‘Carnage’ and childrenBy Lea Salonga
Philippine Daily Inquirer
What’s better to do on a 12-hour flight than to ruminate on the goings-on of the recent past? I have a little time to reflect, now that the Manila run of “God of Carnage” has officially ended. (To all the people who came to watch, despite the weirdness of the weather, thank you all so much.) And also watch many episodes of “Wipeout” on the on-demand entertainment system.
I lied, didn’t I, when I said that last week would be the last time I’d talk about “God of Carnage”?
All went very well, indeed, as far as everything onstage and backstage were concerned. Our nightly prayer call included a special mention for Menchu Lauchengco’s “vomit” and thus, although never ever the same, this moment was always spectacular.
The show kept on evolving and changing in the most subtle of ways. Safe to say, no two performances were exactly alike, and neither were our audiences. Some were big laughers from the very start, while others needed a bit of warm-up time before getting into things.
However, I’ll have to admit that it was very disconcerting and alarming to find children in the audience, a few as young as 7. That’s because our production of “God of Carnage” featured plenty of adult language uttered in a variety of ways, as well as some very grown-up physical comedy, and more than our share of racial epithets and male chauvinism.
I’m not sure if the parents of the kids in the audience were fully aware that the play would not be appropriate for young children (who I hope will not be scarred for life by some of what they heard and saw). I can imagine a few of them saying, “Mommy, why is Princess Jasmine screaming at her husband with bad words, and what is she doing with that bottle of rum, trying to get The Genie to come out?”
Here’s a clue: If you see people in combative positions or looking generally morose on a poster, then it might be a good idea to leave at home anyone that you wouldn’t allow to see an R-rated movie. I mean, the word “carnage” was in the title. I think that would say a lot.
Maybe because of the wholesomeness of my image, it’s almost automatic to presume that when I’m in a show, it’ll be family-friendly fare. For concerts, yes, you can safely make this presumption.
However, for a play or a musical where I’m playing a character very unlike myself, it may be a good idea to ask the ticket seller or show buyer about the show’s content. Once you receive that information, you as a parent can determine and decide if your children are mature enough to handle certain adult situations and dialogue.
It’s always a trip (pardon the pun) to head to the airport and get ready for another round of work-related travel. On this flight, I have my dear mother with me. It’s been a while since we traveled together, so this should be a good time. A lot of Southern California-based family members are eagerly awaiting her arrival.
One thing that tests the patience when traveling is that there’s a lot of falling in line at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport. There’s the long line to check in (ours wasn’t moving, until another counter opened up and we were thankfully hustled to it); the line to pay the airport fee (I know of no other airport that commands this fee); the line at immigration (which was actually really short today); and the line to actually board the plane.
This last one was strange. Mom and I were sitting comfortably at the airport lounge when we heard the announcement that our flight was ready to receive passengers. We headed to get our hand baggage, outerwear and shoes scanned, then got our documents checked before falling in line.
Perhaps I set my expectations a bit too high today, but shouldn’t it follow that when you’re told your flight is ready to receive passengers, you’re actually going to get on the plane in a matter of seconds and not stand in line waiting for a half hour? A small group, including mom and I, decided to get out of the line and return to the lounge. It turned out to be a good idea.
We got another boarding announcement after about 15 minutes, then started our slow walk to the gate. By then, we were the last passengers to board. The jokes about the wait started coming at this point, which sent us all laughing.
One threesome, we found out, was a family that went on holiday to Palawan and Anvaya Cove, sporting tans to prove it. The rest were balikbayan, coming back to Manila for a visit.
So, even though you find yourself in a less than ideal situation, there is always an opportunity to make the best of it. And I think we all did, laughing all the way to the plane. Once we got there, there was more falling in line, and laughing again.
Good luck, Homer
Oh, yeah, this is something worth mentioning. At the lounge, I got to meet a scientist named Homer Pantua, who was traveling with his daughter Tala. He had spent 10 days in the Philippines working with the Department of Science and Technology to help formulate a vaccine for dengue. To Homer, and everyone working with you in this pursuit, I wish you nothing but God’s blessings and plenty of luck. If you and your colleagues are successful, that will be one huge contribution to the Filipino people.
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