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Step into ‘The Imaginarium’: A world of the absurd

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THE millennial demographic, Generation Y, has always been criticized for being far too indifferent and self-absorbed. In an age governed by exuberant narcissism and fast-paced social media, is there still room for art to flourish?

The Sandbox Collective, an up-and-coming Manila-based performing arts group, thinks so.

Following the success of their inaugural production “Dani Girl” last July at the RCBC Plaza, Makati, The Sandbox Collective mounted another event for people of all ages to enjoy – ““The Imaginarium”,” a “multi-arts festival of the absurd,” which ran from Oct. 28 to 31 at the PETA Theater Center, New Manila, Quezon City.

A meeting of different worlds, a festival of the absurd

The Imaginarium is what The Sandbox Collective managing artistic director Toff De Venecia would describe as a “cross-pollination of [different] ideas and cultures.”

It is a collaboration of creative forces, of curators from different backgrounds assembled to showcase the best acts in varying genres including film, fashion, dance, visual arts, improvisation, spoken word, music, food and beverage, and theater.

“We see theatre as a way to escape, but in ‘The Imaginarium,’ we wanted it to be like a conversation, a two-way street,” shares artistic associate Kayla Teodoro.

In the span of four days, all acts played simultaneously in three different stages under a single roof, possessing the idea of “the absurd” in nature as a commonality.

“The absurd” refers to a philosophical school of thought which prevailed as a stylistic movement among European playwrights, particularly the French, after World War II. It refers to the conflict which arises between man’s attempt at rationalizing his existence and his inability to do so.

“’Theatre of the Absurd’ is a style that I use very loosely in my shows. It seems to resonate with me and I feel that it resonates with this new generation where we’re always trying to question or justify our existence,” De Venecia said.

“The Imaginarium” experience

Serving as the festival’s headline is “Dani Girl,” The Sandbox Collective’s successful re-imagining of an off-Broadway musical centered around Dani Lyons (Rebecca Coates), a cancer patient who embarks on a journey to answer the question, “Why is cancer?” Ultimately, the play is an unforgettable tale of acceptance, courage, friendship, and hope.

Opening for the festival is Real-Life Fairytales, a song cycle comprised of original compositions of composer and musical director Ejay Yatco. The songs enable the audience to experience the extraordinary realities from the perspectives of everyday people—their inner thoughts, feelings, fears, and frustrations.  As the title suggests, Real-Life Fairytales opens an entirely different reality, shattering whatever promises fairytales impart.

Inspired by real-life events is “The Maids,” a gender-bending re-staging of the play written by French absurdist Jean Genet. It follows the story of two sisters, Claire and Solange, and their sadomasochistic roleplaying as maids to their employer, Madam. In the end, however, the sisters realize that they have played their roles all too well.

Fresh from the roster of New Breed entries in this year’s Cinemalaya is #Y, Gino Santos’ story of four friends belonging to the upper middle class strata and explores their inclination to social media, alcohol, drugs, and potent suicidal tendencies. While #Y attempts to address a problem this generation faces, the film fails in delivering a resolution and leaves an absurd denouement.

One of the most off-kilter acts was Red Exorcism by the SEOP Dance Company who flew exclusively from Korea. The act revolves around the concept of “sit-gim” (being washed). Imbibed with sheer raw and artistry, Kim Yong Chul and the rest of SEOP blew the audience away with their intricate and enticing choreography.

Finally, contemporary dance group Daloy Dance Co. take center stage with Dysmoprhilia, a collage of twisted physiologies that explore body issues in the form of dance. It is a display of fluidity and dynamics through human kinetics.

Some of the acts also include other musicals such as “The Glass Menagerie”and “TheBoy in the Bathroom”; screenings of various local independent films including Marie Jamora’s Ang Nawawala, Sigrid Bernardo’s “Ang Huling Cha Cha ni Anita,” etc.; live art by Dex Fernandez and Leeroy New; and spoken word performances by The Polaris Project and premiere improvisational company SPIT.

Why art still matters

“I think this kind of festival matters kasi, alam mo ‘yun, ma-o-open naman sila (the youth) to something different,” said Natalie Estrada, a senior Fine Arts major, along with Rafael Lubigan, a junior Communication Arts major. Both are members of Teatrino Tomasino and interns of The Sandbox Collective.

“It still matters kasi art is art. You need it. It enriches your soul,” Lubigan argues.

“If you keep exposing yourself to the same thing (art), na-li-limit ka so you need to expose yourself more. You need to feed your art.”

