Friday, March 14, 2008

Batang Rizal critique

Christine Bellen’s Batang Rizal is about the celebration of the Buwan ng Wika in the Philippines. It was held at the PETA Theater Center in New Manila, Quezon City. The play is also about the celebration of the country’s national hero, Jose Rizal. The play showed Rizal’s childhood—how he did something and what he thought of.

The play started in showing the life of the students of the Jose Rizal Elementary School. Then, the play showed how they prepared for the upcoming Buwan ng Wika. They prepared for various production numbers and plays for the said celebration. While they were preparing, the city’s mayor, Mayor Rapku, went to their school. He went for the construction of Jose Rizal’s monument in the school worth P200,000. When he knew that his statue was missing, he asked for the school’s principal to find it. The principal said to her students to find the statue so the mayor won’t be mad at them. One student admitted that he broke the statue so he hid it. When the mayor knew about this, he said to the principal he will close the school if they didn’t find a way to fix it. When the student who broke the statue knew what’s going to happen, he immediately thought of a plan to fix the problem. When he was reading a book about Rizal, something magical happened and the book brought the boy to Laguna during Rizal’s childhood. The student was shocked when he saw Rizal as a kid. During his stay in Laguna, he saw how the Rizal family lived their respective lives. After that, he asked “Pepe” to help him fix his problem about the statue. Pepe agreed to help him in exchange for touring him in the modern times. When they returned to the present time, the student introduced them to his schoolmates. At first, the students didn’t believe it was really Rizal but eventually, they believed him after he answered the “test” about him. Then, they thought of a plan to fix the problem. When Pepe already thought a plan to solve the problem, he told his plan to his newfound friends. When the mayor went back to their school, he wanted to see the reconstructed statue. When the mayor knew that the statue wasn’t fixed yet, he got dismayed because the statue was so expensive. The students said that a statue isn’t needed to celebrate a person’s heroism. The important thing is that what the person did is in our hearts and minds. The mayor thought about it and realized that the students were right so he forgave them and didn’t close the school. When the problem was already solved, it was time for Pepe to go home back to his time. When he knew that he was going to be killed during his time in exchange for him being a hero, he had second thoughts of coming back. He said he’s afraid to go back because he wasn’t ready to die. The students said he needed to go back because it was what really happened in history and it can’t be changed. Even though he was afraid, he eventually had the courage to come back because what happened was for the country.

Even though the theme of the play was a bit “childish,” I still think I watched a relevant and significant play. I still learned some things about the play. I realized that the students were right on what they said about Rizal’s statue. A statue wasn’t really needed to celebrate a person’s heroism. We just need to put to mind what he did for the country. As a result, we have already built a “statue” of the hero inside us. Not only we should think about what the person did, we should also emulate what he did so we could be “heroes” in our own little ways.

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