“Enjoy the show—if you can,” the director himself warned the audience. Hinabing Pakpak ng Ating mga Anak is a painful storytelling of the lives of the most vulnerable yet most abused members of society. Through children’s stories penned by the late Rene Villanueva, Anton Juan Jr. conceptualizes, writes, and directs the very first play of Dulaang UP on its 33rd season and UP’s centennial year.
I love how this play transformed innocent tales into a woven blanket of tragedies. But I also appreciate all the careful details. Like the simple game of making a plastic bag float in mid-air by blowing under it, which became a ritual of children trying to make dreams take flight. Or the use of tiny flashlights, which danced like stars in the darkness that children fear. Or the minimalist stage design composed only of two things: a round platform on the left and a ramp on the right, which the children spring from and sink into.
Most of all, I love the exchange of questions between the dark (Earl Ignacio) and the light (Joel Saracho) writer personas. How heavy is metal? Is it as heavy as a baby floating dead in the river? Where can we find hope? Is it in continuing to do what we are doing? If we write to give hope and fight for change, is it enough? Is it ever enough?
Hinabing Pakpak ng Ating mga Anak opened on July 16 and will run until August 10. Watch the lovely trailer here.