All steamed up | Lifestyle.INQ

OCTOBER 27, 2022

Over lunch with Nic Tiongson and other stage directors—Chris Millado, Nanding Josef—and Teatro Pilipino personnel, they were talking about putting on an Apolinario Mabini play that would appeal to a young audience; could it be staged “Steam Punk” style? (It hit a blank spot but I wouldn’t let on.) My grandson, Io Regalado, who was around, however, immediately jumped on their steam punk wagon discussion.

I was used to cross-dressed stage characters. Since their earlier talk was about Apolinario Mabini being a woman, (okay lang), later a young girl (huh?) who could sing as well as be the Brains of the Revolution (wait a minute!), and maybe sitting on a Steam Punk’d wheelchair  (whoa there!). In fact, the whole production could be in Steam Punk style (oh, well).

They were all excited. But no matter how much they explained Steam Punk to me, I just couldn’t visualize it. “It was how the people, of say, the 19th century would imagine how the world would be in the 21st century, a life if electricity had never been invented.”
Sort of like Jules Verne’s “Around the World in 80 Days” in a balloon? Sort of, but not quite. It would be more complex, hyped up with a lot of hardware. What a puzzler!

Never one to let an art matter like that go, I researched it. Steam Punk at last became clearer because of the pictures. “Steam Punk is a subgenre of science fiction and fantasy literature and art that commonly features some aspect of steam-powered machinery, especially in a setting inspired by industrialized Western civilization during the 19th century.” It not only invaded people’s imagination, it had spread to architecture (floating houses), flying machines, fashion (even on vampires and cats), stage dramas (“Romeo and Juliet” in a set with two separate porches floating away from each other), even a Steam Punk show by Cirque du Soleil.

Lest I lose my elderly readers completely, I have gathered a Steam Punk compilation to hopefully inform, inspire or horrify them.

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