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What to Watch Next: Ang Pag-Uusig

October 9, 2018

Ang Pag-uusig

SIGNS OF THE TIMES: Sweeping six awards in the recently held Gawad Buhay Awards, Tanghalang Pilipino presents an Actors Company showcase, a rerun of the classic & politically-relevant play “Ang Pag-Uusig” (The Crucible) by Arthur Miller.

Ang Pag-Uusig by Arthur Miller

The Crucible

After the success of its staging last theater season, “Ang Pag-Uusig” is back for a much-awaited rerun in Tanghalang Pilipino’s 32nd Season with a few twists that will definitely make you want to watch this multi-awarded production again. 

Winner of six Gawad Buhay Awards including —

  • Best Direction (by Dennis Marasigan)
  • Translation (Jerry Respeto)
  • Ensemble Performance
  • Outstanding Play (original or translation)
  • Male Featured Performance in a Play (Marco Viaña)
  • Male Lead Performance in a Play (JV Ibesate, who tied with Joshua Spafford) — director Dennis Marasigan ups the challenge for the Actors Company who will be playing dual roles in this production.

FEAR, GREED, POWER

Staying true to Tanghalang Pilipino’s tagline of “Utak, Puso, Bayan” (Mind, Heart, Country), Ang Pag-Uusig is a provocative, dramatic and timely play that is relevant to the issues our country is currently facing. With lives ruined and reputations destroyed, the play shows how apathy and fear allow those who accuse others to rise to power and gain control. Good versus evil, lies versus truth, and jealousy versus compassion & forgiveness are explored by the different characters in the play. 

Anyone who has grown wary and weary over the current political and social state of our country will find Tanghalang Pilipino’s production of Ang Pag-Uusig, a Filipino translation of the Tony Award-winning play “The Crucible” by world-renowned playwright Arthur Miller, quite appealing.  

When teenage girls are discovered “trying to conjure spirits,” this draws fear that surrounded the villagers of Salem, Massachusetts in 1692. Ang Pag-Uusig explores the effects of terror, paranoia and the destruction of innocence caused by the rabid accusations of witchcraft begun by spurned mistress Abigail Williams played alternately by Antonette Go and Lhorvie Nuevo. The community is then consumed by widespread hysteria – as they waited in fear who will be accused next. 

FAKE NEWS?

Ang Pag-Uusig serves as a metaphor for the heated and conflicting circumstances the characters find themselves in, which is not difficult to find parallels in today’s world.  

The word Pag-Uusig, can be translated as investigation (pagsisiyasat, paglilitis), interrogation (pagtatanong, paguusisa), persecution (pagmamalupit, pagpapahirap), or a prosecution (pagsasagawa). 

Mass hysteria, a phenomenon that transmits collective illusions of threats, whether real or imaginary, through a population in society as a result of rumors and fear – these themes along with issues of integrity and injustice are depicted well in the play.

What Direk Marasigan says?

“It was clear to me that when Miller wrote this play, he used the Salem witch-hunt to express his sentiments about McCarthyism (the practice of making accusations of subversion or treason without proper regard for evidence) which was prevalent during his time. It is probably a testament to the continuing relevance of the work that it is considered the most produced among Miller’s plays. According to him, one can tell whether a country has just come out of or about to fall under a dictatorship because a production of The Crucible serves as a reminder or a warning.” Nevertheless, it is not the despots that Miller focuses on in the play, but how a community composed of people with the same beliefs, who know each other and are friends, neighbors, and relations, can be slowly destroyed and set apart through accusations that are truly unbelievable, but which remained and became widespread due to apathy at first and then fear afterward.  Many lives had to be sacrificed before the majority had the courage to oppose and put an end to the persecution and killings.” 

Due to mature subject matter, some scenes and languages are unsuitable for young audiences. Ang Pag-Uusig is rated PG-13. 

WHAT’S NEW? ANG PAG-UUSIG 2.0

Abigail Willams

Played alternately by Antonette Go and Lhorvie Nuevo, the smart, beautiful and vindictive Abigail Williams is able to convince the other girls to falsely implicate their neighbors of witchcraft. While working as a servant in John Proctor’s household, the two of them became involved intimately.

