Literary Theory and Criticism
A CRITICAL RESPONSE TO “OLI IMPAN”
The images of the urban lower depths are recognizably the material Alberto S. Florentino uses in his dramatic work “Oli Impan” which unmasks the desperate lives of informal settlers in Tondo yet gives a picture of how simple a little happiness can be evoked, delivering, in effect, the message the drama seeks to teach and elevating its style through its certain distinction and excellence of composition.
The setting and theme of “Oli Impan” tell much about what of life it mirrors, that is, the living conditions of people in the slums of Tondo. The fraught lives of these ‘squatters’ and their refusal to move out from their settlements in the ‘bombed ruins of an old government building of Juan Luna’ presented in the drama are a clear depiction of what real denizens of Tondo, or even those of other slums, actually experience. The lack of education, a direct effect of this poverty, is to some extent made visible through the boy’s incorrect pronunciation of the lyrics of the song “Silent Night”.
The fact that the drama portrays the indigent families who settle illegitimately in the area and who refuse to leave is clear evidence of it not being censored. It is a very contradiction of a good and beautiful society where people submit themselves to the law, contribute productivity and achieve mobility. The drama also reveals a filthy way of earning a living through the boy’s lines about his mother’s job. Apparently, the mother is a prostitute for there are mentions that she reads only men’s hands, does it in the dark, and would not let the boy see what she is doing. This presents another ugly reality of the great extent of desperation an individual has and the hideous choice he or she makes just to survive in an ill life.
It is identifiable, nevertheless, that the presentation of this ugly reality gets across a certain message to its audience as it attempts to convey values. After...
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