Review Roundup: KUNG PAANO MAGHIWALAY; Show Closes 6/4

Review Roundup: KUNG PAANO MAGHIWALAY; Show Closes 6/4Manila, Philippines--The Egg Theater Company (ETC), which stages Filipino plays, and theatrical venue Pineapple Lab, present award-winning playwright and ETC co-founder George de Jesus III's "Kung Paano Maghiwalay," which tackles the subject of relationships on the brink of breaking up.

"Kung Paano Maghiwalay" was first presented as a staged reading during the "Virgin Labfest 4," a festival of one-act plays, at the Cultural Center of the Philippines (CCP) in July 2008. It unfolds in a non-linear manner with the different characters caught grappling, confronting the dissolution of their relationships,

The play features a stellar ensemble of new and seasoned actors: Renante Bustamante, Rechelle Gimpes, Mara Paulina Marasigan, Victor Medina, Juliene Mendoza, Stella Cañete-Mendoza, Sheena Ramos, Paul Jake Paule, Gabs Santos, Sarina Sasaki, Lian Silverio, Andrea Tatad, Floyd Tena, Affy Varona, Andrei Vegas, and Teetin Villanueva.

Now let's hear what the critics had to say:

Vladimir Bunoan, ABS-CBN News: As soon as the audience enters the studio, they are greeted by a video projection of a heart beating, which immediately sets the tone for the play that yes, this is about heartbreak, but expect a different treatment.

The play opens with married couple Ben and Anita getting ready to leave the hospital after he had a heart attack. Then Ben announces that he is not going back with her.

Review Roundup: KUNG PAANO MAGHIWALAY; Show Closes 6/4From this first breakup, the play branches out to the other characters, starting with the couple's two children and how they split up with their respective partners. The breakups range from restrained to melodramatic, from cute to violent.

De Jesus, who also directed this staging, succeeds in finding the right words for each of the characters in the play, brought to life by a fine ensemble led by Juliene Mendoza and Stella Cañete-Mendoza.

Cora Llamas, Philippine Daily Inquirer: The Egg Theater Company's "Kung Paano Maghiwalay," written and directed by company founder George de Jesus III, is the kind of short dramatic play that invites more emotional involvement from the audience than intellectual introspection. And that is not necessarily a bad thing.

The experience the play offers on matters of the heart-love, loss and its stubborn will to linger-is subtly powerful because it goes into the many emotional calisthenics of a breakup which, at some point or another, many of us have gone through...

The stream-of-consciousness structure, as opposed to a strictly linear plot line, keeps the audience guessing as to the current phase of a couple's relationship. At the same time, the vignette setup can be occasionally confusing, especially when the connections between some characters are not clear, or when some stories need more development than others.

Still, none of these leave you wanting at the end of the play. The homegrown script and the relatable characters make the material all too real and can cause one to reflect on his or her own entangled relationships.

The play runs until this weekend, June 2-3 at 8 p.m., and June 4 at 7 p.m. at Pineapple Lab, 6071 R. Palma Street, Poblacion, Makati City.

For tickets, call (63)917-8040762.

Photos: Trixie Dauz

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