From reel to real: Bona goes onstage

PETA brings on stage Bona. It is directed by
Soxy Topacio and is adapted to the screen by Layetta Bucoy.

My Facebook feed is a wonderful thing. It's like a virtual newspaper that spurts out news from everywhere and everyone. So when one mundane morning, while browsing my rather amusing feed, I saw the poster. Decorated director Soxy Topacio would be adapting from the big screen to the theater stage Lino Brocka's world-acclaimed film, Bona. Wuhooo! I was so excited that time so I promised myself that I would find the time to catch it on stage. Last Saturday, I was able to do so with friends. Me, Ate Anna, Ate Chael, Ate Fina and Kuya Fids trooped to PETA Phinma Theater despite the endless pour of rain. Karen (that's the name of the typhoon) did not stop us from having fun that night. Hahaha. So how did I find the much-talked about adaptation? Read on!

The 1980's version of Bona was topbilled by the young Nora Aunor and Phillip Salvador. Ms Aunor is Bona-- a devout Nazarene follower and a young girl living a relatively good life with her parents. Her life would take a sharp turn when she starts developing a crush with fledgling action star, Gardo, played by Mr Salvador. Her fleeting feelings for Mr Salvador would soon develop to infatuation that would eventually lead her to worshipping the action star. Dictated by her blinded love for Phillip, Bona would soon choose to live in the slums with him. She prepares his food, washes his clothes and gives him a sponge bath. Yes, sponge bath. When Phillip brings home a different woman every night (because he's that of a j*rk), Bona would even have to serve them. Then one night, dahil sabe nga nila napupuno na ang salop, Bona spills a pot of boiling water to Phillip while he's waiting for his usual bath routine. Tapos, black out. Winner ending. Hahaha. 

Bona is directed by world-acclaimed director
Lino Brocka. Aside from Bona, Brocka had also
succeeded in creating other cult classics
like "Maynila sa Kuko ng Liwanag" & "Insiang".
Deftly penned by Layetta Bucoy, Bona is now empowered more than before. She stands on her own. While it stayed true to the script, Mr Topacio and Ms Bucoy succeeded in bringing Bona closer to the Filipino audience by injecting modern themes into the plot. Bona, today, is a call center agent who sidelines as an online English tutor to Koreans and an occassional online fortune teller. As her family's sole breadwinner, Bona pays for her nephew's schooling and provides financial help for her "philandering" sister. The twist happens when, during her birthday, her gay friend and his boyfriend introduces her to an artista search ala Starstruck and she swoons over the mala-MMK life story of one of the contestants, Gino Sanchez (played by former Eat Bulaga Mr Pogi, Edgar Allan Guzman- trivia yan! Hahaha). Gino's mother recently died and her dying wish is for her son to pursue stardom, hence his entry to the reality show. Gino gets eliminated from the show and Bona becomes his "guardian angel"-- bringing him his favorite ensaymadas, cleaning his house, preparing his daily hot baths and eventually producing an indie film for the struggling pogi boy. Little did she know that Gino's just using her to get anything he wants. In the end, Bona discovers Gino's ka-chokaran and poof, the infamous boiling water scene ensues. Classic.

On the role players
One of the best things the theater adaptation had was its cast. Coming from her recent successes on mainstream film, Ms Eugene Domingo comes back to her first love-- theater acting. She's the perfect person to play the new-age Bona. She's funny, witty and her acting chops are really impeccable. Our favorite scene was when she learned that Gino is having an affair with fellow indie star Katrina. You could really feel how she was betrayed because from that moment until the end the audience held their breath. She turned her back from the crowd while Gino was babbling explanations of how he did not really want to be an artista in the first place. Even if we don't see her face, one could imagine the anger she felt from those revelations as she heaved and hunched her tensed shoulders. Grabe lang. Best line was when she cursed Gino right after she spilled the scalding hot water onto his body. Isang malutong na TOOOOOOOOOOOOOOT! Hahahaha.

Edgar Allan as Gino is also just as good. He's effective as the user-friendly guy who keeps Bona on the wings by crooning her with sweet words. And he's totally funny especially when he did that tapon-ensaymada scene and the Mr Pogi moves he used to wow the crowd. Hahaha.

