I'm not Jessica Hagedorn's biggest fan but I'd support any Pinoy post-modern author who made it internationally. And I love "Dogeaters." Problem was I couldn't find my copy. But I promised JOH and alwaysanxious I'd have their books signed so I couldn't back out anymore. I was forced to buy a slightly more expensive copy of "Gangster of Love" for her to sign.
The girl at Powerbooks told me the registration was at 3pm, so I made my way to RCBC from Palanca at 2:50pm. (I am compulsively punctual, hell, uncannily so) I was #2 for the signing, beaten only by a UP prof who was probably Ms. Hagedorn's biggest fan here. His thesis was on "Dogeaters," which was the first fiction book he read and finished.
The program started an hour late, which is de rigeur in this country. See, that's the Philippine experience right there, Jessica.
The event was ok, though. The ones who were there knew the author and her material and asked sensible questions. The signing went well, with Jessica taking time to chat to each person in line.
* * * * *
The play itself was so-so.
I hate anything that tries too hard, and this just looks like a bad, overblown version of didactic stuff from the agitprop school of "relevant" theater. It's a slicker version of what we were trying to do in high school when we wrote original stuff after being steeped in CCP and PETA material. Which is funny because I'm used to that and the "heavy" straight plays New Voice Company likes to do.
The unevenness of the material jarred me. Which would've been fine if there was a point to it. Methinks it's just drama for the sake of drama. The play is structured like a soap opera, with multiple storylines and a couple of multi-scene montages.
The problem is it's too much like a Philippine soap, with the dramatic moments being drawn out too long and reveling in the absurd, campy moments a wee bit too much. It might've worked well as a movie, but as a play it's a bit too incoherent.
But then again that may be the point exactly.
Edit to add:
A thought. It's a ten-year-old play based on a 20-year-old book about something that happened fifteen years before. Of course it seems dated.