ON THE eve of Independence Day, June 12, women of the Baguio City Jail were set free -- by the magic of theater.
Local director Angelo Aurelio mentored the women and made them “stage ready” in 18 days with four hours practice each day. The play was entitled the “Anatomy of an Octopus woman” presented by the Bureau of Jail Management and Penology at the Baguio women’s jail dormitory.
It was presented in the women’s jail library and ran from June 10 to 12 with a running time of an hour and a half.
The story of the play revolves around the women who are incarcerated in the jail.
Despite the simplicity of it all, the colors and layers of the play unfold and took the audience into the highs and lows of the real stories of these women, peppered by symbolism and theatrics.
Jail warden April Rose Ayangwa said the theatrical presentation is part of developmental services the institution is doing for the ladies who are detained in the jail.
The last part of the play brings audience to tears, playing dangerously to the stark realities of their plights, with each woman, coming forward and removing their monster masks, revealing their faces, reciting their true names and a short summary of their life story.
“Para daw silang nabunutan ng tinik. Spirit is lifted, morale is boosted.
Acceptance & openness is really the first step to change and it feels really great we were able to do that in the play,” Ayangwa said.
There were 25 ladies who were part of the cast out of the 116 detained in the jail, with majority of them waiting for promulgation of their drug related cases.
Ayangwa added the play is for a prayer for commitment to change which she hopes is not just for the show but for the personal lives of the women.
The show had a full house of guests until its last performance which was attended by local and internationally renewed thespians and directors led by Kidlat Tahimik and Ferdie Balanang who showed their support to the project.
Tickets for the play were sold at P200 and proceeds will help develop an area to cater to services like massage, manicure and pedicure to which the ladies have been trained and accredited by Tesda.
Ayangwa said the attendance made the “residents” of the jail feel the love of the community.
This is the first theatrical presentation by the BJMP in the entire Cordilleras. (Maria Elena Catajan)