I've written about the WifiBody.ph 2016 http://www.manilatimes.net/wifibody-ph-the-diamond-emerges/282402/ but was not able to talk about my FEELINGS. And because I am truly a sentimental fool, here goes.
Sometimes, art leaves an imprint. It affects the soul. I saw "Alas Tres" Choreographed by Gabvelle Ray Selga during the Wifi Body.ph and I cried,... a lot. It was the last piece of Segment A and when the lights opened, I was reduced to mush, smiling but hardly able to speak.
A video is more appropriate in detailing what occurred but I will attempt anyway. A simple man (who I will call Dingdong ) sat in a bench and started speaking as if he were chatting with someone. He spoke about snippets of his life mentioning family along the way. Almost gracefully he transitioned into incorporating the bench into his little stories. The chatter opened the book of stories but the bench took us to every chapter. Dingdong introduced a certain someone by way of stories and eventually by way of movement. They shared the bench in every way possible, at the sari sari store, at home, in bed. As they shared the prop, the theatrics and the movement transported me into a very real home.
Suddenly I felt like I was a guest in their sala witnessing their intimacy bit by bit. The girl nagged, Dingdong obliged. The girl pushed, he accepted the floor. The girl cleaned, he cleaned with her. The girl had coffee, he had coffee. Dingdong always followed. He never led but he never complained. One could say he was even happy to do everything or for that matter, anything for her. Love, hate, love, hate, tango of a relationship as some would say. It was clear, he loved her so. It reminded me of Dolphy's iconic John and Marsha tv show. Cute and comical it was.
But this story as I mentioned does not end on a happy note. Her strides started to falter and she stopped pushing him away and started pulling him towards her body. She leaned towards him, needing him with every step she took. No longer demanding anything she reached out to him in an adagio of pain. He always answered, .... always. And as the lights went dim he went back to where his bench used to lay and started what would be the ending to this story. He started begging "Panahon. Kahit 30 minutes, 20 minutes, 10 minutes Wag muna ngayon. Hindi pa ko handa"........... and in the final moments of his piece as he took took his final pose, a voice over said " Handa na ko. Pasabi nalang sa kanya Lord na andito na ko sa langit, masaya na so maging masaya na rin sana siya jan sa lupa. Alam mo sa lahat ng nakwento ko, sa amin ang pinakapaborito ko. Pakisabi nlang, salamat sa lahat". It was him who left her after all. He loved her greatly until the end, never ever showing any weakness, only that he would be there to hold her hand while he could. He cherished every moment and fought death hard.
This piece spoke to me because the heart was what shaped it. This piece did not bag any prize. But it won in my heart because it brought me to a familiar place. It brought me to a moment in time where I was praying so hard to God screaming silently " Not yet. Not now". Triggered by the story telling, flashbacks came rushing one after the other. I remembered the intensity of loving someone I was about to lose. I remembered not minding the sacrifices that came with it. Lastly, I remembered the blow of death and the enduring pain of loss. The piece brought me tears ( It still does actually) because it was too real for comfort. But it also brought me closure.That has not really put a stop to the crying but it does soothe me. Death separates people but allows love to endure. Love indeed is powerful, it moves people to appreciate the good, to understand, to forgive, to accept. It moves people to let go.
I believe that some art can heal the soul. This certainly healed mine.
So thank you Mr. Selga for allowing us to enjoy the movement you have so cleverly created. Thank you for choosing to share your heart with me and the rest of the audience. It was a precious embrace that I so badly needed. Thank you for saying what I needed to hear. Bravo.