Yesterday, I went (alone) to UP Diliman to watch a play that was told to me by a friend. That play was my first "independent" play to have watched since my highschool days where the last theatrical play that I get to watch was El Filibusterismo. So it has been such a long time since I watched one. This play was titled Pulses, and is a thesis for a group of graduating UP students. Even though this particular play is a student production; acting was exceptional.
Props were bare, but very smartly used. Music was melancholic, and it gave me goose-bumps. What made this play exceptional was the skills of the actors and how each one gave vivid life to the characters they portrayed. Some were funny, some were shockingly liberated, some were mild yet melancholic. All, were great, and everyone will surely be able to relate to a certain character; they may be gay or straight, a cross-dresser, or a straight couple who is so much in love, a prostitute, an OFW, a lonely gay guy living alone, or a young family.
This was a play about the lives of people living with HIV, from all walks of life. Of how we live, and the things we go through, from the first day of diagnosis, progressing to the point where we have moved on. Personally, this play was not easy for me to watch at all. I thought it was going to be just okay, that it will be just a breeze, that I am just going to sit there and enjoy the production; just like when I watch Rent repeatedly. However, this one was different, basically because I... First-handedly experienced most of the scenes and stories portrayed in the play. I have witnessed and I know people going through or have gone through the exact same situations that the characters in this play had. As the emotional person that I am, and being able to absorb easily what is going on around me, I got drifted into the story, very easily. That said, tears gently poured out from my eyes just within the first few minutes of the play. I did my best to keep them in, but the scenes were all just too relatable, although not painful anymore; the memories and the emotions of way back just bursted in me. There were some scenes that were just all too familiar, very much familiar, that I felt transported to the exact same moment, that I can't stop but to just let it all out; I cried but not in sadness, but in memory of it. I had to stop myself from shaking and crying because the people beside me were already looking at me. I may sound exaggerating, but I just can't help it, it's different when someone (like me) experienced the same situation being portrayed.
The play is a great tool to open the eyes and hearts of many and give them an insight of what people living with the virus goes through and the people affected by it; like our parents, siblings, friends, lovers, acquaintances, counselors, doctors, the people we work with and who we are with at most times. It gave faces and form to what we don't see and to what we do not want to see with regards to the virus, that not only infects our bodies but influences our minds, and proper knowledge is one tool to fight it.
Pulses is a moving, powerful, and heart breaking play that opens our eyes to the hidden realities of the life changing effects of HIV.
"We are more than what our bodies make us to be" - Pulses