April 14, 2019

Courageous and timely choice for the Tanghalang Ateneo to stage AKO - Alpha Kappa Omega

I think it is a very courageous and timely choice for the Tanghalang Ateneo to stage AKO - Alpha Kappa Omega - an adaptation of the highly acclaimed fraternity movie Batch 81 by Mike de Leon.

I only saw the movie as a university student, and just like the audiences before me, I was blown away by its searing depiction of campus fraternity violence. It's one of the best movies ever made by a Filipino - and when it was released - it cannot be helped but to compare what was happening onscreen to the way power was wielded by the Marcoses during martial law.

The play adaptation does not stray from the original thematically - however, the TA has made this one, more contemporary - dealing more with current issues and completely updating how college kids socialize nowadays.

However, the depiction of the mindless violence and the threshing out of the themes of male aggression and toxic masculinity is still there - and are more defined now than 30 years ago when such level of awareness was not that heightened.

The play was pretty entertaining with the lives of the five main plebes given almost equal treatment in terms of storytelling.

Good thing also that like the movie, the play does not come across as preachy, although there were two scenes, I think, where the faculty members were discussing what they could've done to prevent the violence.

However, I think those scenes were necessary since it helps the audience (in this case, mainly college students) process the scenes that just happened and in a way, indicts the adults for being kunsentidor in this cycle of violence.

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