Hey everybody! On the trip back home from the play, Eli raised two questions that intrigued me. In the same conversation with Eli, Jadine, and Jordan on the bus, Eli asked why? Why was Dogeaters adapted into a play, and then also asked what was Hagedorn’s purpose to writing the entire book? I’ll give some examples that we as a group came up with, but than explain my thoughts.
I began by asking the group, which had a larger impact on them, the book or the play? We all agreed that the play was much more emotional and that we could relate better with it than with the book. Reasons for this could have been for pure entertainment or even making more money, but I believe that the play was able to reach a broader audience. Even in our own class discussions, there was still a lot of confusion about characters, dreams, scenes, melodrama, and even unanswered questions such as who killed Senator Avila? (By the way, it was Lt. Pepe Carreon, if you were wondering) I came from the play with an understanding of the book that was much more elaborate than when I went into it. In one of the blog postings, Madison explains the importance of plays adapted from books because they give so much more insight than the books. I agree to a point, since I believe that a book can reveal much more information, but the play chooses to emphasize scenes from the book that best drive it to the end. I’ve seen plays that don’t even come close to the books they interpret, but since Hagedorn adapted this play, I feel as though the scenes she chose must have had more relevance in her book than others that were left out. Hagedorn must have known that her story was strong enough to attract an audience that was not familiar with the book, but with the themes within them. One guest on our trip to the play could play as an example. She was not in either of the classes that signed up to go, but was invited because she is a theater major and because she is Filipino. When she and I sat and talked together at the theater, she mentioned that most of the audience consisted of Filipinos and that she hadn’t ever seen so many in the theater before.
Now why did Hagedorn write the book in the first place? Was it to entertain, to educate, or even to blame? Did Hagedorn want to educate her readers about the melodramatic life in the Philippines or is she just using the Philippines to illustrate the devastating effects that American popular culture can have? I believe there are elements of both in the book and her play adaptation. This book reaches beyond the melodrama of the Philippines and opens up the public eye so that it may be educated by its foreign examples. Many people in America have no idea about life in the Philippines, or any country in the world for that matter, and they have an extreme impact on these countries that it is even harder to realize than the life anyway. So, I would believe that this book of fiction gives an example of life in the Philippines, but I think that is only surface deep. There are themes that reach far beneath the surface like how Hollywood romance has changed the goals and priorities of entire cultures. Just last night I heard that in Banin, Africa, school kids know the lyrics to entire songs by “50 cent” in multiple languages.
American popular culture has truly changed nations across the world, and I believe that Hagedorn wanted her readers to see a harsh example of some of these effects.