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But seriously, folks: it's all about dialogue...

Monday, May 29, 2006

Podcast on global sex trade from Gabriela

From the GABRIELA website: Kana-Pinay Radio

Sunday, May 28, 2006

Mimi Damayo for Governor?

Friday, May 26, 2006

Mail Order Housewives Movie on TV

Hello all,

I just received the following e-mail from Diana. Please click on the photos to for more information. Have any of you seen/heard of this show? Any suggestions on how to get this off the air?! Also, let's start up some conversation again. Hope to hear from you all soon:)


Dear all,

I saw something very disturbing on tv just about 30 minutes ago. My friend and I were watching the TV guide channel trying to decide what to watch. And then something disturbing caught my eye- "Mail Order Housewives: Philippines". I do not know what the movie was about but I can very well guess. If you would like you could either search for it or you can look at the screenshots I have attached. I do not know what exactly can be done- I'm thinking at least a letter campaign or something to OnDemand because I do not think that this should be allowed. I am so angry and yet I feel so upset because these kinds of things hit you like a surprise on the head. At least I am letting you all know and maybe we can decide what to do or you could let me know what would be a good course of action. I cannot take this sitting down.

Diana Halog

Tuesday, May 02, 2006

Export Quality: Another Review

On April 21st, I saw the play Export Quality starring our very own Diana Grace "Goddess of Halology" Quebada Halog, Victoria Meija, Eve Skylar, and Annie Wang. The script was written by the Kataga Women's Collective (Carolyn Cervantes Antonio, Erica Liza Miguel, Dorotea Agustin Mendoza, and Ona Kalima Mirkinson). The play was directed by Katrina Socco.

Loosely based on real life cases, the program gave this information:

On March 23, 1995, Susanna Remerata Blackwell was gunned down by her husband Timothy Blackwell in a Seattle courtroom as she was trying to divorce him. She was 7 months pregnant.

*January 16, 1994, Dr. Jonathon Nyce was convicted of manslaughter. He confessed to smashing Michelle's head on the concrete floor of their garage but contended the killing was an accident.

In Hawaii, the mutilated body of a young Filipina woman, Helen Mendoza Krug, was found in a garage dumpster behind her high-rise apartment building. The murder was committed in front of her 2-year-old son by her husband, Robert Krug.

Jack Reeves, a retired U.S. Army officer, was convicted of killing his fourth wife, Emelita Reeves, a 26 year-old from the Philippines whom he met through an IMB called "Cherry Blossoms." Emelita had confided to family and friends that Reeves physically and sexually abused her, and told friends she planned to leave him the day before she disappeared. Two of Reeves' previous wives also died under suspicious circumstances (drowning and suicide).

(*I wrote a small entry about this case because I saw it on Dateline NBC. You can find that entry here.)

After a conversation with Diana, she explained that the play is brand new and they didn't have a lot of time to put it together (about two weeks). As someone who has worked on similar productions, I totally feel these limitations. Content-wise, I thought the play was strong. Overall, I thought the play was good and with continued work and circulation, it definitely has the potential to spread awareness about this issue. It can also attract a wide range of audiences. Given the time constraints, I also think the performers did well. (Note: Fritzie and I got to the play late and missed Victoria Meija's performance.)

On to some suggestions... In terms of the writing, I felt the language needed some work. In play writing, I feel that there are two components - writing the essence of the story and writing in the tongue. They didn't write in the appropriate tongue. My sense is that the writers were mostly US-based writers (and this was clearly reflected in the language). There's a way in which someone from the Philippines speaks - there are language expressions and speech patterns to pay attention to. Unfortunately, the writing didn't reflect this. Usually, this is where an outside dramaturge factors in. A dramaturge can easily pick up on this and help the writers adjust accordingly. I highly recommend a dramaturge.

Given the time constraints, I do understand that the cast didn't/couldn't do all the things they wanted to do. Completely understandable. However, I do want to make a few comments about the actual performance. I definitely think there needed to be stronger direction, coupled with a better sense of what the play is trying to convey. Each piece has a particular pattern: it shows the women's stories before the marriage, how the marriage changes them, the women talking about their deaths, and then reflections on the death. There needed to be better transitions between each phase. For example, when one is explaining her death, I think this needed to be subtle (as opposed to the violent, angry announcement of death) because when one announces when/how she is going to die, it's a sad, helpless moment. The patterns of emotions needed to be more distinct. For me, this is part direction and part acting.

Not all actresses were Filipina, which is fine. However, with respect to accents, either use one or don't. My feeling is don't try to fake one because audiences can sense when one is faking an accent. Also, don't float in to and out of an accent (this is usually the result of trying to fake an accent). For me, it shows the performer isn't committed to the language, and can be interpreted as a performer's laziness. There's nothing wrong or inauthentic about not using an accent, as long as your actions/performance embody the character.

The final monologue was supposed to be a sixty year-old survivor having a conversation with her 17 year-old daughter on an airplane (so think of an airplane and the confined space of an airplane). On the writing end, the age difference is off. I think the daughter needs to be older - perhaps old enough to have a daughter of her own. That way, the conversation makes sense. While watching, I didn't get a sense of the older woman's age. The story was definitely compelling and the actress knew how to convey the story. However, she didn't act the age, which was unfortunate. Another distraction in the last monologue was there was an extra body on the stage who was supposed to be a 17 year-old daughter (Diana explained that this was in the stage directions and the director wanted to honor that. Totally understandable.). This daughter didn't have any lines, and I felt her body language (her mannerisms) reflected a small child as opposed to a 17 year-old woman (I refuse to believe that 17 year-olds are as immature as most believe). If I were to direct this scene, I would have staged it differently where the audience is the daughter, and like the other monologues, it's just the woman on stage. Again, I would have made the actress act the age (and even physically aged her; baby powder in one's hair to show grey isn't that hard).

I have other opinions, all of which I did share with Diana, since she is committed to this project at the moment. Please do not misconstrue these comments as harsh criticisms. I'm just sharing opinions (as an avid theater lover and former theater person). As I mentioned before, Export Quality has a lot of potential. But like any play-in-progress, it just needs some fine tuning. Anyway....

Below are some news links that are related to the cases that I thought you all would be interested in. Enjoy!

Proposed Law Would Regulate International Marriage Brokers

President signs bill to protect mail-order brides after Washington state cases

A deadly affair

Vows of silence

Saga of slain spouse `a case of a lifetime'