Words by Sophia Teaño
Graphics by Joselle Fajardo
If the past comes knocking at your door, what will it say? Blackbird is a play with a plot just about that. The story unravels around the past relationship between Ray and Una, delving into the answers they have longed for from each other. Below are quotes which encapsulate the highlights of Blackbird.
“I was going to Kleenex you to death.”
The intentions…and the humor. When Una one day shows up in Ray’s office, what does she want to get out of it? Revenge? Reconciliation? Closure? Blackbird delves on how these two people will tackle their unresolved past. Aside from that, they also come into realization of the realities of their present. But the lines don’t go without hints of humor, and this very line had the audience laughing.
“My man would be back soon and he would have chocolate for me.”
The complexity. Blackbird deals with flashbacks of a then 12-year-old girl and a then 40-year-old man. This sets the tone for the story that’s about to unfold—the morality, the psyche, and the situation that trailed them 15 years later. The factors intertwined in the play provides layers of meanings to dissect. As the characters deliver their line, the question of love in an illegal relationship surfaces.
“In that photo, there’s nothing. Nothing in your face. Smiling. You’ve forgotten.”
The perspectives. The present day encounter happens after Una sees a picture of Ray, smiling on a magazine. This question pushes her to seek answers on what Ray, who now has taken the name Peter, has become after their liaison 15 years ago. The play proceeds through 90 minutes of conversation, filling in the gaps of the whys that have been haunting their minds the night after they went to a beach. More than just the storyline, their perspectives explore the emotions that emerge when things that shouldn’t be, occur.
“I had suspiciously adult yearnings.”
The realities. Ray and Una reveal who each other was from their side of the story. Una reveals Ray to be more insidious than the shy neighbor he seems to be. Ray reveals Una to be a girl who is beyond her years. He even mentions that Una once said she can’t wait for her menstruation. The play brings to light how a young individual can be more profound than what society expects them to be.
“But…but…it is for me. When I am…when I…”
The acting and rhythm of the lines. Bart Guingona, Ray’s actor, reveals that the hardest part of the script is interpreting the stutters written for the character. This reflected Ray’s distress about the controversy of his desire for Una. How the two actors are able to fill the stage with 90 minutes of an intense array of emotions is commendable. Bart Guingona and Mikkie Bradshaw-Volante performed a profound understanding of what Blackbird is. They were able to paint the gray lines of Ray and Una’s relationship through the powerful emotions conveyed on their faces, their gestures, and their voices. The details involved in the delivery of their complex characters put together the puzzle pieces that create Harrower’s Blackbird.
Venue: Carlos P. Romulo Auditorium, RCBC Plaza, Makati City.
Directed by: Topper Fabregas
Bart Guingona as Ray
Mikkie Bradshaw-Volante as Una