URGENT: Walang Kukurap!

Suzette Ranillo (Christina) is threatened by Ced Torrecarion (Alex). Catch Tanghalang Pilipino’s “Walang Kukurap” and many other shows at the 4th National Theater Fest from Nov 7-18, 2012 at the CCP. Photo by Jude Bautista

Written and photographed

By Jude Bautista

Gutierrez (Nar Cabico) is an SK chairman trying to convince his mom not to attend a funeral of his childhood friend and neighbor. His mother Doray (Doray Dayao) chides him and drags him to it.

Gutierrez: Kaya tinatawanan yung pagtakbo niyo ng Mayor e. Ma nasa tunay na mundo po tayo wala tayo sa laboratoryo niyo sa University. Tsaka balwarte nina Marky yung kina Pong pag pumunta tayo dun babato batuhin tayo dun…. Doray:Dami mong satsat. Kung inawat mo yung anak ni Santiago at anak ni Christina, de sana buhay pa si Pong ngayon. Ano ginawa o sa halip na awatin sila ayan nakipag bubugan ka pa! Gutierrez: Kung inawat ko ma ako naman yung na bugbog! Baka ako pa nga yung namatay e. Doray: Mas mabuting namatay ka dahil gumagawa ka ng tama. Kesa tong buhay ka nga di ka naman makaharap sa mga tao. Halika na!

Doray Dayao (Doray) and son Nar Cabico (Gutierrez) steal the show. Catch Tanghalang Pilipino’s “Walang Kukurap” and many other shows at the 4th National Theater Fest from Nov 7-18, 2012 at the CCP. Photo by Jude Bautista

Theater is mostly known as a form entertainment. But when it is well written and performed it can be a powerful tool for education as well. This is the case for “Walang Kukurap” written by Layeta P. Bucoy. The play produced by Tanghalang Pilipino can be seen during the 4th National Theater Festival on November 13, 2012 (2pm and 7pm) at the CCP. The whole fest will gather theater productions from around the country and will run from Nov. 7-18, 2012.

VIP audience from right: Mel Rutaquio, Sen. Koko Pimentel, Cong. Teddy Casiño, wife Ruth G. Cervantes-Casiño and Mae Paner (Juana Change). Catch Tanghalang Pilipino’s “Walang Kukurap” and many other shows at the 4th National Theater Fest from Nov 7-18, 2012 at the CCP. Photo by Jude Bautista

Gloc 9 during the Concert ng Bayan. Gloc 9’s “Bugtong” is used in the Tanghalang Pilipino’s “Walang Kukurap.” Catch it and many other shows at the 4th National Theater Fest from Nov 7-18, 2012 at the CCP. Photo by Jude Bautista

It has everything that Pinoys crave for in a story: comedy, action, drama, suspense, romance and even rap. Although there are a few rap portions from Gloc 9’s “Bugtong” who made a surprise appearance during the regular run, it is not a musical. The play “Walang Kukurap” has all the elements that will entertain audiences.  Perhaps more importantly it is thought provoking.

from right: Jonathan Tadioan (Lu) grabs Ced Torrecarion (Alex). Catch Tanghalang Pilipino’s “Walang Kukurap” and many other shows at the 4th National Theater Fest from Nov 7-18, 2012 at the CCP. Photo by Jude Bautista

from left: Stand off between Jonathan Tadioan (Lu) and Ced Torrecarion (Alex). Catch Tanghalang Pilipino’s “Walang Kukurap” and many other shows at the 4th National Theater Fest from Nov 7-18, 2012 at the CCP. Photo by Jude Bautista

One of the obvious lessons that it imparts is that there ARE Filipino candidates who are dedicated, have a proven track record and are qualified in terms of experience, intellect and morals. The problem is that the electorate, the masa, the great majority of voters who determine their leaders do not vote for them. The system is all about vote buying, guns, goons and gold.

Mymy Davao (Melba) and Remus Villanueva (Vic). Catch Tanghalang Pilipino’s “Walang Kukurap” and many other shows at the 4th National Theater Fest from Nov 7-18, 2012 at the CCP. Photo by Jude Bautista

Walang Kukurap gives a very candid, real, behind the scenes look behind how candidates are chosen, who gets to run and why. Everything is determined and influenced by gambling, drugs, money and criminal syndicates. Political dynasties are the norm because these families have the resources and influence to keep themselves in power. Elections become a rivalry between competing clans.

Crispin Pineda (Molong) grabs Sherry Lara (Purita). Catch Tanghalang Pilipino’s “Walang Kukurap” and many other shows at the 4th National Theater Fest from Nov 7-18, 2012 at the CCP. Photo by Jude Bautista

If this is the system how will our country be able to rise from poverty and suffering? And yet there is hope. If people only realize that the money and favors they receive also come from their taxes and they end up benefiting more from the ‘right’ candidates, there IS a chance for change.

from left: Ced Torrecarion (Alex), Jonathan Tadioan (Lu) and Crispin Pineda (Molong). Catch Tanghalang Pilipino’s “Walang Kukurap” and many other shows at the 4th National Theater Fest from Nov 7-18, 2012 at the CCP. Photo by Jude Bautista