The supporting cast is also as good as the show's leads. They all have their share of scenes and comic one-liners. Guys should learn from the pamatay banat nung apartment landlord nila Gino. The way he used the flowers and the doorknob to flirt with Bona was just cute. Hahaha. And Bona's gay best friend was just as great-- the way he delivers his lines, panalo talaga. Lalo na yung description ng baha at yung sakit ng nanay nya para lang makahiram ng pera ke Bona. HAHAHAHA. Kumbaga sa volleyball, Bona's bestfriend is the setter, he sets the mood for comedy and Bona volleys it to the appreciative recipient, us from the audience. Tolits as Bingo, Bona's nephew has also shown potential in drama and comedy. Oh, and we're just so proud that a PUPian Theater student played a supporting role in the play. He's Gino's Manager's sidekick. We haven't seen him on the show because it was the alternate who played the role, we only learned of him while reading the play booklet. Nonetheless, we know he did a good job portraying the role. Proud PUPian! Hahaha. I felt that everybody did a great job bringing the characters to life. I guess it's not because they're sharing the stage with Ms Eugene or what but because everyone of them has this passion to mainstream theater in the country and really place the bar higher for the arts. Chars. Hahaha. But really, I did feel the passion and love for theater.

On the set
The props and the set was effective in helping bring this play to life. We were really amazed by how the bathtub worked. Pure genius. Hahaha. There's also the screen on top of the stage to aid in laying other story elements into the play. It provided room for further understanding on the other subplots of the story-- Bona's devotion to the Nazarene, Gino's elimination from the show as well as the botched tapings Gino had. The sounds were also good. The audience could really hear everything, from the delivery of each character's lines to even the running water from the "improvised" bathtub.

Bona 1980 vs Bona 2012
I wasn't able to watch the original Bona before going to the theater adaptation. It could have helped in doing the review. But really, I felt that there's no need to pit Ms Nora and Ms Eugene as the titular leads. They're just plain different. Both the film and the play have based their stories on the current themes prevailing in their respective timelines. In Brocka's version, we see Bona struggling with physical violence from Gardo and his women. We see her in a society where men rule and women cower. Topacio's version, however, portrays a Bona who doesn't get physically violated. The abuse is done emotionally. She's slaved by Gino's sweet gestures and terms of endearment, hence her worship for him. Poverty in Brocka's Bona is evidenced by the leads living in the slum areas of Manila while in the theater adaptation, poverty is when Bona starts selling off their properties and spending all her savings to finance Gino's quest for stardom. She even ends up borrowing from her friend and giving up Bingo's schooling just to be able to support Gino.

The ironies I have noted from the theater version were mostly on Bona's principles. I felt that these are good discussion points especially on the society's moral perspective. Bona gets mad when her sister hooks up with her fifth boyfriend, a tricycle driver doing routes on their street. She scolds her for not taking care of her five children and on being blindly in love with the wrong and irresponsible man. A few more scenes and we see Bona falling off on that same trap. She pines for Gino and is blinded by the helpless-boy-from-the-province act he made. Her sister and her are now the same. But then again, there's the redeeming factor-- she wakes up from her dreary situation and realizes that everything's just a mess. So she abruptly ends her lopsided relationship with Gino and scars him for life.


Premiere comedienne Eugene Domingo is the modern-day Bona. In 1980, the young Nora Aunor played the titular role which helped her seal her mark on the Filipino entertainment industry.

I'm glad that an old, classic film like Bona is adapted on stage. It gives us a glimpse of how films have evolved as well as our society as a whole. They say that films, the same with stage plays, are reflections of the realities of our lives laced with an artistic flair. I can't help but agree. In Spot.ph's analysis, we see a 1980 Bona who is compelled to follow the dictates of her family and the unreasonable whims from Gardo. She's blinded by love and the innocence of her youth. She comes of age when in the end she realizes her worth. Today, we saw how Bona transformed into a more empowered Filipina. She's independent and she's more mature compared to the young Nora Aunor. She injects humor onto every dire episode of her life-- a characteristic we have seen from a lot of women today. We see her resilience and her strength. We still see her more vulnerable side when she falls prey to Gino's flirtatious words and reassuring kisses, but, like the 1980 Bona, her character comes full circle when she bravely turned her back from the emotional slavery she's on. Our women today are like that, I would like to believe. I'm not saying that women before are weak or whatever, but really, I believe that we've learned a lot from the past and we're beginning to move from a male-dominated society to something more egalitarian; and Bona 2012 has just shown us that.

5 out of 5 stars.