 

Photo by Joshua Lugti

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13 “Mood” Tweets Celebrating UST’s Stepladder Win Against UP 

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The UST Growling Tigers were not alone in the celebration of their win against UP Fighting Maroons as the support of the whole Thomasian community was roaring from every University building and every nook of social media, especially Twitter. 

We compiled several tweets that express their congratulatory remarks in a creative way. 

1. UST CSC President Robert Gonzales tweeted a photo that shows a letter jokingly addressed to the Secretary General with the hope of suspending classes following game day. 

2. A tweet also explained the science behind the opponent’s failure to score a three-pointer.

3. Ah, yes. A self-degrading reply that explains why it isn’t science at all. 

4. Here’s some motivation gained from Subido’s clutch win! Way to go, Thomasians! 

5. The competition is not just between UST and Ateneo. 

6. Even Internet’s child, Scarlet Snow Belo, couldn’t pick one! 

7. Renzo Subido has swept not just the win, but also fans’ hearts. 

8. Honestly, we’re not offended. (paano_kapag_walang_class_chz.jpeg)

9. It doesn’t matter if you’re illiterate in the basketball language, as long as you cheer and support your team!

10. Indeed, the Growling Tigers strutted through opponents with a “tabi-dadaan-kami-attitude”. 

11. Whilom, who? Oh wait. It’s a word.

12. UST may have won against them, but their toilets are about to take a huge feat.

13. And of course, the classic Thomasian move: ghosting.

The fight is not over as the Growling Tigers try to hustle against Ateneo Blue Eagles in a best-of-three finals which commences this coming Saturday, November 16. 

Whether support will be shown by attending the game or by cheering for the winning team through convenient social media accounts, the Thomasian spirit will surely bleed through a swarm of blue.  

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Fighting Back, One ‘OK, Boomer’ at a Time

Just like the statement “men are trash,” the phrase “OK, boomer” is attacking a system rather than an individual. It challenges the mindset of the boomers that refuses to embrace change; ones who still cling to discriminatory remarks and outdated ideologies.

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It started as a TikTok meme. Then, a New Zealand lawmaker used it to address a rude comment in parliament.

The youth has often been the subject of judgment because of their tendency to be politically-correct and woke, especially from elders who view them as “overly-sensitive snowflakes.” 

What’s the youth’s response? “Ok, boomer.”

Recently, the phrase “OK, boomer” has been circulating around the internet, and has become the rallying cry of the youth against the older folks and the system they perpetuated over the years. 

The said phrase mocks baby boomers; the generation born between 1946 and 1964. The generation got its name from the huge increase in birth rate after World War II, and is considered as a prosperous time.

The popular use of the phrase circulates in TikTok where it is used to mock elders and their prejudices towards the youth. 

It became more popular when media outlets highlighted the term after Chlöe Swarbrick, a 25-year-old lawmaker from New Zealand was discussing the Zero Carbon Bill, which aims to cut the carbon emissions of New Zealand. In the video, a heckler commented about her age, in which she went off-script to retort “OK, Boomer.”

Netizens also used the phrase to call out the Department of Foreign Affairs Secretary Teddy Boy Locsin Jr. after cursing out a journalist on Twitter.

“OK, boomer,” later on became a perfect response to the generation on being problematic. An old, rich man complaining about millennials destroying everything? OK, boomer. An aunt of yours mocking your liberal arts degree, commenting on how easy it is? OK, boomer. Some random professor accusing you of being a “dilawan” and red-tagging you because of your Facebook posts? OK, boomer.

However, critics are crying foul over this phrase, with complaints mostly coming from older people. Some even compared the phrase to a racial slur, saying that it promotes ageism and discrimination. Critics think that it’s a below-the-belt attack against the boomers, a foul remark akin to bullying and racism. Well, sorry to say but it’s not.

To set the record straight, the boomers also fought for peace, racial equality and women’s empowerment at their time. What “OK, Boomer” addresses is not the people itself but their outdated way of thinking that is harming our society. 

Just like the statement “men are trash,” the phrase “OK, boomer” is attacking a system rather than an individual. It challenges the mindset of the boomers that refuses to embrace change; ones who still cling to discriminatory remarks and outdated ideologies. It wants boomers to  acknowledge that they have collectively done actions that contributed to societal issues such as climate change and worsening economy. It attempts to shake the narrative, making an older generation acknowledge the voice of the youth, making them act because they have the power and experience to do so.

This meme-worthy clapback is not just a collective sigh towards the problematic views of the old or a funny catchphrase hurled towards killjoy boomers—it is a statement, a call for action, a protest against problematic beliefs and actions.

