Monday, January 29, 2007

"Dogeaters" Theatrical Version: A satirical analysis

Note: This blog was a collaborative effort on behalf of Eli Bowman, Jaydene Kanekoa and Jordan Miyasaki, with contributing ideas from the one and only, Q.

After viewing the play “Dogeaters”, we (Jaydene, Eli, Jordan) had a delightful and intellectually stimulating conversation on the long bus ride home. The talk was focused on how the addition of the two narrators in the play, something not done in the book, enhanced the satirical value within the story. This in turn led to a deeper connection with the different themes presented throughout, and a more full and enjoyable experience.

The two narrators, Barbara Villanueva and Nestor Noralez, gave a running commentary of happenings before, during, and after each scene. In the book we see these two characters merely as actors of a radio show, depicting a melodrama of love. In the theatrical version, however, these two play a significantly more important role. By expressing the drama orally in such an extravagant and over the top manner it gives an almost glamorous Hollywood-esque feeling, even during instances of tragedy and horror.

Within their frivolous approach to the unfolding drama we can see that as conductors of the play they view it with a detached air, as if the happenings were only a spectacle to be watched, rather than real people living out real lives.

The actions personifying this flamboyant attitude can be seen in the way they dress, the way they speak, and perhaps most importantly, the way that they never lose their seemingly forced optimism, even after witnessing the most despicable actions.
The first glimpse of satire that we are given is in their flashy appearance. Noralez and Villanueva are always extravagantly dressed, using the most gaudy of costumes. Their attire is in direct contrast with the majority of Filipino people, who have neither the money nor access to these items of higher class. This satire is also seen when the two narrators kept up a commentary throughout the interrogation of Daisy Avila, conducted by General Ledesma and his troops. In the middle of the brutal questioning, the narrators break in with an advertisement for “TruCola”, a thirst quenching refreshment.

All of this can be viewed as an extension of the western world, and how westerners view life, and the people, in the Philippines. We see a parallel to Hollywood in the actions of the two narrators, and their ability to turn a blind eye to injustice, all for sake of drama. The addition of these two characters better enhances this parody, casting it in a better light for all to see.


Q said...
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Q said...
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Q said...

Barbara, Nestor, and Humor

The narrators played a huge part in the play by carrying out that melodramatic Hollywood feeling that is to be expected from soap operas and commercials of the 1950s. But another important emotion that the two narrators brought to the play was humor. Singing radio commercial jingles, introducing big dramatic sequences, or hosting talk shows were all really funny parts of the play. These additions, coupled with the exuberant flamboyance of Andres and Chiquiting, gave the audience a “breather” to deal with the extreme themes that the rest of the play deals with. Humor is an important way to relate to any audience, it makes an audience member truly feel that he/she is being entertained. In conclusion, humor is a great teacher and attention grabber; coupled with drama, it can make a serious situation stand out that much more.