Monday, February 5, 2007

Dogeaters: A Book Brought to Life on Stage

The play Dogeaters was very entertaining to watch. From watching the play I was better able to understand the book. While reading Dogeaters, many times I found myself looking back in the book to try and understand what was happening. And, often I felt very confused and disoriented. The author did a wonderful job of adapting this book to a play. The characters came alive on stage and the story was easier to follow. I cannot be for sure though, if I had not read the book the play would have had the same effect.
My favorite characters on stage were Joey and Andres. Joey was very interesting to watch. He made the book Joey seem so real. Joey captivated the audience with his sleek acting and good looks. He held the attention of the audience with his intense style and facial expressions. He really seemed to be a tormented soul who was without anyone whom he did love. Andres, on stage, is flamboyant and fantastic. In the book Andres was not a very interesting character, but on stage Andres was the most unforgettable character. His actions in the book did follow along with his actions in the play, but the actor and writer brought Andres to life on the stage. The actor did a wonderful job of portraying a feminine man.
The themes of Manila come alive on stage. While reading it was hard to discern what the themes were. But it seemed obvious that there were many themes being addressed in the play. Themes like war, sex tourism, politics, and Americanization, were all alive in the play. The theme of war was omnipresent as the soldiers stood above our heads and across from us. The sex tourism was much more obvious, in one scene many of the examples in the book were played out on stage at once. This brought the intensity of the sex tourism to life which is described in the book. Americanization was shown through the seeming obsessions which people of Manila had with Americans and Hollywood. They loved to go see American movies, talk about the American movie stars, listened to American music, and dressed in an American style.
There were some drawbacks to the play in regards to having read the book. If someone only sees the play much of the story is left out, and part of the story is changed. For instance, Girlie’s dream is not in the play but it is a very interesting part in the story. The President’s wife’s dream is also left out. Also, by not reading the book a person could miss the dramatic way in which the story is cast, the feeling of being a spectator lost in Manila.
Dogeaters the play was an experience which will not be soon forgotten. Sitting on the stage in Manila was exciting and made one feel as though they were part of the story. The actors were dramatic and intriguing to watch. Hagedorn did an excellent job of adapting her hot story of Manila into a play. The lights dazzled, and the characters jumped around; up above, behind, to the left, to the right, the stage exploded with intense emotion. Up on the stage one could feel as though they were in Manila, dancing the last dance.

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