Tanghalang Ateneo opened their 38th season titled De/Constructing Narratives with a bang as they staged the first international premiere of a thought-provoking Boy by Anna Ziegler.
The play, originally produced by Keen Company in New Yorj City earlier this year, is translated into Filipino by Guela Varela-Luarca and directed by Ed Lacson, Jr. It stars Cholo Ledesma as Adam Turner/Samantha, Teroy Guzman as Dr. Wendell Barnes, Camille Abaya as Jenny, Mayen Estanero and Wenah Nagales as Trudy, and Juliene Mendoza as Doug.
The play is a story of self-realization and gender identity, a journey of Adam Turner, towards to one's self despite doubts and confusion on his gender. Turner was an actual boy who suffered an unfortunate medical accident resulting into one the toughest part of his life: being raised as a girl by his parents (Trudy and Doug) upon the advice of a renowned psychologist (Dr. Wendell). However, as Adam – or Samantha – grows older, his confusion about who he is and what he wants to become in life grows more and more apparent, which lead to his parents eventually decide to reveal him his biological gender.
The play runs for about one and a half hours, but it wasn't really dragging as despite Barretto doing the doble-kara-like character, there is a clear distinction on the side of personality he is playing.
Guzman was so freaking effective on playing the psychologist. Well, he did portray the typical antagonist and instead, resort into a somewhat humanitarian-like approach – the kind one yet had some black intentions in mind, and that is to mold Adam into something he never really wanted to be in a long run – as Samantha.
Abaya as Adam's love interest was perhaps a challenging role in complimenting the confused Adam in the context on where the lead will actually eventually fall – to his past “her” self or to her side, with also her son being Adam's subject of interest more than her.
I have yet to see Nagales as an alternate, but Estanero certainly did a great job as Trudy, the mother who has been totally concerned about his son upon developing. Mendoza's character may have been mostly-silent type but that showed how most fathers are: once they spit, it's lethal. And they may be really hardworking, but the machismo spirit proved he still cares for his son. Imagine drinking a beer with your dad at one night of your life.
To sum up, Boy was indeed thought-provoking as it talked about the modern-day issue of transgender which shouldn't be a taboo anymore. Plus it helped that the actors have known the background better; to think this play was actually derived from the study known as “Dr. Money and The Boy With No Penis,” which had traumatic results as an aftermath.
Besides, on a personal level, this is actually the first time I did a review on theater play and was barely the first time I hit such since 2009. So perhaps I really have little knowledge about performing in the curtains and hopefully I have yet to get back on it soon.
Author: slickmaster | © 2016 september twenty-eight productions