Originally published in the http://theknightpub.org.
It’s quite hard to imagine how a quick one-act play could effectively represent the most gruelling months of college life. Saying that it’s quite ambitious is more than an understatement. A visual and verbal discourse of the painful (yet arguably fulfilling, for some) weeks of typing, reading, researching, analysing and learning can be such an attempt to present something great with such limited resources and insufficient running time.
But Edward G. Perez’ “TISIS” presents a relatively unstructured discourse of these moments. It recollects the wandering mind and its doubtful heart while on one’s journey to a shining final line. In “TISIS”, Perez creatively reconstructs our familiar pains, disappointments and small wins, without dismissing an imaginative flair to engage his young audiences.
Three long-time friends; Fidel, Carlitos and Patricia regain consciousness inside a plane that just crashed. They talk and fight and freak their way out. In their helplessness, they talk about their lives and their relationships. Everything was doing quite well until they think of their upcoming thesis panel defense.
“TISIS” gives a background of the usual path a student goes through in his/her final years in college. In its bluntness, it wonderfully presents the mind of a student racing to the finish line. Through its dimensional set of absurd floating squares, everything is creatively clouded, hindered, yet, refined. Lutang kung lutang.
Reinier Abagat offers a Fidel so elegantly. He is the love-sick, sometime studious young man, who is not yet quite ready for the challenge. In his most dashing, Abagat is a treat on stage. As Fidel, he is the ideal student in an imperfect world. As Fidel immerses in the vicious system of the real world, we see ourselves.
Lois Zurbano, as Patricia, presents the confused researcher. In her dream to make it big in her final research, she partners with a manufacturing company. At first, she was optimistic, and then she was curious, and after realising her consequences, she gets pathetically disappointed. But in Patricia, we review ourselves. In the seemingly vast society of options, we at some point, became like her. But we still pursued, delivered and triumphed!
Aaron Gabriel Baldemor plays Carlitos, the closeted homosexual who is secretly in love with Fidel. Baldemor is a show-stopper in his own right. Though there may be times that he misses the needed punch, he manages to compensate it with his absurd nuances that still make the audience laugh. What makes Carlitos’ character most interesting is his chosen field of interest. In his journey, we realise that the researcher and respondent (somehow) become one. But one can only do so much. A researcher has his own limitations, and Carlitos is no exemption. Here, we understand that though research aims to help, it helps indirectly. With its principle of just-watch-don’t-touch, his character painfully reminds us that we cannot always save the day.
“TISIS” is a must-see for everyone, not just for students and professors. Cruz’ one-act play is a brave material that tackles a commonly ignored subject-area, however still as essential to life. Research is a discipline that brings with it much more than good grammar, appropriate word choice, typing skills and reading. It is a discipline that transforms the researcher and eventually helps the target respondents.
If these are not enough to justify the painful and gruelling means, I don’t know what are.
Catch the re-run of TISIS at the La Cordaire Hall this week. Click here to view the show schedules.
Photos by Czaryl Catapang