Unconventional projects show Nora Aunor, Kim Chiu in a flattering light
There’s nothing more potent than music or film culled from or inspired by real-life situations. And this couldn’t be truer than in Nora Aunor’s one-woman show “Lola Doc” or Kim Chiu’s clap-back viral hit single “Bawal Lumabas (The Classroom Song”).If you’ve had your fill of escapist fluff throughout this stultifying quarantine period, the Superstar’s birthday performance for Tanghalang Pilipino and PansamanTanghalan last Thursday (when she turned 67) is guaranteed to sweep viewers off their feet—and drag them back to reality.
The show has more mush than necessary, but her self-helmed, award-worthy portrayal is indelible as much for its thematic pertinence as it is for its power and brevity—it’s just over 10 minutes long. The monologue is written by Layeta Bucoy, with some help from Chuck Gutierrez (editing), Andrea Teresa Idioma (sound), Jaye Jacinto (visual special effects) and TJ Ramos (music).
Lola Doc is a senior front-liner forced to seek the assistance of a “technologically proficient” nurse she calls Betty, who arranges her “virtual meeting” on Zoom with her sulking housebound grandchildren (Elisha Grace Campos, Antonette Go and Noel Comia Jr.).
In the twilight of her years as a physician, the exhausted doctor now faces an uncertain future as she comes to terms with her virus-stricken husband’s death, then mulls the possibility of getting infected herself.
She’s somehow resigned to her fate and swears to continue answering the call of duty, explaining to her young wards why she can’t turn her back on her patients and how the noble but once seemingly invincible medical profession is getting tested by the uncompromising virulence of the new health scourge.
“This isn’t just common bronchitis. Mahihirapan kang huminga,” she calmly warns them, as she likens the symptoms of pneumonia it causes to swimming and breathing underwater.
“Ganun talaga ’pag duktor…,” she points out. “Hindi naman natin nakukuha lahat ng gusto natin.”
The call is meant to reassure her grandkids about how much she misses them (“Mayayakap ko pa ba kayo?”).
In the end, the teleconference plays out like a bittersweet farewell, with each of them touching their respective screens with palpable affection. It’s also a plea to collectively treat their dire situation as a glass-half-full experience. She tells them to hang on to their Facebook memories and think happy thoughts—from the holidays they celebrated together as a family, to their Lolo Doc’s corny but heartwarming jokes. And nobody could have delineated these happy-sad sentiments with as much clarity, honesty and, as we mentioned in our previous article about Ate Guy, empathy as local Tinseltown’s Grand Dame!
More by accident than design
Like Ate Guy, Kim Chiu chooses to turn a negative situation into something more productive—and positive. But the latter found hers more by accident than design.
Of course, the Chinita Princess’ strengths as a performer are nowhere nearly as prodigious as the Superstar’s, but Kim’s newfound conviction and outspokenness are indubitably a measure of maturity.
Trolls and bashers can say whatever they want, but speaking for herself and for others is becoming more an asset than a liability for the actress, particularly in a country weighed down by a deluge of fence-sitters.
Kim’s naysayers had a field day bashing her for the incomprehensible but hilarious classroom analogy that quickly went viral recently (“Pati ako, hindi ko maintindihan,” she quipped in candor). But having a stand on sensitive issues is way better than merely getting empowered by cowardly anonymity. “OK lang magkamali,” she rationalizes. “I learned my lesson. Now, let’s celebrate.” And celebrate she does by way of her latest hit single under Star POP, “Bawal Lumabas (The Classroom Song),” which comes on the hot heels of the inspirational song “‘Wag Kang Bumitaw.”
The fun song, whose video generated a string of hits on TikTok, intends to turn all the negativity surrounding the laugh-out-loud memes her impassioned speech has spawned—by poking fun at herself and her bashers, and drawing strength from the lessons learned from the said experience.
The video has reportedly recorded more than 10 million views across all social media platforms in one day—which is something her trolls can only dream about.
The track, cowritten by Kim, Adrian Crisanto and producer Squammy Beats, with back-up vocals by Chir Cataran and vocal arrangement by Jonathan Manalo, is surprisingly more feel-good than spiteful. Moreover, it’s an earworm with riffs worthy of a few spins on your music players.
Even better than Kim’s track is Jopper Ril’s jazzy feel-good version of the song, in which, as Jopper himself explains on Facebook, he “channels my inner James Ingram”—with his tongue firmly in cheek! He deserves a mainstream record deal for his minute-long “Bawal Lumabas” cover alone, no kidding. INQ
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