Stage Play Review : Wilfrido Maria Guerrero's The Forsaken House

Freedom is something priceless, unnerving and relentless but above all it is a right that God, himself had provided us and that no man should usurp.

"The Forsaken House" is a play written by Wilfrido Maria Guerrero, published in his 13 Plays (1947). It depicts a typical Filipino family in the post-war era where the father assumes total control of family affairs, and shows how the children respond to the repressing circumstances.


The play stars theater luminaries Irma Adlawan, Tess Dumpit, Ces Quesada, Espie Tinio-Garcellano, Menggie Cobarrubias and Joel Lamangan, together with the Dulaang UP ensemble and some of today’s young and versatile breed of theater actors.

Characters:

Ramon – husband
Encarna - wife
The children
Teresita – eldest daughter, most self possessed of the children
Clemencia - tiny and weak of constitution, nervous by temperament
Adeling - pretty, strong-willed and impulsive
Jorge - the eldest brother
Flavio - most reserved of the brothers, his reserved nature is dangerous, his brooding eyes reveal strange longings and desires
Gonzalo - the youngest of the family
Tony - the prodigal son who ran away to the U.S
Tio Carlos, Tia Pelagia, Nilda, Edgardo, Mr. Sarte, a servant, a policeman

The story:

While many Filipino families of the time embrace change, Don Ramon (played by Joel Lamangan) maintains a severe hold on his family, specially his children. He forbids them from going out with friends yet does not welcome the idea of entertaining visitors at home either. He distrusts their peers and dictates what they can and cannot do in life. Though having only his children’s best interests at heart, his unyielding will to wield control over their lives spur a series of events that led him and his entire family spiraling uncontrollably towards an ominous fate. And such fate unfolds in unexpected and heartbreaking proportions.

I would like to compliment what the play established; that although the Filipino family is patriarchal, dominated mainly by an authoritarian father, the children still maintain a high regard and respect for their father, no matter how loathing the circumstances are. Regardless of my misgivings on trying out in a stage play, by simply watching an excellent play with an outstanding storyline and characters, I already feel content.

The Forsaken House” runs from February 15 to March 4, 2011, at the Wilfrido Ma. Guerrero Theater, UP Diliman. For inquiries, contact Cherry Bong Edralin at 0917-7500107 or the DUP Office at 926-1349.

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