Ang Pag-uusig Theatre Review

Oh! Did I just cover the poster of Ang Pag-uusig in my photo? I’m so sorry. I want to take a photo with their poster but I don’t know where to stand because of the big number of viewers that time. This just shows the success showing of the play. Yes! You heard that right. Ang Pag-uusig is a theatre play presented by the Cultural Center of the Philippines and Tanghalang Filipino. It’s actually a Filipino translation of Arthur Miller’s The Crucible. This explains why the plot of Ang Pag-uusig is kinda familiar.

The story focuses on a local farmer, John Proctor and his wife, Elizabeth Proctor particularly when they encountered a crucible or in other words, a severe trial. This trial started when Abigail Williams, their former maid who was fired because of having an affair with John, accused Elizabeth of being a witch. Abigail, together with her friends, continued their false demonic possession to persuade Deputy Governor Danforth and Judge Hathorne. Trying to fight for his wife, John forced their new maid, Mary Warren, to tell the truth about her friends’ acting. But since John forced her with threats, Mary eventually broke down and accused John as a witch. This results to John’s execution.

Although I haven’t watched The Crucible in theater, I truly applaud on the way it was translated to Ang Pag-uusig. I like the choice of Filipino words to best interpret the original play. They choose deep words that really gives a Filipino vibe into it. Yet, the chosen words are still understandable by Filipinos of today’s generation. There are times that we don’t get what the actors were saying but that’s because their voice were becoming low. Sometimes, the actors forget their lines but that’s completely understandable because I know the feeling of being on stage.

I enjoy joining plays for school, for Quiapo and for our town but it’s my first time to watch a play of Tanghalang Filipino. I’ve always wanted to watch theatre plays in CCP but my money does not allow me to do so. However, my Literature subject requires us to watch Ang Pag-uusig so I finally got the chance. Speaking of first time, it’s also my first time to witness a studio theatre because I’m used to see a proscenium stage. I admire how they maximize the space even if it’s small. Imagine! They were able to present a wonderful play in the small room of Tanghalang Huseng Batute. Yeah! I know it’s the purpose of the studio theatre. I just can’t hide my appreciation.

Aside from that, the design of the stage was simple. Throughout the play, they only set a wooden design for the floor, walls, tables and chairs. But despite of the plain stage, they neatly presented different settings in there from Parris’ house to Proctor’s house to the courthouse. I think it depends on the audience on how they picture each scene’s venue. And I like it because it activates my imagination.

But most of all, I give my highest regard to all the actors for their amazing performance. With only 14 performers, Ang Pag-uusig was able to send its message and story clearly to its viewers. The characters communicated with us through their actions, effectively gave us the thrill and brought us to tears, especially the one who played John and the one who played Deputy Governor Danforth. The two displayed the most natural and at the same time, convincing performance.

Ang Pag-uusig is still showing. So buy your tickets now before it’s too late.

© Theater Fans Manila

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