In the still-thriving industry that is the business process outsourcing or BPO, these keyboard warriors of the night have emerged, and they are tackled in “A Game of Trolls” or “AGoT,” a new full-length musical by the Philippine Educational Theater Association (Peta).
The show, directed by Peta artistic director Maribel Legarda, is having a limited four-show weekend run today (Saturday, April 1) and tomorrow (April 2) at the Peta-Phinma Theater.
There’s no relation to George R.R. Martin’s series of fantasy novels and the eventual HBO adaptations, though this timely musical is also aimed at both millennials and the older generation. “AGoT” will be toured in schools in Metro Manila and key cities across the country.
“AGoT” follows the story of Hector (played by Myke Salomon), a millennial employed as a troll who is oblivious to history and the martial law era. Somewhere in the story, he is introduced to the sacrifices of Edgar Jopson (Norbs Portales), Emman Lacaba (John Moran), Bobby dela Paz (Gilbert Onida), Macliing-Dulag (Roi Calilong) and other heroes who died under the dictatorship of Ferdinand Marcos.
Subtle and dangerous
An excerpt of “AGoT” was staged on Dec. 10 last year, on International Human Rights Day.
Legarda says the company is mounting the show because the current socio-political environment that has seen the rise of trolls, fake news, disinformation campaigns via social media, and threats and intimidation directed at opposing voices, has become “more subtle and dangerous.”
The playwright is Liza Magtoto, who also wrote the scripts for the Peta hit musicals “Care Divas” and “Rak of Aegis.” Vince de Jesus, also of “Care Divas” fame, is musical director, composer and lyricist.
“The show in December was a 90-minute excerpt; incorporating the suggestions and feedback we got from it, I developed a new script that would run for about two hours,” she says.
There have been six revisions from the preview version, which had less than 10 scenes, Magtoto reveals. “‘AGoT’ now has 17 scenes or more… kasing kapal na ng bibliya ang script,” she quips.
“AGoT” is in the tradition of Peta’s protest and advocacy plays, but as a comedy with a love story, it’s also meant to be engaging and entertaining while provoking thought.
“We have in Peta what is called ‘theater of detour.’ It’s a protest play na patago (subtly hidden),” says Magtoto.
Legarda says the bigger aim for Peta shows is that, after being entertained, audience members will begin to ask themselves what they are laughing about, and thus help nudge critical thinking.
“Because that’s what art does,” Legarda says. “But art is not the only one that can do that.”
“Martial law has become unreal for millennials. Many have become complacent, and it’s hard to communicate to them. Doing an original play that speaks to millennials and corrects historical revisionism—we have to do this, because it’s what’s needed at this time.”
Magtoto and Legarda both hope that audiences will emerge from “AGoT” curious and inquisitive about history and current realities.
“Hindi yung parang vessel na tanggap na lang nang tanggap, but to begin to take part in the discourse and not just take things sitting down and accepting one side of the story. To awaken their sense of awareness—kung magawa namin yun, happy na kami,” says Legarda. —CONTRIBUTED
For tickets, call 8919999. For bookings, sponsorships, visit www.petatheater.com