Yesterday’s Tomorrow

Posted: September 30, 2014 in Shorts
Taken from the Facebook page of Chai Tallo.

Taken from the Facebook page of Chai Tallo.

A group of painters used to gather every evening in Cafe Guerbois in the neighborhood of Batignolles, Paris. The ringleader of the group was a guy named Edouard Monet. With him was Edgar Degas, Paul Cezanne, Camille Pissarro, and Pierre – Auguste Renoir. This group of painters would paint one another, paint next to each other, and supported one another financially and emotionally. They would go on and invent modern art with the movement known as Impressionism. At their time, this group would go against the norms of society by not submitting to the prestigious Salon, a group of traditional artists in which France would determine which painting is of good quality or not. The group of painters in Cafe Guerbois would not paint like the rest of the artists, who painted French history or mythology. They would paint everyday life (Malcolm Gladwell, David & Goliath, 72-73).

Fast forward to 2014, In Cebu Normal University. A group of students performed in a theater in which the play was breaking the norms of a school play. First, the students chose to use a language that the Cebuanos could relate to. They used Bislish, a mixture of Cebuano and English. Normally, a play would either use English, or Cebuano, but this is the first time that this writer attended a play where the language was understandable because of the colloquial usage of the language. Just like a Renoir or a Degas who has a fine impression on an image before 3D ever existed, the play came alive because of the familiarity of the vocabulary to the ears. There was not a dull moment as the audience would look forward to how the play was unraveling.

Secondly, the thYesterday's Tomorrow 2eme of the play was something really familiar to many of the Filipinos who are part of the audience. The play talked about family, with a mother and father, siblings and our protagonist who is struggling with his own issues. Each of the character is someone we can relate to. The addition of Inday in the family brought comic relief to the play. Another theme is of poverty, which is experienced by a lot specially among the audience. Indeed, poverty is one of the issues that we can talk about and almost every politician is promising to solve. The play talked about love and betrayal, of friendship and responsibilities, and it was evident that parental control is still so much an issue even until today. Each of the underlying theme was something that a student can relate to. It was more of an everyday life that makes the play something to watch. Everyone can have a piece because we find ourselves in the shoes of the characters.

Third, the students used theater as a medium to express their thoughts. In a world bombarded with multimedia, film and television, theater is seen to belong to the elite. Hence, the ticket price was affordable, and as the director informed us ahead not to have high expectations on the play. However, this broke the norm as a play is indeed created to be watched by the masses, not just by a selected few. Similarly to the group in Paris, they wanted the masses to be able to embrace art, and the school play was something that can be embraced by the masses as well. The students were talented actors and actresses, even though they were probably doing it for their grades.

EndingLastly, how the play ended is something which is non-traditional in its approach. It ended abruptly. It left the audience to gasp, to question, to say “that was it?” Indeed, it was probably meant to provoke one to think of a part II or a sign that says “to be continued”. As part of the audience, the writer wanted to have a happy ending, or if this was a tragedy, then a tragic conclusion, but the play just ended with more questions than answers. Again, it was breaking the norm of a play but it was breathtaking kind of end. Keeping the audience to its toes and making the end worth discussing in the corridors of the classroom, or in coffee shops (perhaps).

While artists won’t be appreciated in their own time, I would commend the play “Tomorrow’s Yesterday” for a job well done. The lighting and audio may not be that satisfactory but the content, the theme, the acting and direction of the entire play made up for it. The story was worth listening to, and one day, maybe we can find these artists in a cafe, trading ideas over coffee, and we can ask for an autograph even if it was just one play.

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