Praises for Bona
ABS-CBN News says Bona was a Eugene show
GMA News features a fan's take on the film's theater adaptation
PEP.ph praises leads for their stunning performances


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felix felicis: From reel to real: Bona goes onstage

Friday, September 21, 2012

From reel to real: Bona goes onstage

PETA brings on stage Bona. It is directed by
Soxy Topacio and is adapted to the screen by Layetta Bucoy.

My Facebook feed is a wonderful thing. It's like a virtual newspaper that spurts out news from everywhere and everyone. So when one mundane morning, while browsing my rather amusing feed, I saw the poster. Decorated director Soxy Topacio would be adapting from the big screen to the theater stage Lino Brocka's world-acclaimed film, Bona. Wuhooo! I was so excited that time so I promised myself that I would find the time to catch it on stage. Last Saturday, I was able to do so with friends. Me, Ate Anna, Ate Chael, Ate Fina and Kuya Fids trooped to PETA Phinma Theater despite the endless pour of rain. Karen (that's the name of the typhoon) did not stop us from having fun that night. Hahaha. So how did I find the much-talked about adaptation? Read on!

The 1980's version of Bona was topbilled by the young Nora Aunor and Phillip Salvador. Ms Aunor is Bona-- a devout Nazarene follower and a young girl living a relatively good life with her parents. Her life would take a sharp turn when she starts developing a crush with fledgling action star, Gardo, played by Mr Salvador. Her fleeting feelings for Mr Salvador would soon develop to infatuation that would eventually lead her to worshipping the action star. Dictated by her blinded love for Phillip, Bona would soon choose to live in the slums with him. She prepares his food, washes his clothes and gives him a sponge bath. Yes, sponge bath. When Phillip brings home a different woman every night (because he's that of a j*rk), Bona would even have to serve them. Then one night, dahil sabe nga nila napupuno na ang salop, Bona spills a pot of boiling water to Phillip while he's waiting for his usual bath routine. Tapos, black out. Winner ending. Hahaha. 

Bona is directed by world-acclaimed director
Lino Brocka. Aside from Bona, Brocka had also
succeeded in creating other cult classics
like "Maynila sa Kuko ng Liwanag" & "Insiang".
Deftly penned by Layetta Bucoy, Bona is now empowered more than before. She stands on her own. While it stayed true to the script, Mr Topacio and Ms Bucoy succeeded in bringing Bona closer to the Filipino audience by injecting modern themes into the plot. Bona, today, is a call center agent who sidelines as an online English tutor to Koreans and an occassional online fortune teller. As her family's sole breadwinner, Bona pays for her nephew's schooling and provides financial help for her "philandering" sister. The twist happens when, during her birthday, her gay friend and his boyfriend introduces her to an artista search ala Starstruck and she swoons over the mala-MMK life story of one of the contestants, Gino Sanchez (played by former Eat Bulaga Mr Pogi, Edgar Allan Guzman- trivia yan! Hahaha). Gino's mother recently died and her dying wish is for her son to pursue stardom, hence his entry to the reality show. Gino gets eliminated from the show and Bona becomes his "guardian angel"-- bringing him his favorite ensaymadas, cleaning his house, preparing his daily hot baths and eventually producing an indie film for the struggling pogi boy. Little did she know that Gino's just using her to get anything he wants. In the end, Bona discovers Gino's ka-chokaran and poof, the infamous boiling water scene ensues. Classic.

On the role players
One of the best things the theater adaptation had was its cast. Coming from her recent successes on mainstream film, Ms Eugene Domingo comes back to her first love-- theater acting. She's the perfect person to play the new-age Bona. She's funny, witty and her acting chops are really impeccable. Our favorite scene was when she learned that Gino is having an affair with fellow indie star Katrina. You could really feel how she was betrayed because from that moment until the end the audience held their breath. She turned her back from the crowd while Gino was babbling explanations of how he did not really want to be an artista in the first place. Even if we don't see her face, one could imagine the anger she felt from those revelations as she heaved and hunched her tensed shoulders. Grabe lang. Best line was when she cursed Gino right after she spilled the scalding hot water onto his body. Isang malutong na TOOOOOOOOOOOOOOT! Hahahaha.

Edgar Allan as Gino is also just as good. He's effective as the user-friendly guy who keeps Bona on the wings by crooning her with sweet words. And he's totally funny especially when he did that tapon-ensaymada scene and the Mr Pogi moves he used to wow the crowd. Hahaha.

