by Elle Ayroso
In Chris Millado’s “Buwan at Baril” is actually a classic choice for a summer production of Ateneo’s ENTABLADO (Enterteynment para sa TAo, Bayan, LAnsangan, at DiyOs)—it’s underground, it’s thought-provoking, and it’s relatable which makes it brilliant.
In this play, we follow the journeys of eight different people during the Marcos regime and we see how nicely the major plot ties each and every subplot together. The best part of the play is that everything is interconnected by a man who wasn’t even shown—his influence was so great that he completely changed the course of the lives of farmers and socialites alike.
Perhaps the most engaging story for me was that of the socialite’s, since it’s so easy for me and my friends to identify with her from the way she talks, she acts, her slightly pompous name (Monina Valdepeñas), and down to how her ideals were shaped by years and years of rigorous Catholic education. Her language in particular is worth noting: Monina speaks Taglish which was popularized by Kris Aquino around the time of Marcos’ regime. It’s language that brings the higher class together with the lower class and it firmly establishes the setting. We can also gather what kind of person Monina is: one who was part of upper crust that wasn’t afraid to “slum it”.
We see her as a reporter who’s part of the bourgeoisie; so we have a definite juxtaposition going on there. Personally, if I were part of the 1% that lives in Forbes and could have everything served to me on a silver platter I’d never even think of revolting. Let’s face it: most of us would be hard pressed to give up something we really loved for the benefit of other people; but this is when we notice that Monina has a better grasp on society and life. She understands that the only people who have enough clout to trigger a game-change are the 1% with the fancy cars and the big names so she does what she can.
If we think about it, it’s actually common sense that one illustrious family can trigger more changes than a whole barangay of middle-class citizens just from publicity; so why is it that the people who are aware of this keep the status quo as is? The answer is simple: Between capitalism and communism, capitalism is the lesser evil. It’s basically a more humane version of the Hunger Games where the “survival of the fittest” applies.
Monina goes around this notion, revolting in the most capitalist and mainstream way possible by going on hunger strikes and joining rallies. Something similar to this is the Ateneans’ lobby for SM Blue to stop construction due to allegedly bypassing the proper procedures for the building’s height.
Like Monina, the Ateneans knew that they couldn’t be ignored because of who they were and they believed that a few demonstrations were the solution to the problem. Also like Monina, they lacked the patience and conviction to stick to the whole process. They didn’t know that you needed to be in it for the long haul to actually make a significant difference. Giving light to an issue is not the same as addressing it, and this is something we would all do well to remember.