Now that Pride Month is just around the corner, a pink production that must be part of the Beautiful Ones must-see is Laro, a play written by Floy Quintos with additional material by Miguel Castro, an adaptation of Arthur Schnitzler’s La Ronde.
Director John Mark Yap breathes new life to this play that highlights interlocking encounters between men who have sex with other men from different societal groups who are on the look-out for bliss after every tryst, true love, happiness, and validation.
First produced by Theater Now!, former experimental arm of Gantimpala Theater, in November 2004, six performances were performed in Luneta and additional six performances at the Tanghalang Huseng Batute of the Cultural Center of the Philippines.
Cast members of the original production were Marcus Madrigal, Andoy Ranay, Dexter Santos, Peter Serrano, Juliene Mendoza, JoMari Jose, Miguel Castro, Perry Escano. Neil Ryan Sese, and Roli Inocencio.
For this millennial reincarnation, André Miguel plays the Call Boy who believes and hopes for true love. Paul Jake Paule is the flip-flopping Pulis.
Phi Palmos is the Lady Boy who does not know how to compute plays. Gio Gahol and Mike Liwag alternate the role of the bad boy we just cannot get enough of, the Manggagamit.
MC Dela Cruz portrays the role of the Kalaguyo with Al Gatmaitan and Victor Sy alternate the role of the Ideal, the supposedly aspirational gay coupling. Ross Pesigan plays the Estudyante, the nubile delight while Jon Abella and Vincent Pajara alternate the role of the closeted Manunulat.
Jonathan Ivan Rivera and Jay Gonzaga alternate the role of the coveted Modelo. Vincent A. DeJesus portrays the role of the predatory Pilantropo.
The biggest challenge of the script by Quintos and Castro, says director John Mark, “It was really understanding these 10 characters. These 10 complex characters who come from different walks of life but are all broken in their own way. Luckily, with the help of my talented actors, we were able to discuss and create the backstories of these characters and make them as real as possible. They’re grounded to reality so we really tried our best to let that be seen on stage.”
From what I witnessed during the press preview, Laro is emotionally violent. Your baser instincts will be titillated but at the same time, you cannot help but feel all the anger, ambivalence, sexual predation, and an innocence so pure you cannot help but wonder if you need to believe and cling to it knowing that the wish comes from a juvenile corrupted by the lure of easy money and the giving in to the calling of one’s loins. And yes, brace yourself for the ending, this descent from gay hell will make appalled and turned on at the same time.
Laro will run on the first two weekends of the Pride Month for 8 shows only: today and tomorrow, on June 8, and 9, with 3:00 p.m. and 7:00 p.m. on all show dates. It will be staged at Arts Above, Penthouse of West Venue Building (BIR), West Avenue, Quezon City.
Tickets can be purchased at Ticket2Me.net. For more inquiries, contact Ira at 0915-832-9579.
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