BWW Interviews: SKY OVER DIMAS' Tim Dacanay
By Precious Lee Cundangan
Manila, Philippines, March 20, 2013 -- Adapting a novel into a play entails a lot of deliberation about the elements of the story that needed to be transferred to the novel's new form. In the case of "The Sky Over Dimas," playwright Tim Dacanay shares with BroadwayWorld that there were no composite characters, two or more new characters, fused into the stage version. However, "there were necessary adjustments we felt would help bring forth the story on stage."
One of them was "getting into the mind of one of the main characters, Raffy Torrecarion, to make him come alive in scenes that were not in the book, but had to be in the play in order to sustain the plot." In the case of Raffy, there were a lot of what-if scenarios the playwright was pondering on earlier.
"The Sky Over Dimas," written by Palanca-winning author Vicente Garcia Groyon, is a celebrated novel about an inglorious family in Bacolod. It tells the dark story about the Torrecarions, a wealthy, famous family safeguarding its long-held dark secrets. Everything changes in the clan when a kin George vowed to put a stop to all the lies. After reading the memoir of his great grandfather, Faustino, George exiles himself to Hacienda Dimas in Bacolod, and begins to unearth his family's skeletons in the closet.
"I met the author [Groyon] only once, socially and we didn't talk much about [the possibility of putting on] the play. As a rule, I don't discuss works in progress as I might talk a play to death, so to speak. I was so happy to meet Vince finally and had my dog-eared copy of the book dedicated," Dacanay recalls.
As for the playwright's collaboration with stage director Romualdo Tejada, Dacanay mentions that he worked very closely with Tejada during the revision period. But after that, during their rehearsals, there were instances when Tejada pursued his own ideas such as placing the story of the Maghat tribesmen, natives of Negros, third largest island in the Philippines, at the start of the play.
Also according to Dacanay, if there was one scene crucial in both the novel and play, it would be, "The end confrontation between the father and his son, which is practically from the book itself...It's also my favorite scene because it distills what the play is about. Plus the great climax happens there."
When asked what intrigued him to write this book-to-stage adaptation, he admits, "Vince is a school buddy and an old friend of my brother-in-law. I also have cousins who grew up in Bacolod. The book is also about the '80s, which is the time I grew up in."
"The Sky Over Dimas" runs this weekend.
March 21 (Thursday) at 6:30 p.m., and March 22 and 23 (Friday and Saturday) at 10:30 a.m., 3:00 p.m., and 6:30 p.m. at Teresa Yuchengco Auditorium, De La Salle University-Manila
For additional information, contact Kyle Bulut at (63) 917 896 2239 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
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Photo credit: Tim Dacanay, Kobobooks.com