John Proctor

JV Ibesate and Marco Viaña play John Proctor, a farmer who in a moment of weakness, had a brief sexual affair with Abigail Williams. He has a powerful sense of personal integrity. For this reason, his affair with Abigail makes him see himself as a hypocrite. In an attempt to hide his sin accusations of witchcraft escalate finds himself condemned to death. 

Rev. Samuel Parris

Quick to anger, Marco Viaña and Jonathan Tadioan portray the Rev. Samuel Parris, Abigail Williams’ uncle and minister of Salem’s church. He is paranoid that someone is plotting against him to ruin his good name. He has a daughter, Betty Parris (Aggy Mago and Antonette Go), a typical rebel teenager who falls into a stupor after being one of the girls caught in the woods having a dance party. 

Rev. John Hale

Joshua Tayco and Aldo Vencilao portray Rev. John Hale, a scientist and philosopher who confirms the diagnosis of witchcraft for the court. Although coming to a conclusion that the accused are innocent, he advises them to confess to save their lives. 

Elizabeth Proctor

Rhodora Dayao and Monique Nellas play the part of Elizabeth Proctor, the chaste wife of John Proctor. These two actors also alternately play the role of Tituba, a slave from Barbados who performed magic rituals for the girls in the woods. 

Ann and Thomas Putnam

Pairing Monique Nellas & Ybes Bagadiong and Doray Dayao & Daniel Gregorio, they play the bitter couple, Ann and Thomas Putnam. Putnam seeks to gain the community’s respect by increasing his wealth and influence. His wife Ann fuels hysteria with her belief that the death of her babies had a supernatural cause.  

Rebecca Nurse

Lhorvie Nuevo also plays Rebecca Nurse. She is admired for her religiousness and good sense, but she is a victim of the Putnams’ accusations. Mary Warren, also played by Lhorvie Nuevo and alternates with Eunice Pacia, is a timid servant girl who replaces Abigail and is influenced to join in the accusations. 

Deputy Gov. Danforth

Deputy Gov. Danforth (Jonathan Tadioan and JV Ibesate) sits as chief judge in the witch trials and believes he is doing right. Judge Hathorne is played by Daniel Gregorio and Victor Deseo (who also portrays the court clerk Ezekiel Cheever). 

Giles Corey

Completing the characters, Giles Corey is played by Aldo Vencilao and Ybes Bagadiong. Giles is a brave and moral farmer, while Mercy Lewis, played by Eunice Pacia and Aggy Mago, is the confidant of Abigail and a servant in the Putnam household. 

SETTING & IMPACT

Tanghalang Pilipino’s Ang Pag-Uusig makes use of devised theater as a process for the production. It is a form of theater where the script originates not from a writer, but from collaborative, usually improvisatory, work by a group of people – in this case, our Actors Company.

This gives a fresh, modern approach on a classic play – the story and emotional impact undeniably felt by the audience which is further enhanced by the intimate box setting of Tanghalang Huseng Batute (Studio Theater). 

The Artistic Team

  • Director/Lighting Designer – Dennis Marasigan  
  • Translator – Jerry Respeto 
  • Set Designer – Ohm David 
  • Costume Designer – James Reyes 
  • Sound Designer – TJ Ramos 
  • Stage Manager – Ronald Jerome Deniega 

Show dates

Playing for four weekends, this classic American drama closes on October 28, 2018.

Tickets are available at Ticketworld Online and Outlets with hotline +632 8919999, the CCP Box Office +632 8323704, and the Tanghalang Pilipino office +632 8321125 loc 1620 and 0999-8843821.

  • PHP 1000 (VIP)
  • PHP 800 (Bleachers) 

Ang Pag-Uusig runs at the Tanghalang Huseng Batute, Cultural Center of the Philippines on these dates and times:

October

  • 5 (Friday) – 8PM  
  • 6 (Saturday) – 3PM & 8PM  
  • 7 (Sunday) – 3PM  
  • 12  (Friday) – 10AM, 3PM, 8PM  
  • 13 (Saturday) – 3PM & 8PM  
  • 14 (Sunday) – 3PM  
  • 19 (Friday) – 8PM  
  • 20 (Saturday) – 3PM & 8PM  
  • 21 (Sunday) – 3PM  
  • 26 (Friday) – 8PM  
  • 27 (Saturday) – 3PM & 8PM  
  • 28 (Sunday) – 3PM  

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