Early this year, Egg Theater Company staged probably the most daring, most honest, and most truthful play to come out of local theater in years. “Schism” was an adaptation of Moliere’s “The Misanthrope” by George de Jesus III, and while few saw it on its limited run, it would ultimately resonate not just because it spoke of the state of theater culture in the country, but in fact the state of commentary and opinion, truth and lies, in this social-media crazed nation.
That it would be staged on Arts Month, but watched by a few, was a statement in itself. It stands as a foregone conclusion: smaller, fringe, independent, original work is what we need — not just in theater but across culture. Yes, all that in just one play.
Now try three.
This October, Egg Theater Company stages “Moliere PMS,” a fusion of three Moliere adaptations: “Praning” (adapted from “The Imaginary Invalid”), “Maniacal” (adapted from “The Learned Ladies”), and “Schism,” all adapted by de Jesus and staged separately at different points in his career. This fusion of three plays still has at its core the narrative of misanthropy, this time layered with the lead character Alex’s own thought process and unraveling which unfold onstage as “The Learned Ladies” and “Praning.”
As with Schism, one expects Moliere PMS to be a hilarious display of contemporary Philippine culture’s hypocrisy, an examination of the truths we keep to ourselves in the name of superficial notions of unity and harmony, and our own undoing given our refusal to engage honestly with the fundamental issues that ail our very existence as cultural workers. Set and contextualized within the landscape of local theater, this play is a challenge posed not just to the local theater-going audience, but to the rest of local theater: how much of the truth can you handle?
This daring, rare as it is, already makes “Moliere PMS” a production worth seeing. — KSS.***
“Moliere PMS” will be staged at PARC Foundation in San Juan on October 1 and 2, and at Pineapple Lab in Makati on October 7 to 9 and October 14 to 16. Tuxqs Rutaquio and Renante Bustamante alternate in the role of Alex, while Angeli Bayani and Mayen Estanero take turns playing the roles of Helen, Belinda, and Philippa. For more details visit facebook.com/theeggtheaterco, or contact 09178040762 | 09178440520.