The supporting cast is also as good as the show's leads. They all have their share of scenes and comic one-liners. Guys should learn from the pamatay banat nung apartment landlord nila Gino. The way he used the flowers and the doorknob to flirt with Bona was just cute. Hahaha. And Bona's gay best friend was just as great-- the way he delivers his lines, panalo talaga. Lalo na yung description ng baha at yung sakit ng nanay nya para lang makahiram ng pera ke Bona. HAHAHAHA. Kumbaga sa volleyball, Bona's bestfriend is the setter, he sets the mood for comedy and Bona volleys it to the appreciative recipient, us from the audience. Tolits as Bingo, Bona's nephew has also shown potential in drama and comedy. Oh, and we're just so proud that a PUPian Theater student played a supporting role in the play. He's Gino's Manager's sidekick. We haven't seen him on the show because it was the alternate who played the role, we only learned of him while reading the play booklet. Nonetheless, we know he did a good job portraying the role. Proud PUPian! Hahaha. I felt that everybody did a great job bringing the characters to life. I guess it's not because they're sharing the stage with Ms Eugene or what but because everyone of them has this passion to mainstream theater in the country and really place the bar higher for the arts. Chars. Hahaha. But really, I did feel the passion and love for theater.

On the set
The props and the set was effective in helping bring this play to life. We were really amazed by how the bathtub worked. Pure genius. Hahaha. There's also the screen on top of the stage to aid in laying other story elements into the play. It provided room for further understanding on the other subplots of the story-- Bona's devotion to the Nazarene, Gino's elimination from the show as well as the botched tapings Gino had. The sounds were also good. The audience could really hear everything, from the delivery of each character's lines to even the running water from the "improvised" bathtub.

Bona 1980 vs Bona 2012
I wasn't able to watch the original Bona before going to the theater adaptation. It could have helped in doing the review. But really, I felt that there's no need to pit Ms Nora and Ms Eugene as the titular leads. They're just plain different. Both the film and the play have based their stories on the current themes prevailing in their respective timelines. In Brocka's version, we see Bona struggling with physical violence from Gardo and his women. We see her in a society where men rule and women cower. Topacio's version, however, portrays a Bona who doesn't get physically violated. The abuse is done emotionally. She's slaved by Gino's sweet gestures and terms of endearment, hence her worship for him. Poverty in Brocka's Bona is evidenced by the leads living in the slum areas of Manila while in the theater adaptation, poverty is when Bona starts selling off their properties and spending all her savings to finance Gino's quest for stardom. She even ends up borrowing from her friend and giving up Bingo's schooling just to be able to support Gino.

The ironies I have noted from the theater version were mostly on Bona's principles. I felt that these are good discussion points especially on the society's moral perspective. Bona gets mad when her sister hooks up with her fifth boyfriend, a tricycle driver doing routes on their street. She scolds her for not taking care of her five children and on being blindly in love with the wrong and irresponsible man. A few more scenes and we see Bona falling off on that same trap. She pines for Gino and is blinded by the helpless-boy-from-the-province act he made. Her sister and her are now the same. But then again, there's the redeeming factor-- she wakes up from her dreary situation and realizes that everything's just a mess. So she abruptly ends her lopsided relationship with Gino and scars him for life.


Premiere comedienne Eugene Domingo is the modern-day Bona. In 1980, the young Nora Aunor played the titular role which helped her seal her mark on the Filipino entertainment industry.

I'm glad that an old, classic film like Bona is adapted on stage. It gives us a glimpse of how films have evolved as well as our society as a whole. They say that films, the same with stage plays, are reflections of the realities of our lives laced with an artistic flair. I can't help but agree. In Spot.ph's analysis, we see a 1980 Bona who is compelled to follow the dictates of her family and the unreasonable whims from Gardo. She's blinded by love and the innocence of her youth. She comes of age when in the end she realizes her worth. Today, we saw how Bona transformed into a more empowered Filipina. She's independent and she's more mature compared to the young Nora Aunor. She injects humor onto every dire episode of her life-- a characteristic we have seen from a lot of women today. We see her resilience and her strength. We still see her more vulnerable side when she falls prey to Gino's flirtatious words and reassuring kisses, but, like the 1980 Bona, her character comes full circle when she bravely turned her back from the emotional slavery she's on. Our women today are like that, I would like to believe. I'm not saying that women before are weak or whatever, but really, I believe that we've learned a lot from the past and we're beginning to move from a male-dominated society to something more egalitarian; and Bona 2012 has just shown us that.

5 out of 5 stars.

Praises for Bona


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