Sometimes life happens even if we have not made a choice. I cried and laughed so hard watching Philippine Educational Theater Association's 47th season, Arbol De Fuego at PETA-Phinma Theater last Friday. Arbol De Fuego is Rody Rivera and Loy Arcenas' reimagining of Anton Chekhov's classic Cherry Orchard starring veteran actress Cherie Gil (Enriquetta Jardeleza-Sofronio) with Urian best actress awardee Angeli Bayani who plays Charito, Enriquetta's adopted daughter, British Independent Film award nominee Jake Macapagal as Enriquetta's ostentatious brother Adjie, 2013 Cinema One Best Actress Anna Luna as her daughter, Leo Rialp as the money-grubbing former nobleman Chitong, Raffy Tejada as the former servant self-made businessman Nonoy Tiking, Riki Benedicto as Dante, and Bembol Roco as the old and faithful mayordomo Manoy Iking.
Other characters who played as the family's hired servants include Anthony Falcon, Lao Rodriguez, Gie Onida, Kiki Baento and Divine Aucina. Enriquetta returned to the ancestral house and left her husband to realize her own family's estate to be mortgaged. The Arbol De Fuegos (fire trees) had become witness to all the family's tragedy and instead of facing bankruptcy, the family threw lavish party reminiscing their opulent past. I was taught how Chekhovian differs from other types of play and while watching the film, I've noticed how the actors have slowly developed the catharsis of their characters. I've laughed so hard at Dante and Lingling. I loved how the lines of Dante may seem crazy throwing blank and vague messages but it is one of sarcastic realities majority have grown numb and indifferent to.
I was happy at the ending showing how many have ignored and left alone the most loyal and most faithful character of all, Manoy Iking (played by Bembol Roco). In most occasions, when tragedy strikes and resolves in the end, the underdog with the most genuine intentions is left alone. Arbol De Fuego is a reflection of the past that is still true today. I loved Cherie Gil for her astounding performance as Enriquetta and for the wisdom her character portrays as a mother. Don't miss your chance to watch this significant masterpiece at PETA. For show buying and ticket information, contact PETA at 725 6244 or 0917 5765400 or contact Ticket World at ticketworld.com.ph 891 9999. Visit http://petatheater.com/ and https://www.facebook.com/PETATHEATER, follow @petatheater on Twitter for more updates.