Disclaimer: I am no theater geek. The following review is a product of the musings and thoughts of a student who happened to watch the play, and perhaps overthought some things.
Have you ever wondered what it would be like if a beloved book was set in the Philippines?
“Munti,” an adaptation of Antoine de Saint-Exupery’s Le Petit Prince”, was a play presented by Artistang Artlets last May 4 and 5, 2015. The play, which gave a local flavor to the story of The Little Prince, was held at UST Tan Yan Kee auditorium, under the direction of Klea Lloren.
The auditorium was set up as a small theater in the round, but with small “stages” at the four corners of the room. The asteroids and characters visited by the prince are set up in these corners, and the center stage was used by the two main characters. I would have to say that it was a smart use of the small auditorium, because it kept the audience excited as to where and what the next characters would look like. It also made the journeying of the little prince seem more realistic, so to speak, in a very small room, because of the actual movements of the characters in space and the shifts in the visual focus of the audience. The set-up also allowed for some audience-performer interaction, which made it more fun to watch. While this set-up presented difficulties (in terms of lighting), it worked over all, giving the production more life, and helping with the presentation of the narrative.
The adaptation itself was cleverly thought of to make it more reachable to its primary audience- Filipino students. With a convincingly conyo aviator, and a prince who can use an iPhone, the writer made the play very light and easy to watch. The modern adaptation of the characters the prince visited also kept the audience engaged: the king as a Filipino politician clad in barong and with perfectly gelled hair, the conceited man, as a bibbo performer, the tippler as your neighborhood drunkard, and the geographer as a stereotypical strict professor. The characters, including the rose, the fox and the snake were all strikingly full of personality- this perhaps is also due to the very good visuals that came with each character. It was this modern take on the characters that kept the audience captivated- mood changes were palpable in the auditorium, as the prince went from one character to another, and it is credit to good acting and easily relatable characters.
Munti, at its very core, was an intimate and heartfelt play, and while there may be much left to be wanted for the serious (and legit) theater critics, I think that the production aimed for the hearts of its audience, with all the changes they made in their adaptation. And it is exactly that which left me quite satisfied with their adaptation of the little prince- after all,”what is essential is invisible to the eye.”
Juan Dela Cruz
Christine Erica Sudiacal
Gerard Andre Barron
Coleen Ivy Cordero
Artistang Artlets, now in their 34th season, is the official theater guild of the UST Faculty of Arts and Letters. Check out their page for upcoming plays and events:
Photo credits: Artisang Artlets Facebook Page, Tomasino Web, Ideastalk