Trials, Dreams, Illusions: Ang Paglilitis Kay Mang Serapio

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Trials, Dreams, Illusions:
Ang Paglilitis Kay Mang Serapio
Throughout the scene of the “trial” of Mang Serapio, we can already see a lot of deviations from what a normal play should be like. In order to start the discussion of the play itself, I would like to state some elements that remained a mystery to me, even as I reached the end of the story and read it again all together. For some reason, it is very hard to truly understand what the play is alluding to, but nonetheless, what I would state here is my reading and understanding of the text.

The idea that a “trial” is juxtaposed with the idea of a “federacion” of these people of a lower status in society is very illogical. This federation of sorts is actually a group of beggars where these beggars are supposed to pay a fixed amount of money to the federation every day. This tax seems somewhat surreal and the reader is then urged to question and learn the identity of this said federation. Why do beggars have to pay such a tax to these higher ups in their group? What benefits do they get from this so called “federacion”? These sorts of questions are not answered by the author. It remains a mystery that the reader must challenge and solve as he goes on through the story.

The play, in itself is actually a very simple one. However, defining it as such, may pose some problems from other readers and interpretations of the play. What I would like to say, by defining it in such a manner is that, the play is very different from other traditional plays. The play shows only one scene, with the dialogue revolves around a few characters talking in a roundabout manner. The scene of the trial, at the start of the story, can be first depicted at first glance as that of the scene of lawyers and trials that can be seen in television and in actual hearings. However, as one starts to read more about Mang Serapio, we can actually see that this trial is not as it seems. There are no lawyers here, no “justice” being...
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