written by Paolo Vergara
THE PROJECTOR DIMS once again, but applause is withheld as the silhouettes of the stagehands and actors fill the stage. Stage lights take the place of the projector’s glow, and the story that was once on screen is now onstage. In another production, the tension of a jealous friend amidst the ambiance of a coffee shop is brought to listeners’s imaginations in a veritable soundscape. These are just a few spectacles from the twelve featured performances in Uni-verses: A Multimedia Portrait of You and Me.
After production on the last months of 2016, each unique piece told its story last January 6 and 7 at Pineapple Lab, Poblacion, Makati. Genres blurred and merged, died and resurfaced in the multimedia show featuring forms such as radio drama, live scoring, one-act drama, short film, spoken word, and even a fictional documentary with a live segment. The problems which the producers actually wished for occurred: Seating, especially on the second night, was packed.
Producer Cess Dalmas envisioned from the get-go that the show would be “more than a typical workshop’s culminating activity.” She and the whole team got more than what they wished for – eye bags, promotions, and the post-show high. The event, featured in CNN Philippines Life’s weekend activities lived up to its dream of being an independent art show. Uni-verses is actually the lovechild of a five-weekend writing workshop also produced by Performance Lab, The Writers’ Room. Each session featured coffee as raw and loud as the honesty and laughs as participants shared ideas with industry professionals. In truth, it was all more campfire than classroom.
As the opportunities to create and express get more and more accessible, the coming year promises to further develop artists both established and newly introduced. One need only look at local cinema and theater in the previous year, with festivals like Q Cinema and C1 Originals alongside revamped staples like Cinemalaya and the Metro Manila Film Festival (MMFF). Uni-verses too, won’t let up – after last weekend’s turnout, followers of the local performing art scene can bet their bottles on a second run this 2017. ~