“When I was living in the States, I had a good friend whom I often went sailing with. He was quite a bit older than me. One time he came to visit me in Boston, and he and Sui and I went out for drinks. Sui had never met him before, but they got along fine, and she played the role of my steady and faithful girlfriend perfectly. Sometimes, the presence of a third person smooths everything out and gives you the illusion that everything is as it should be.”
“I know what you mean.” I didn’t say that it only happens that way if the relationship is extremely shaky to begin with.
—Banana Yoshimoto, N.P
A neighbor’s kid is singing ‘Let It Go’ alongside the recording. Sometimes her mom joins her, both of them off-key.
The sky is such a bright blue outside. If this was a Banana Yoshimoto story, the protagonist would gush about the summer, longing for a trip to the beach. She would go out in bright summer clothes, and will encounter some eccentric young adult who will hit her with a bottled tea or drag her to a car for a sudden road trip.
No, I’m staying indoors with the electric fan blasting away. Birds occasionally perch by my window and I listen to their twitter, temporarily drowning the song of the little girl and her mom.
There are so many things for me to do, but I’m not moving away from my bed. Somebody hit me on the head and drag me away from here.
A kid from Sta Mesa sent me a private message. He seems okay, good Filipino grammar in his profile and all, but maybe a little too chummy.
He said he thought I was interesting.
Kid: wala lang, i just sensed that we have the same wavelengths (sic) ahahahah
Me: We might. Mine is just a little above the ultraviolet spectrum. ;-)
Kid: wow ha? lol.
No further comeback from him. I didn’t bother continuing the conversation.
Sorry, kid. Wrong frequency.
John, dissatisfied with his boyfriend, called it quits then hooked up with a girl. He decided he still loved his boyfriend, went back to him, while not exactly leaving his girlfriend, either.
This messed-up tangle between three people was the premise of “Cock”, currently staging at the Whitespace.
Love triangles are a staple of fiction. Even queer love triangles are not so uncommon, such as the recent social media-trending local soap, “My Husband’s Lover”. On paper, Cock seemed like it wasn’t showing anything new.
And in many ways, it didn’t — at least from the perspective of this gay man who has had several relationships and is barely over his last one. I had seen this before, I had lived this before, everything looked somewhat familiar.
But what Cock did show was often sadder, more painful, and more emotionally unforgiving than typical love triangle stories. Love hurts and lovers often hurt each other deeply. And this was a comedy.
John (Topper Fabregas), the adorably awkward man-child, recently discovered he might be bisexual. He loved his boyfriend but, after several years into the relationship, felt emotionally abused. he thought he found solace and satisfaction with a woman he recently met and started dating. He didn’t know who he was or what he liked, and he was trapped in between two lovers who wanted him for themselves.
M (Niccolo Manahan) was the sassy and sophisticated boyfriend. Articulate and condescending, he makes a show of how much he wanted John to go and leave him after discovering John’s affair, and yet he still meticulously prepared to fight for his man. His weapon was a cheesecake.
W (Jenny Jamora) was the gutsy girlfriend, and ballsier than any of the three men. She was assertive and caring, yet clingy to a man she had only known for a short time. It would be interesting to read someone review her character from a feminist perspective.
F (Audie Gemora) was M’s father, an unexpected visitor that further complicated an already tense dinner-slash-ultimate bitch fight between M and W. One of the minor things I didn’t like about the play was Mr Gemora’s Southern drawl that seemed to clash with the occasional reference to London, where the story was set.
The play had no props, no costume changes, and a very spartan set. Stripped of the usual theatrical spectacle, the audience was left with biting dialogue, interesting choreography, and an epic ham-on-ham battle. There was sex but no nudity; how that was played out was one of my favorite parts of the play.
There was one winner in this ultimate bitch fight. But in unraveling the tangle of dysfunctions, you know that in the end everyone lost something. A comedy with no happy ending.
With a play like Cock, you and the people you watch it with will pick which characters you related to best. Most of the friends I saw it with could identify with John.
I identified with M.
“Cock” will run until April 6 at Whitespace, 2314 Chino Roces Avenue Extension, Makati. Tickets are available through TicketWorld (8919999 or www.ticketworld.com.ph) or Red Turnip Theater (firstname.lastname@example.org or facebook.com/RedTurnipTheater).
The cab was waiting there, outside Salcedo park. I hailed it and quickly got in. The driver was waiting for other people to get it, but it seemed they changed their mind. Lucky for me.
The driver asked what was happening in the park, if there was some party going on. I told him about Art in the Park. He said he wished he could’ve brought his son with him.
His son drew well. He proudly stated how his son did henna tattoos and often covered his room with drawings.
The driver couldn’t draw, himself, but he encouraged his son with his talent, buying henna or paint, if the son asked for some. There was pride there, the way he told me their story. His neighbors sometimes asked him why he and his wife let their son do whatever he pleased but the father told them that is talent there and he and his wife wanted their son to use it.
I told him his son was very lucky to have a father like him.
During the drive, we talked about his work and his family. How he often sleeps in his cab because he only gets to go home on weekends; his family lives outside Manila. How his other child cooks well, better than him, and that was the other child’s talent.
He got me to work on time, despite leaving Salcedo later than I planned to. I gave him a tip on top of what the meter said.
In hindsight, I may have given him too much. I think I gave him 1000 pesos which I mistook as 100.
I feel bad losing that much money, but at the same time I hope I did give him that bill instead of losing it elsewhere.
I should start spending less from today until payday.