“Huwag kaming kalilimutan. Kaming mga bumagsak sa kadiliman.”
Though the parting lines of Sisa, Crispin and Basilio in the Noh play Ang Paglalakbay ni Sisa were a little creepy, it was nevertheless very effective. Memorable, as what they had been aiming it to be. This was the first Noh play I’ve watched and I don’t think I’ll forget it, what with the intense emotional experience and the appreciation for both Japanese and Philippine cultures it has brought me.
A Noh play is a traditional play in Japan that usually depicts a soul—a troubled one, at that—who comes back to the world of the living to settle whatever disturbs her when she was still alive and she has brought with her to the grave. In this Noh, the spirit was Sisa. She comes back to confront Padre Salvi and find her sons Crispin and Basilio. Padre Salvi, on the other hand, goes pilgrimages to Laguna to find the grave of Sisa to pray for her, and ask her to forgive him, and give him peace.
In this reinvention of the story of Sisa by Amelia Lapeña Bonifacio and under the direction of Omiwaka Sensei, the Noh incorporated dramatic and powerful scoring, dazzling costumes, sophisticatedly delivered lines, and a beautiful set to achieve an awe-inspiring effect on its audience. I was honestly mesmerized, on edge, and captivated on my seat as I watched the play.
It was effective in building up emotions on its audience. It could have been a little boring in the beginning, but that is overlooked as little by little, the story gains pace, the emotions build up, and suddenly, the audience are absorbed into the story, into the words of the actors. It is a gripping experiencing that forced me to rethink and fully appreciate the talent of Asians and the beauty of Filipino culture.
I think that the Mrs. Bonifacio was right to attempt to re-invent and introduce various stories of the Philippines to this generation by borrowing from the Japanese culture through devices such as Noh. This is internationalism, the...
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