* Above photo c/o Carlos Celdran
Muni on this:
“What is your impression of former first lady Imelda Marcos, and where did you get this impression from?”
To a lot of Filipinos, Imelda Marcos was the extravagant wife of dictator Ferdinand Marcos whose excessive spending on art and well, shoes, among other misappropriations, led to our country’s downward spiral. Yet to a lot of Filipinos still, she was the woman responsible for thrusting Filipino arts and culture in the international limelight, and provided opportunities for livelihood in artisan communities.
Whatever your opinion of her may be, the animated Carlos Celdran paints a bigger, more detailed picture of her life in two and a half hours – complete with daubs of fact, smears of hearsay, always punctuated with vivid color – that makes us revisit our perceptions of Imelda, and makes us rethink about how we form perceptions of people in general.
The Show That Went On
Given the news surrounding Carlos Celdran’s imprisonment for offending “religious feelings” (yes, I guess it just had to be mentioned in this article), I was actually unsure of whether the show would go on. But it did. And on February 13, I had the chance to watch the first show and dress rehearsal for this season of Livin’ La Vida Imelda at Silverlens Gallery.
Outside Silverlens Gallery: Waiting for the show to begin
Part of the set of Livin’ La Vida Imelda, with a Filipiniana “throne” for the Marcoses, and colored tape art of the PICC and Folk Arts Theater in the background
Artist Eric Quebral with his rendition of the CCP Complex in colored tape, just one in a series of pieces he created for Livin’ La Vida Imelda to showcase buildings Imelda commissioned
Posing with Livin’ La Vida Imelda merchandise with my friend Stagen Si of the prod crew and Eric’s rendition of the Coconut Palace behind us
In true Carlos Celdran fashion, he shed light on a lot of things we Filipinos never bothered to look into, and told Imelda’s story in a way that I really don’t think anyone else can. He informs, thoroughly entertains, and most importantly, invites the audience to think more critically, and be more mindful about the things we choose to believe – even some of the things that he tells in his story himself, and the perceptions or judgments we choose to have as a result of those beliefs. “I hope the audience just learns to be more discerning with information. History must be seen from all sides, not just one. Don’t polarize your past by not fully examining the history of who you are and all that is around you”, shares Celdran.
At a particularly serious moment in his performance, Celdran said, “When you suppress freedom of speech, you give gossip power”. Celdran has been known to be a very outspoken character, whose opinion is valued and agreed with by many. He may have unconventional means of getting his message across, but he is an important voice to be heard – a voice that echoes not just his own sentiments, but the sentiments of many other Filipinos who might not just have the same reach, or more importantly, the same courage.
Carlos Celdran with the Livin’ La Vida Imelda cast
Me with the man: him giving the camera a funny face, then looking at me funny
For whatever reason you choose to catch the show, to take in culture & history, to be entertained, or to show your support for Carlos, hopefully, you come out a little better, and a little more mindful.
Believe me? Watch it and critique for yourself! Show runs until March 14, 2013 only. Click on this link for more details on show schedules and how to reserve your tickets.