The play was written long before the late DILG Secretary Jesse Robredo passed on from a plane crash. Robredo was proof that leadership could be upright and have a sincere motivation for public service. His loss has become a legacy and a reminder for the electorate to choose their leaders wisely. The message is even more important for the country with upcoming local elections for 2013. If more people can watch “Walang Kukurap” it is more effective than any voter education seminar.

from left: Marco Viaña (Marky) and Remus Villanueva (Vic). Catch Tanghalang Pilipino’s “Walang Kukurap” and many other shows at the 4th National Theater Fest from Nov 7-18, 2012 at the CCP. Photo by Jude Bautista

from right: Crispin Pineda (Molong), Ding Navasero (Santiago), Sen. Koko Pimentel, Cong Teddy Casiño, Suzette Ranillo (Christina), Director Tuxqs Rutaquio, Nonoy Froilan (Santiago Sr.) and Mel Rutaquio. Catch Tanghalang Pilipino’s “Walang Kukurap” and many other shows at the 4th National Theater Fest from Nov 7-18, 2012 at the CCP. Photo by Jude Bautista

In the audience the night I photographed the play, were Sen. Koko Pimentel and Cong. Teddy Casiño. They are both very qualified senatorial candidates who have backgrounds as activists and astute legislators. Neither of them have the vast resources and machinery of other candidates.

Suzette Ranillo (Christina) and Lou Veloso (Papang). Tanghalang Pilipino’s “Walang Kukurap” is running from September to October at the Cultural Center of the Phil. Photo by Jude Bautista

Suzette Ranillo is Christina forced to run because of the cost of medical expenses for her ailing father (Lou Veloso). Ranillo is able to portray the slow descent into corruption of her character. Too many compromises trap her into a spiral of violence and greed. After an impressive performance in Raymond Red’s “Kamera Obskura”, Ranillo shows her acting talents and skill in live theater. Delphine Buencamino who plays Christina’s daughter Mirra has sizzling scenes with Mateo (Ralph Mateo). Delphine is also the lead in critically acclaimed “Orosman and Zafira” which can also be seen at the 4th National Theater fest November 17-18.

Delphine Buencamino (Mirra) and Ralph Mateo (Mateo) in sizzling love scene. Catch Tanghalang Pilipino’s “Walang Kukurap” and many other shows at the 4th National Theater Fest from Nov 7-18, 2012 at the CCP. Photo by Jude Bautista

from left: Sherry Lara (Purita) , Suzette Ranillo (Christina) and Mymy Davao (Melba). Catch Tanghalang Pilipino’s “Walang Kukurap” and many other shows at the 4th National Theater Fest from Nov 7-18, 2012 at the CCP. Photo by Jude Bautista

Mymy Davao has worked in TV and is perfect as the greedy city hall finance officer Melba. She prods her own daughter Rhoda (Regina De Vera) to run for mayor. Nar Cabico (Gutierrez) and Doray Dayao (Doray) steal the show as the mother and son who constantly argue. Doray is the idealistic college professor and conspiracy theorist who makes sure to run for office in spite of all the challenges. Nar also takes on rap songs in between scenes. The two have the funniest lines in the play.

Doray Dayao (Doray) and son Nar Cabico (Gutierrez) steal the show. Catch Tanghalang Pilipino’s “Walang Kukurap” and many other shows at the 4th National Theater Fest from Nov 7-18, 2012 at the CCP. Photo by Jude Bautista

Campaign speeches of mayoralty candidates Sherry Lara (Purita) and Nonoy Froilan (Santiago Sr.). Catch Tanghalang Pilipino’s “Walang Kukurap” and many other shows at the 4th National Theater Fest from Nov 7-18, 2012 at the CCP. Photo by Jude Bautista

Director Tuxqs Rutaquio’s background as set designer was apparent here. His inventive use of two levels maximized limited space. The second level also worked as a platform where candidates made their campaign speeches. Walang Kukurap as a play wins by a landslide but if we don’t act and educate others our country loses again in the next election.

Creative team from right: Sound designer TJ Ramos, Director Tuxqs Rutaquio, Playwright Layeta P. Bucoy and TP Artistic Director Nanding Josef. Catch Tanghalang Pilipino’s “Walang Kukurap” and many other shows at the 4th National Theater Fest from Nov 7-18, 2012 at the CCP. Photo by Jude Bautista

from right: Cong Teddy Casiño with cast: Regina De Vera (Rhoda), Nar Cabico (Gutierrez) Delphine Buencamino (Mirra), Ced Torrecarion (Alex) and Marco Viaña (Marky). Catch Tanghalang Pilipino’s “Walang Kukurap” and many other shows at the 4th National Theater Fest from Nov 7-18, 2012 at the CCP. Photo by Jude Bautista

VIP fans from left: Sen. Koko Pimentel, TP Artistic Director Nanding Josef, Jun Lozada, Cong. Teddy Casiño, Director Tuxqs Rutaquio and TP Mktg Mgr. Cherry Bong Z. Edralin. Catch Tanghalang Pilipino’s “Walang Kukurap” and many other shows at the 4th National Theater Fest from Nov 7-18, 2012 at the CCP. Photo by Jude Bautista

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