How I feel about the rise of the trolls in the Philippines was never a secret. What are trolls anyway? So many definitions are available online but for me, trolls are individuals who go out of their way to cause confusion, anger, and fear by spreading “alternative facts.” There is a fine line between trolls and apologists. They are equally annoying but if a troll is fueled by money or narcissism, apologists are often victims of trolls’ “alternative facts” a.k.a. lies.
What bothers me mostly about trolls is the fact that they influence a lot of people. I lament the death of critical thinking. Reading, exposure to other cultures, and the realization that the world is a big place don’t seem to make any impact in a lot of people’s social and political perspective.
Before seeing the play, I wondered how it can influence the audience. Lately, people have been more than passionate in their political views that it has created a huge divide. Critics are immediately filed under “destabilizer” and therefore must be attacked. I asked myself if the musicale might in some way anger people. How does one deliver a message that would say “accurate” and “fair” without it being preachy and boring? In a time where memes play an important role in disseminating news or propaganda, something like AGoT might prove to be a challenge for PETA.
I should have trusted PETA more. AGoT is a well-researched musicale that tackles facts that have been a subject of heated debates for years. It is very Filipino in delivery, has sense of humor, and tugs at one’s heartstrings as our recent history should.
AGoT is a story of Heck, who works in a pro-Martial Law troll center run by a man named Bimbam, an Apo loyalist. Hector’s estranged mother, a former Martial Law activist, comes for a visit and tries to work on their relationship. But years of alienation have turned a son’s heart cold and made him apathetic.
Hec finds himself being haunted by ghosts from the Martial Law regime, who all tell him their story. He tries to fight these truths, argue that they deserved what happened to them… Until his mother reveals her own tale that still torments her decades later.
The musicale was written by Liza Magtoto and directed by Maribel Legarda, producers of the PETA hit “Rak of Aegis.” The songs were written by Vincent de Jesus.
“Laos ang Asar-Talo” has lines that can never be more accurate:
“…Pag naglabas ng issue, tirahin niyo ng personal
Pagurin niyo, sumagot nang pabalang
Ibahin niyo ang usapan, hanggang sa mapikon (Dahil laos ang asar-talo)
Lunurin niyo sa kasinungalingan, hanggang sa pati sila ay malito
Kung ano nga ba ang tama? Kung ano nga ba ang ano?.
“….Non sequitur ang ating bala. Kumasa at tumira
(At kung di pa rin umatras, lagyan ng ad hominem pa)
Gumawa ng mga fake accounts gamit ang picture ng iba
Sumagot ng naka-all caps at i-copy paste sa bawat thread
Ng bumabatikos kay Madam.”
The actors delivered well, especially Upeng Galang-Fernandez, who played Nanay Tere, Hector’s mother. It was impossible not to shed a tear or two as she delivered a powerful monologue towards the end of the play.
I highly recommend AGoT to every Filipino, young and old. For ticket and inquiries, you may contact Queng Reyles at 725-6244 loc. 23; 0917-5394707; firstname.lastname@example.org.