Theater Piece Review: Bonifacio: Isang Sarswela
Stage Genre: Historical/Biography
Country of Origin: Philippines
Language: Filipino (Tagalog)
Cast: Vincent Tañada as Andres Bonifacio, Kevin Posadas as Gen. Emilio Aguinaldo, Cindy Liper as Gregoria de Jesus
Plot/Summary: The life of Andres Bonifacio depicts the life of the national hero as a martyr for the love of his own country, despite his ironic background: He did not attain a good educational background, despite being a mestizo de Sangley himself (Bonifacio has Chinese and Spanish ancestry). His love for his country, together with his love for Gregoria de Jesus and his love-hate relationship with General Emilio Aguinaldo is interpreted in such a description contrary to most history books dictate.
Review: This play actually depicts Andres Bonifacio as a martyr saint, while General Emilio Aguinaldo is depicted as a traitor and as a persecutor. Here, it resembles the life of John the Baptist, betrayed by Herod Antipas (to be honest, Herod Antipas never had any grudges against John the Baptist; it was his wife Herodias who got offended with John the Baptist’s preaching, therefore she ordered him (Herod) to give her John’s head on a silver platter. To make the story short, Bonifacio is depicted as John the Baptist, while Aguinaldo was depicted as Herod Antipas; and Aguinaldo’s advisers ordered him to sacrifice Bonifacio for the good of the country, and it should be taken note that it was NOT Aguinaldo who displayed the Philippine flag during the day of Independence from the Spaniards (well, as far as I recall in most historical photographs).
The play should have a sequel about how Aguinaldo sold the Philippines to the United States and the rest of the events that made the Philippines “totally Westernized.” In fact, Aguinaldo’s presidency was actually due to conflict, and it was shown that he is not apt to rule the Philippines as a whole.
I don’t want to comment on the lights, costumes and err… the music scores as it is expected that live performances should have WORLD-CLASS aesthetics and at the same time NO ROOM FOR ERROR.
PS: I think that Vincent Tañada is smart and talented, as he is not only portraying Bonifacio in this theater piece–he happens to be the writer and director, and not to mention he’s a lawyer (fantastic!). He’s also a true-blooded Lasallian. (YEAH)