It is a warning to the older that the kids aren’t alright and they are fighting back, one “OK, Boomer” at a time.

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Films to watch in Cinema One Originals 2019

Returning to cinemas and theaters on its 15th year, Cinema One Originals has launched its roster of films ranging from the genres of thriller, romance, and more! The film festival showcases various stories that will surely make the viewers’ minds wonder what lies beyond the trailers.

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Photo from Cinama One Originals Facebook page

Over the past decade, Cinema One Originals has given rise to a number of films that marked the hearts and minds of the Filipino. Through the artistry and expertise of Filipino filmmakers in cinematography and production, it has already showcased great films which became hit to the public like Imburnal (2008) by Sherad Anthony Sanchez, Violator (2014) by Eduardo Dayao, That Thing Called Tadhana (2014) by Antoinette Jadaone and Paki (2016) by Gian Carlo Abraham. These films have been lauded for its excellence, exception plots, and its appeal to viewers alike. 

Returning to cinemas and theaters on its 15th year, Cinema One Originals has launched its roster of films ranging from the genres of thriller, romance, and more! The film festival showcases various stories that will surely make the viewers’ minds wonder what lies beyond the trailers. So, Hurry up! Gather your friends now and buy your popcorn as Cinema One Originals proudly presents the following films for this year’s festival!

Tayo Muna Habang Hindi Pa Tayo by Denise O’Hara

Photo from Cinama One Originals Facebook page

Relevant to the relationship which the generation engages today, Tayo Muna Habang Hindi Pa Tayo portrays the relationship of two individuals who share sensual experiences and romantic gestures with each other. However, both of the characters in the film do not share the same sentiment when it comes to commitment. In the end, they both part ways in the realization that such intimacy cannot just be shared with just anyone.

Yours Truly, Shirley by Nigel Santos

Photo from Cinema One Originals Facebook page

 

After hearing a song by popstar Jhameson, Shirley is convinced that the popstar is a reincarnation of her late husband, Ronaldo. In the film, Shirley is seen to invest time and effort as she obsessively admires the popstar in the event of coping up with the pains and struggles of losing her beloved husband. 

Metamorphosis by J.E. Tiglao

Photo from Cinema One Originals Facebook page

Metamorphosis reveals not a lot but says so much in its trailer. As it depicts the metamorphosis of a butterfly, there is a teenager in the background showing its life on a daily basis. It tackles the life of an individual born with male and female genitals.  

Utopia by Dustin Celestino

Photo from Cinema One Originals Facebook page

Set in the dingy and dark parts of the city, Utopia depicts the meeting of a rookie police officer, vlogger, and an undercover agent as they try to uncover the delivery of dangerous and illegal substances. Utopia is about crime, thrill, wit and reality all in a perfect sandwich ready to keep you at the edge of your seat. 

O by Kevin Dayrit

Photo from Cinema One Originals Facebook page

Pleasant in the forms of the soft sweet piano songs, sleek sofas and white linens, O talks about the story of a beguiled morgue intern Maria who is forced by the vampire Matilda to be a blood pusher and sell blood to other vampires. Twisted and unconventional, Maria is driven to do vile actions to accumulate blood in exchange for knowledge about the creatures roaming in the dark. 

Tia Madre by Eve Baswel

Photo from Cinema One Originals Facebook page

Tia Madre takes in the form of a middle-aged woman who ardently loves her daughter. However, Emilia, the mother of a 10-year old girl, is a harboring alcoholic who abhors to be called a mother. Her daughter tries to compensate with her mother in the hopes that things will turn back to normal, as it should be.

Lucid by Natts Jadaone, Victor Villanueva, and Dan Villegas

Photo from Cinema One Originals Facebook page

Ann Cruz is a typical individual who leads a monotonous life. She works a nine to five job, goes home, and the cycle repeats. However, when she sleeps, she is not just the Ann Cruz in her waking life. At night, she is a lucid dreamer who goes on dates and engages in scenarios that favours her. She later on meets a man who challenges her to dream more than she does.

Sila-Sila by Gian Carlo Abraham

Photo from Cinema One Originals Facebook page

Sila-Sila is a coming-of-age film that tells a story of a 30-year old man who attempts to reconnect with his past friends and ex lovers in a class reunion. 

The screening of the eight films will run from November 7-17, 2019. Indeed, November is another exciting month for cineastes out there!

Photo from Cinema One Originals Facebook page

For the full list of screening schedules and further details, visit the Cinema One Originals Facebook page or their website regarding the event.

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