Three things 8 – 24 February 2012

Today is a Friday, and I have one big decision to make. Actually two. Prayers requested.

1. After my last post on Shrove Tuesday, I made up my mind to go to the new Sipat Lawin production Battalia Royale which was opening that night. From what I have been reading, the enthusiasm around this production has been astonishing. So far, no press reviews.

But let me say this: a production that is clear about what it promises to do, delivers on it, and then does it well in spite of its shortcomings (like iffy acting on the part of some of the players, a large number of whom are from student companies) is a show worth watching. More importantly, it asks questions which are needed and valued–what kind of society do we have where everything, even war and violence, is turned into a spectacle? Then again, this was the situation in first- and second-century Rome, the time of transition between paganism and Christendom. This is yet another turning of the age, and oddly enough Battalia Royale is making a contribution to the prophetic voices raising queries about the way we live. (This would lead me to a discussion of why both the original–which I should get around to reading–and this adaptation both give away the game of the modern state and its monopoly of violence, but I will save that for later, probably around Holy Week.)

2. The day after, I went to Calamba and Los Baños, in the province of Laguna. This is the time of year that I visit Calamba for an errand having to do with a property in an undeveloped subdivision on the lower slopes of Mt. Makiling. First thing I noted was they had a football field in front of City Hall. Apparently they had a football event on those fields late last year, and a friend of mine who is into football told me he was there just last week.

My next stop, after a coffee break, was the University of the Philippines in Los Baños. I have rarely been there, except to the dairy, which was on the other side of where I was going. The occasion was a concert being given mainly for students by flutist Rodel Vidal, guitarist Nobel Queaño, and for the first time since getting her first Chapman stick in 2010, Fuseboxx frontwoman Abby Clutario. (DISCLAIMER: I am currently one of two PR officers for the band.)

I understand it was a success, and Abby reports that the audience last night was enthusiastic enough for the musicians to perform two encores. As for me, let me just say (since everything I have to say about the band from now on is as a consequence of my professional, not personal, relationship to them) that the concert was a good showcase of classical (mostly Baroque) music, contemporary “smooth jazz,” and the capacity of the Chapman as a basso continuo in, for instance, the “Arrival of the Queen of Sheba” by Handel.

But what moved me was the new arrangement of “Pagbalik” that the three premiered. The performance was also accompanied by a dance based on Ryan Woodward’s “Thought of You,” which the band overlaid with an edited version of their first single. The original song was The Weepies’ “World Spins Madly On.” Yes, this is one of the few creative decisions Fuseboxx made that I found kind of odd. I like “World…” and its theme of parting. But I did not bother with the choreography. I enjoyed how the song changed in a less loud arrangement, and if they get around to reviving the music gig series that changed my life, Abby should play.

3. Finally, a shout-out to momblogger Kenny whom I met at Batallia Royale, outside the rarefied confines of Geek Fight. And congratulations to my friend Twinkle Ferraren whose new collection launches tonight!

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