I have never felt so deep into the theatre arts until I experienced Battalia Royale. I am so used to watching mostly mainstream musicals or passive plays that I did not expect to be standing or sitting on the curbs let alone running from time to time to follow the story of the play. It was different, it was an experience.
Based on the Battle Royal the movie, the story revolved around an entire class of high school from Our Lady of Guadalupe in Manila who was kidnapped and forced to play the game of kill or be killed. The class has 8 hours to play and produce one winner or else they no one survives. The winning student differs every night so it is always interesting. Witness how friendship, loyalty, love as well as deceit, betrayal and manipulation led to the death or survival of the different characters.
The following are the things I really liked:
- The actors and crew. I am amazed at how dedicated the actors of Battalia Royale to their craft. Performing off the real stage and spending most of their time being dragged around or falling dead to rubble floors is no easy feat. I bet they get scratches all the time. Neither is it easy to perform in dark unfamiliar places especially if the acting involves running or climbing. The acting was good as well. These people are the ones who are following their dreams fueled by their passion. Great work.
- The writers. The excitement of the writers even if they know the story was pretty cute to witness. They were running along with us documenting what was going on.
- The rawness. No fancy lightings, props nor sounds were used but they effectively communicated what the story was about. The group was resourceful and had efficiently used the venue.
And…just a few suggestions:
- Use of just one language. I do not know if acting the whole play entirely in English will render Battalia Royale conversations unnatural but I feel like only one language should be used. I would prefer it to be in English so that even audience from outside of the country can follow and appreciate the story.
- A break. Although, we were free to take a break anytime, we did not want to miss anything. A 15-20 minute break will be good for the audience to refresh and have some air.
- Improved lighting of the space. I found the place way too dark for it to be run around safely. There were steps and uneven pavements to think about when getting from one place to another. I almost ran myself into the wing of the helicopter/airplane spot as well (good thing I ducked in time). This is just to minimize accidents.
Let me run down some reminders before experiencing Battalia Royale:
- Be in your most comfortable outfit. Long pants and cotton shirt are your best bet. Be in your comfortable shoes as well. Bring handkerchief because you will sweat and remember to wear something you won’t mind getting stained (although, the blood that splattered on me did not stain, just to be sure).
- Do not bring heavy things with you but bring a fan and water (you can buy water from the venue as well).
- Eat prior the show. It ran for more than 3 hours if I am not mistaken so eat a little.
- No photo or video allowed so leave your gadgets behind.
- Remember to follow the rules.
- This show is R17, anyone below 17 is not allowed to experience the show.
The staging was made possible by almost a hundred cast and crew who are from Mapua Tekno Teatro and Dulaang Perpetual, three writers from Australia, and company members of Sipat Lawin Ensamble.
Staging at Museo Pambata, 7:00pm on September 14, 15, 16, 21, 22 & 23.
Tickets at Php 450 each