Friday, August 24, 2012

‘Bona,’ Uge-fied


Last year saw Eugene Domingo play a glamorized version of herself in an award-winning indie flick. This year, tables have been turned as she brings to life one of the Superstar Nora Aunor’s most iconic roles to date in the eponymous stage adaptation of the ‘80s Lino Brocka film, “Bona.”

At onset, Domingo was adamant in stressing that she, with all humility and respect, deliberately avoided patterning her character after the original Bona. For starters, and mainly to keep up with the times, a bit of tweaking was done to the lead characters. Bona is now a financially-stable call center agent while Gardo, first essayed by Phillip Salvador, is a hopeless reality artista search reject named Gino Sanchez.

Come performance night, Domingo simply proved successful with her aim by making the titular character her own. If Bona has an upbeat, funny twin, this is her. Domingo was, like always, hilarious without trying… that, or she’s just that good of an actor that she makes it look so easy. From being comical, she was able to switch to drama with relative ease whenever needed. In one scene she’s giggling like a school girl while preparing giveaway ensaymadas and talking via Facebook to Gino, at another she’s agonizing when problems with her family and Gino plague her simultaneously.

It may also be observed that Domingo jived well with her fellow actors, especially with her leading man Edgar Allan Guzman, Joey Paras (her best friend Baldy) and Gabs Santos (Baldy’s loving boyfriend Raf), with whom she all shared the stage most. Domingo’s character was often bashful in the presence of Gino, and funny and snarky with Baldy. On the other hand, Baldy and Raf was a cute and funny couple.

Meanwhile, the trio of Jeff Henson Dee, Junevir Tabor, and Dudz Teraña also provided comic relief as Gino’s eccentric managerial team. And despite the limited stage time given to them, Olive Nieto (Bona’s younger sister Binky), BJ Forbes (nephew Bingo), Juliene Mendoza (Bona’s suitor Bert), and Anna Luna (actress and Gino’s girlfriend) were nevertheless able to somehow make their respective marks with the audience.

It’s safe to say that the story of “Bona” remains relevant. It addresses idol-fan relationships, among other things, making it relatable to probably most of us since at one point or so in our lives, we became a fan of someone or something. However, “Bona” takes this common happening to the highest level possible by showcasing what appears to be an unhealthy case of idolatry. What initially was harmless pity and admiration eventually became blinded, unreasonable obsession and fanaticism.

“Bona” was adapted for stage by Layeta Bucoy and directed by Soxie Topacio. It runs from Aug. 24 up to Sept. 23 at the PETA Theater Center in New Manila, Quezon City.


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