending, then it is not a good kaharian." Intrigued? Sabi ko - manood na kayo e.

Speaking of Sa Kaharian ng Araw, it is the 25th anniversary of Edsa 1 or our People Power Revolution of 1986. Do say a prayer for our country and for all Filipinos. While Edsa 1 did usher in a new government and the freedom that most Filipinos wished for, 25 years after, things have not really changed. We are still faced with corruption, poverty -- the list of national problems too long and endless. What happened? Most of us, at one point or the other, are all in search of our Kaharian ng Araw. "Mga kapatid sa pagkahibang sa sariling tagumpay."

So on this day, I pray, that fewer Filipinos will search or journey to their Kaharian ng Araw. Something that Mr. Pagsi said before the presentation ended struck me. He spoke about the importance of the boys learning to integrate with each other in Dulaang Sibol. He then states: "Because no matter how brilliant you are, you cannot mount a play alone."

The Philippines cannot be rebuilt or improved by one person. But we can all do our individual share. You and I are not here alone. We are all in this country and in this life together.

[By Angelica Viloria | Friday, February 25, 2011]


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