Recursos: A Narrative of Reality
A heart-wrenching piece that depicts the power of vengeance; a story that shows how in madness, love can push people into doing the unfathomable, the irrevocable. “Hamlet”, originally written by the renowned playwright William Shakespeare, was adapted into Layeta Bucoy’s “Recursos” to fit its timeless message to the Philippine context. Masterfully directed by Bart Savior, the play was presented by The Xavier Stage (TXS) last February 24, 2017 to March 1, 2017.
The plot revolved around Eric (Hamlet), the heir to his family’s mining industry. Haunted by his father’s ghost, he went through madness in coping with his father’s death while exerting his best efforts to avenge him at the same time. In his struggle for vengeance, he drowned in paranoia and insanity as he was blinded by anger, fear, and betrayal. He experienced this while having to deal with major problems in their mining industry, Recursos, his mother’s immediate remarriage with his Uncle Enrique (Claudius), and his unmended relationship with his girlfriend, Nina (Ophelia). This upheaval of events built constant internal conflicts within Eric, thus also adding to his hostility towards the people around him. These never-ending struggles and complexities all, in turn, added to the play’s air of drama, madness, and love. This, along with its artistic excellence, literary value, and timely theme made Recursos one of the best ensembles TXS has ever staged.
Recursos ticked every box when it came to artistic and technical excellence. Upon watching the play, I could see that every technical aspect was set in place. It was compelling to watch the actors go beyond themselves in becoming their characters. They played their roles so believably- each line thrown with emotion, each action with motive and cause. It wasn’t seeing individual actors and actresses putting on a performance, as it was witnessing the Recursos’ characters breathing, feeling, and living in front of me.
Moreover, the set design made a great impact on the portrayal of this tragedy. While it may have been minimalistic, it definitely was not mediocre. I believe there was value in the stage’s simplicity as it also moved the audience to be one with the cast in imagining and breathing life into the play. Every other technicality was well-executed. The actors’ costumes and makeup added to the effectiveness of their portrayal; all the sound effects were played on cue, and the script itself added to the message’s understandability.
Furthermore, Recursos’ literary value made it an interesting story to experience. The plot itself was filled with complexities framed through the lens of conscience. The mere fact that Eric faced conflict in each scene, both internal and external, built up the heaviness in the series of events. This, along with his character development stimulated thought and emotion as the play progressed.
It not only depicted his struggles, it made us think of those of our own. Leading up to the climax where Eric himself no longer knew whether the vengeance he sought justified his actions mirrored the confusions we all face within. I think it washis rawness and relatablility that made “Recursos” all the more meaningful and unique. His actions, paved by his intentions, made the audience reflect of their own struggles.
Lastly, more than the acting and the plot, Recursos’ timely message made it very thought-provoking. I liked how the play did not stray too far from reality. If anything, it was a vivid reflection of it. It was a representation of unjust structures, family complications, and identity confusion. It highlighted problems in the context of the Philippines such as the environmental threat of mining, rape culture, and corrupt political power plays. It dwelled on the measures one would take out of familial love and loyalty, and portrayed real human emotions- anger, distress, and hatred. The ensemble was very true to life. In every way, it was full of humanity and reality.
All in all, I believe Recursos is a play that shouldn’t just be enjoyed, but also deeply pondered on. I believe it was a powerful way to accentuate timely social issues and internal struggles. Indeed, it is a production that stays true to The Xavier Stage’s promise of shaping a whole new meaning to the arts by using theater as a channel to advocate social awareness and change.