Canvassing the last forty years of our existence, DOGEATERS searches for a personal and collective Filipino identity amidst its vivid collage of rich and poor; old and young; and wild and wicked. At the heart of the play are the complicated questions that persist within a colonized country: “Who are we?” and even more importantly, “Who are we to become?” With great abandon, each of the many characters fight to find a new voice as they grapple with the balance of old world and new – learning what elements of American pop culture, capitalist obsessions, technological advances and what elements of their own ritual, folklore, and jungle myth must be embraced or purged. In my mind, Jessica is the best kind of storyteller – outrageously vivid, terminally hip, honest, brave and full of humor. She has woven a diverse tapestry of people and events that sometimes reveal themselves in simple, fluid ways, while at other times, hurl forward with the force and subtlety of a rollercoaster ride. There exists both the pains and humor of any coming-of-age story mixed with the deeper subtextual questions of identity beguiling the community at large. The world encompasses both a lyrical magic as well as a razor-sharp reality. There is both the exhilaration of the unpredictable and the comfort of the familiar. And there is both autonomy and inevitability in the way the characters ultimately collide. By the time this inevitability reveals itself, we too have become just as inextricably linked. In its specificity, the rite-of-passage becomes universal. And so our goal is simple – to make certain that the world and its inhabitants are so viscerally charged – so specific that Manila in all of its various guises is immediately available, contagious even – and to support the dualities at work with as much muscularity as possible as we reinvent the story for the stage. We must also try and manage all of that with as few strokes as possible in eighteen days. Logistically, we will spend as much time at table as is useful to Jessica. Then we will stagger onto our feet and continue to explore. Ultimately, I see the piece with a large amount of visceral stimuli – lots of film, video, music, and soundscapes. For this incarnation, I think we will work towards creating make-shift Filipino Beauty Pageantry, talk shows, and the wonderful radio serial: Love Letters. We may even choreograph a golf caddie waltz or some of the shower boys’ performance. Juxtaposed with that will be some of our finer American pop cultural contributions such as the delights of the disco era. I’m interested in incorporating music from both cultures. from 1950 on, in order to help place and paint the conflicted beauty and humor of both worlds.
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