Quantcast
Latest Stories

‘Sandosenang Sapatos’: Flawed–but beautiful

By , Contributor

WITH THE Tanghalang Pilipino Actors’ Company

To review a play is normally a fairly precise matter. One reviews the plot, analyzes the characters, appraises the lighting, set design and a hundred other things, and from this forms a picture of whether the play succeeded or not at what it had set out to do. It is predictable, almost scientific and sometimes boring.

It is, therefore, a lovely surprise when a play breaks the rules, and “Sandosenang Sapatos,” a Tanghalang Pilipino production directed by Tuxqs Rutaquio that just had a brief two-weekend run at CCP’s Tanghalang Huseng Batute, is one of them.

It was a play that should not have worked, but did.

“Sandosenang Sapatos” did not look good on paper. Without diminishing the genius of Dr. Luis Gatmaitan, there is a reason great plays are usually not built upon children’s books. The characters are one-dimensional. The central conflict is entirely internal. The symbolism is wrong. The theme is too easily misinterpreted. It has only sentimentality on its side.

LEAD STAR Trixie Esteban with Tessa Prieto Valdes, who played the Shoe Fairy in certain performances;

The playwright of “Sandosenang Sapatos” herself, Layeta Bucoy, noted that she hated the story at first. But then, she says in the play program, “the adaptation began.”

 

Minimalist set

The play opened on a minimalist set, elegantly shaped like an infinity symbol, with ramps and slopes perfect for a cast that got around on wheelchairs and roller skates. The lighting was competent; bright and colorful without being distracting. But it was all merely competent—until Trixie Esteban started singing. Without a doubt, this young performer carried the play.

“Sandosenang Sapatos” spends a lot of its time in a fantasy world spawned by Susie’s dreams. Poor Susie has been born without feet—an ironic fate, considering she is the daughter of a sickly cobbler who wants nothing more than to have a ballerina for a daughter.

She spends a great deal of time lamenting this. She is insecure about whether she can live up to her father’s love. She worries that she has disappointed him. She dreams of a world where she can wear magic shoes and dance with a “shoe fairy” and a cast of roller-skated stereotypes for one night on her birthday, and is consumed with longing when it comes time to wake up into the real world.

She derives no comfort from her family’s attempts to make her feel better. She laments and complains and sobs and works herself into a ball of angst that, ordinarily, would drive any audience to distraction. Most audiences, after all, do not go to plays to watch people whining. If a person wants to wallow in woe and self-pity, he or she needs real life, not theater.

But then, her father dies. Oh, woe is Susie.

Perhaps this is uncharitable. The first part of the play failed to move us, but many in the audience were reduced to tears.

Touching ode

It was the twist that saved the play.

The magic shoes Susie encounters in her dreams on her birthdays turn out to be not the creations of the shoe fairy, but gifts to her from her father. Reassured of his love, she shares a dream of dancing with him and, in this way, finds peace. When she wakes up, she and her family discover among her father’s things a stash of shoes just like the ones in her dreams, each with a letter sharing how much her father loves her and wants her to be whole and happy.

It would take only a little thought to knock down this house of cards. Why didn’t dear old Dad just tell her how he felt? Why keep the precious gifts a secret? How can a perfectly normal father make shoes appear in his daughter’s dreams? Why, of all the symbols he could have used to show his love, does he use shoes that he knew his daughter could never wear?

Indeed, a little thought could have wrecked this play. But the audience was not, could not have been thinking at this point, swept away as they now were by the warmth of a father’s love, the skill of Trixie’s acting and the heartwarming strains of Noel Cabangon’s music (co-composed with Jed Balsamo).

Epiphanic plots are cheap, yes, but when the epiphany is unconditional love, it hardly matters.

“Sandosenang Sapatos,” despite its rudimentary source material, was elevated by its playwright and the hard work of a very professional theatrical team. It made up for its formalistic failures through sincerity, and by being a touching ode to a father’s love.

 

Carlo Rivera teaches Literature at the Ateneo de Manila University, and is a jury member of the Philstage Gawad Buhay!


Follow Us


Follow us on Facebook Follow on Twitter Follow on Twitter


Recent Stories:

Complete stories on our Digital Edition newsstand for tablets, netbooks and mobile phones; 14-issue free trial. About to step out? Get breaking alerts on your mobile.phone. Text ON INQ BREAKING to 4467, for Globe, Smart and Sun subscribers in the Philippines.

