The cast of "Middle Finger"
MANILA -- Tanghalang Ateneo, one of the country's longest running school-based theater groups, is celebrating its 36th year with a series of stage plays, focusing on the theme of "Navigating Identities."
The new season, which will mark the debut year of artistic director Glenn Sevilla Mas, will start off with Han Ong's "Middle Finger," a loose adaptation of the German play "Spring Awakening."
In an interview on ANC on Tuesday, director Ed Lacson Jr. described the season opener as a coming-of-age story of a group of Filipino students in America, trying to establish themselves as individuals.
He explained that while it deals with "heavy" topics such as sexual curiosity and racism, the group tried to give it a "hopeful" ending.
"The topics discussed are heavy but we are dealing with it in the way Filipinos deal with life, basically with a smile," Lacson said.
"And I think it is more poignant that way. The drama comes across better when you don't see people crying," he added.
One of the lead characters, Jakob Rodriguez, is portrayed by 23-year-old Guelan Laurca, who admitted that he found it difficult to revisit his teenage years for the role.
"In hindsight, the mistakes we commit ourselves as teenagers were out of whim and impulse. But while we were at that time in our lives, it were like a matter of life and death," he said.
"It was difficult to go back to that," he added.
Other members of the cast include Joe-Nel Garcia, Brian Ramos, Gab Tibayan, Avie Alcantara, Niki Calma, Marjorie Lorico, Dolly de Leon, David Bianco and Joseph dela Cruz.
All performances of "Middle Finger" will be held at Fine Arts Black Box Studio of the Ateneo de Manila University, on August 1-2, 4-9, 11-16 and 18-22. Shows starts at 7 p.m. with matinee performances starting at 3 p.m. (weekends).