Nightmares of Eviction in Tanghalang Mulong Sandoval’s GAPOK

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Eviction and demolitions in urban poor areas are not very hot topics in television nor in social media. What most netizens pay attention to in this scenario is the warring sides of police and informal settlers throwing rocks and bottles of urine while fires of arson blaze at the communities and both smoke and debris blur the cameras to conceal the bloody aftermath. Rarely do we hear stories of what really is destroyed in demolitions, of what is really lost in the process of achieving “development”.

Perhaps it is only timely that a theatre group can finally reflect the not-often told narratives of families affected by eviction and demolition. The recent chaotic events in Agham Road QC inspired Sining Kadamay’s Tanghalang Mulong Sandoval in staging GAPOK.

A short, on-site one-act play, GAPOK is about an urban poor family and their community facing eviction. The play had a second preview last January 8 in the Back To The 90s Bar at Tomas Morato.

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A 15-minute presentation gave a huge scoop on things to come. A mother and her two sons are arguing whether they must join the barricade or enlist themselves in the ongoing relocation. It heats up as the two brothers go at each other’s neck for their failures and doomed aspirations. And in the middle of this fight and the brewing chaos outside, they must choose: should the family fight back, or must they compromise with the forces pushing through with this eviction?

The preview itself is full of heavy drama, and the performances (while still flawed in some aspects) are mostly powerful, with pathos that evokes several tragic heroes from Shakespeare. The dialogue echoes Sining Kadamay’s previous play NANAY MAMENG, and actual quotes from victims of demolitions in Malabon and Agham. Even the onsite approach provided an ironic stance on the dilemma of three members of a family torn apart by the situation.

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While timely and relevant, Sining Kadamay, Tanghalang Mulong Sandoval and Art Action Network also took a bold and empowering move to stage it for the actual people experiencing the conflict. GAPOK will be staged on February in the following areas:

*February 12-13 at Sitio San Roque, Agham Road, QC
*February 19-20 at Camarin, North Caloocan City
*February 26 at Payatas, QC
*February 27 at Kasiyahan Street, Barangay Holy Spirit, QC

For more details, visit the official Facebook page of Gapok.

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