"Of Hopelessness and Commitment"
Notes after watching the play GAPOK
from Sining Kadamay
At first, this person is ought to say that the play, although it is short, shows the lives of those who are continue to resist amidst hopelessness as urban poor dwellers, especially amidst the threat in their communities, under siege by greedy developers as well as the failure to address problems surrounding the plight of these masses, particularly their right for shelter, livelihood, and perhaps a decent voice as any other members of a community especially in the developed enclaves of the metro.
Through Sining Kadamay's first presentation in 2016, entitled GAPOK, features a family whose sons having warring views: the elder tries to defend their home from being demolished by greedy developers while the other, driven by hunger, is willing to evacuate and demolish their homes in exchange for a promise for a relocation site as well as a regular job in a construction company. These two brother's warring views involves a mother, whose leadership in a community group supported her eldest son's struggle for shelter and livelihood while trying to insist her younger son not to engage in demolishing but instead to fight and defend their home and their community, knowing that their relocation site is as underdeveloped if not prone to disaster, or having a job yet unlikely to be called "permanent" or any other sugar-coated promise as sly developers would say; worse, having a husband, father of the two and one of the leaders of the urban poor group, has trying to fight for his life in the hospital due to a serious illness.
Apologies if the video seemed to be blurry
Such problems would say that it is like any other story involving the Filipino poor, or as what Frantz Fanon described as "the wretched of the earth." Regardless of being stereotypically depicted as dirty, smelly, easy to used beings, of living in dwellings out of rusty roofs and plywood, with tarpaulins trying to keep away from heat and rain, of seeing drunkards if not fishwives, and flies over someone else's shit scattered in the streets, These people are struggling for their lives, rights, particularly those of shelter, food, jobs, livelihood, and others necessary for their well-being. They do work hard as any other citizen would do, yet these are driven by survival rather than to uplift their status in life, obviously marred by crisis as evidenced by rising costs of goods and services.
However, these people are also easy to enticed by certain interests, whose tangible illusions being offered to them be enough to do something that can hinder other's right such as those of shelter and livelihood, "all for practicality's sake" as what they think of such as those of getting a job, money, and even a relocation site to start their lives from scratch; yet does not mean these illusions, although tangible, possibly get out from their sordid exisetence and uplift their lives as any other citizen has to achieve. Worse, can be short term that made some returned to their old communities and rebuild their lives on that same place as possible.
And these two warring ideas of the common urban poor dweller has been manifested in a form of brothers whose views be simply expressed into two different views: to defend their community or to demolish it, to fight for their lives regardless of hunger or to get away with it for the sake of petty comforts as any other poor being promised by a sly and self-serving rich; an allegory of what is commonly seen in a sordid community whose struggle also includes situations between life or death.
Anyways, this writer, like all others who had watched, would say that through Sining Kadamay's presentation, it tends to apply Bertolt Brecht's idea of a community theatre whose ideas be enough to break away the fourth wall, if not going beyond the usual structure of the air-conditioned theatre whose plays has made everyone used to see, watch and enjoy with; just to emphasise truth through facts as being depicted in that presentation, that also somehow obviously being shown in districts affected by that two-faced development. Be it at Sitio San Roque, or even at Kasiyahan wherein that play has also been shown.