Tags: CCP , Dr. Luis Gatmaitan , Layeta Bucoy , Tanghalang Huseng Batute , Tanghalang Pilipino , Theater , Tuxqs Rutaquio , “Sandosenang Sapatos”



Copyright © 2014, .
To subscribe to the Philippine Daily Inquirer newspaper in the Philippines, call +63 2 896-6000 for Metro Manila and Metro Cebu or email your subscription request here.
Factual errors? Contact the Philippine Daily Inquirer's day desk. Believe this article violates journalistic ethics? Contact the Inquirer's Reader's Advocate. Or write The Readers' Advocate:
c/o Philippine Daily Inquirer Chino Roces Avenue corner Yague and Mascardo Streets, Makati City, Metro Manila, Philippines Or fax nos. +63 2 8974793 to 94
Advertisement
  1. How to enjoy Buntod
  2. Kim Atienza: At home with art and design
  3. Life lessons I want to teach my son
  4. No tourist draw, Malang the croc will remain wild
  5. ‘Wild West’ Masbate’s pristine marine gems
  6. The best flavors of summer in one bite, and more
  7. How Zsa Zsa Padilla found Conrad Onglao; Sharon Cuneta played Cupid
  8. Homemade yogurt, bread blended with pizza, even ramen
  9. What has happened to Barrio Fiesta and Singing Cooks & Waiters?
  10. Haneda International Airport: A destination on its own
  1. How Zsa Zsa Padilla found Conrad Onglao; Sharon Cuneta played Cupid
  2. Are your favorite malls open this Holy Week break?
  3. Historic Fort Bonifacio tunnel converted into a septic tank
  4. ‘Labahita a la bacalao’
  5. Miss America: Don’t suspend teen over prom invite
  6. How Margie Moran-Floirendo keeps her dancer’s body
  7. This is not just a farm
  8. President Quezon was born here–and so was Philippine surfing
  9. Levine designs womenswear with help from fiancee
  10. Clams and garlic, softshell crab risotto–not your usual seafood fare for Holy Week
  1. How Zsa Zsa Padilla found Conrad Onglao; Sharon Cuneta played Cupid
  2. Mary Jean Lastimosa is new Miss Universe Philippines
  3. Did Angara ruin Pia Wurtzbach’s chances at Bb. Pilipinas?
  4. Dominique–Gretchen and Tonyboy Cojuangco’s daughter–now an endorser
  5. Vinegar test helpful vs cervical cancer
  6. From Jeannie to mom of suicide victim
  7. San Vicente beaches hidden but not for long
  8. Borgy and Georgina are back; others are off–again
  9. Why is the lifestyle set now afraid to wear jewelry–before Kim Henares?
  10. Sen. Angara: I thought Pia Wurtzbach gave a good answer

News

  • 4 Etihad passengers not yet located
  • DAR to complete installation of Luisita land reform beneficiaries in May
  • Ex-COA chief and co-accused in Arroyo plunder case nabbed
  • Kris Aquino’s ex- close in security named new Air Force chief
  • The ‘link diagram’ that killed ex-Bataan police officer
  • Sports

  • NLEX holds off Jumbo Plastic for a playoff berth
  • Pacquiao can dodge tax issues
  • F1 boss Bernie Ecclestone rejects bribery charges
  • Big Chill freezes Cafe France to arrest skid
  • Pacquiao has to go through PBA Rookie draft
  • Lifestyle

  • Summer Mayhem: The ultimate beach experience
  • A haven for steak lovers
  • Gongs and southern dances star in a workshop at San Francisco Bayanihan Center
  • This woman ate what?
  • Photos explore dynamics of youths’ sexual identity
  • Entertainment

  • Smithsonian wants photos, videos for ‘Day in the Life of Asian Pacific Americans’
  • What Garcia Marquez left behind
  • Has Ai Ai fallen deeply with ‘sireno?’
  • Sony developing live-action Barbie comedy
  • California court won’t review Jackson doctor case
  • Business

  • Metro Pacific acquires stake in Victorias
  • How ‘one percent’ economic elite was uncovered
  • Facebook profits triple as mobile soars
  • Insular Honors Sales Performers at Testimonial Rites
  • Apple increases stock buyback, will split stock
  • Technology

  • Vatican announces hashtag for April 27 canonizations
  • Enrile in Masters of the Universe, Lord of the Rings?
  • Top Traits of Digital Marketers
  • No truth to viral no-visa ‘chronicles’
  • ‘Unlimited’ Internet promos not really limitless; lawmakers call for probe
  • Opinion

  • Editorial cartoon, April 24, 2014
  • Talking to Janet
  • Respite
  • Bucket list
  • JPII in 1981: walking a tightrope
  • Global Nation

  • Tiff with HK over Luneta hostage fiasco finally over
  • DOLE sees more Filipinos hired by South Koreans
  • Filipinos second-shortest in Southeast Asia
  • Obama to visit Filipino soldiers in Fort Bonifacio
  • Fil-Am youth conferences unite under one theme
    Marketplace