By By Pablo A. Tariman
posted 14-Oct-2018  ·  
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Rafa Siguion Reyna, Rina Reyes and Ricky Davao in "Baka Naman Hindi" adapted from the Georges Feydeau play, "A Flea In Her Ear."

Georges Feydeau’s 1907 play, A Flea In Her Ear, will have another revival at the CCP through an adaptation which transported the setting from Paris to Manila.

Earlier translated and adapted by Virgilio “Beer” Flores who writes for television, the revival goes by the title, Baka Naman Hindi with Dennis Marasigan directing with a cast headed by Ricky Davao, Rina Reyes, Lou Veloso and Rafa Siguion Reyna, among others.

By coincidence, it is the same play first staged at the CCP in the early 70s with a distinguished cast headed by Vic Silayan and Charlie Davao and with a younger Marilou Diaz-Abaya in it playing one of the maids. The director then was no other than the present CCP president Arsenio Nick Lizaso who was active in theater at the time.

He cast Ricky Davao for one reason: “Not only is he a proven good actor in any genre. This play is also memorable for him for it was the very first production he saw in his youth, and it also had his father (the late Charlie Davao) in the cast. Once we secured Ricky’s participation in the cast, we had to assemble a company that will not only look right along with him but can also match his comedic talents.  I am happy we have the actors in the cast, all of whom are outstanding actors and many of whom have been rewarded with awards and distinctions for their work in theater, film and television.”

Ricky Davao said watching Flea in Her Ear at the CCP was the first play he ever saw at age 13 and watching his Dad and co-actors Bernardo Bernardo in it fueled an inner desire to aspire to become an actor.

Marasigan told the Inquirer the CCP president invited him to direct the play with a new cast. “Having come across the play as an epitome of farce during my years of study of the theater, it was an offer I could not resist.”

In this age of political uncertainty and skyrocketing prices, what new insights can CCP come up with in a play where wives are restless and suspicious and husbands go through temporary impotence and characters are preoccupied with self-gratification with sex and revenge thrown in while others cling to a flimsy façade of decency and honor?

Marasigan says he can connect very well with the French playwright being a playwright himself. “Feydeau is associated with farce who is most famous to foreign audiences.  This play can be considered as having inspired other playwrights to create similarly-themed materials, such as Ken Ludwig’s Lend Me a Tenor and Comedy of Tenors, Michael Frayn’s  Noises Off , and possibly even Julian Cruz Balmaceda’s Sino Ba Kayo and Wilfrido Ma. Guerrero’s Wanted: A Chaperone

He points out: “Among the characteristics of farce is the plot, and A Flea in Her Ear is among the best examples of the ‘door-slamming’ or the mistaken identity variety. And we all need a little laugh sometimes. As a director, my intention is to entice new audiences to the theater through this production, while also drawing in regular theater-goers who may be familiar with the play itself or other plays similar to or inspired by it.”

He considers it a primary challenge in every play is to be true to the playwright’s intentions. “In this play, it is to entertain the audience and make them laugh.  We hope that the actors will be able to do so while keeping a straight face themselves. Thus far, they have been the first ones to laugh during rehearsals.”

Isn’t it true that many things are sacrificed in the process of translation?

“I agree which is why we have chosen to adapt the play to a Filipino setting, in the hope that while some things may be lost, others may be gained in the transposition. The more important thing would be to try and reach a wider audience for the theater, particularly for theater classics, whether they be in their original language or in translation.  It stands to reason that this play, having been first written in French, might be better appreciated in a Filipino translation or adaptation.”

(“Baka Naman Hindi”  -- starring Ricky Davao, Rina Reyes, Lou Veloso, Rafa Siguion Reyna, Nelsito Gomez, Nazer Salcedo, Tex Ordonez De Leon, Mosang,Raffy Tejada, Gilleth Sandico, Anthony Falcon, Jef Henson Dy, Felipe Ronnie Martinez, Wenah Nagales --

runs at the CCP Little Theater October 18-21 at 8 pm. and October 20-21 at 3 pm with set  design by Ohm David, costume design by James Reyes, sound design by TJ Ramos and Dennis Marasigan as lighting designer and director. Tickets at P1000 and P1200. Call 8323704 (CCP Box Office) or 8919999 (TicketWorld)  for inquiries.)

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