Saturday, January 31, 2009
Entablado’s Expres is an hour-long presentation of five short plays in Filipino. In here, it not only lives up to the name for the speed in which each play proceeded, but also lives up to the idea of literature being a reflection of what happens in society. As such, each play shows trends of macro and micro social theories which mark the play as a legitimate mirror of the behavior of society. Three of these five plays will be under study.
In “Babymaker,” a woman works as a baby factory: she sells her body to foreigners whose goal is to impregnate her so that when she gives birth to her baby, she will get paid for the whole bother. From this short glimpse into the life of the babymaking character, it may be gleaned that her social role is being performed within the network of structural functionalism. By selling herself, she does the part of a commodity that the society needs to buy in order to sustain the human population, to which she contributes by creating babies the childless couples cannot make. Her commodification stabilizes the society by replenishing the need in the birth-death ratio, fundamentally. More importantly, her infant creator role prevents the crumbling of the social structure that’s the family by way of offering her babies as complementing factors in frustrated fathers and mothers. With the consequences of her babymaking service, the society tends to have balance because the threat of childless couples not becoming full-pledged fathers and mothers (therefore, full-pledged families) gets addressed by her. She even takes the social role seriously, ignoring the advances of a suitor in the name of business. No matter how demeaning her bodily commodification is, she is a babymaker who genuinely contributes to social order and stability by way of completing the most basic social unit of family.
In “Walang Iwanan,” a sugar mommy and her kept boy were meeting in a motel for the last time, the boy being a soon-to-be groom. The woman, however, decides to poison the guy because she cannot let go. The kind of relationship going on between the two may be seen in the light of exchange theory. This is the case because their social interaction, i.e. with each other is marked by what they lose and gain mutually. On the one hand, the kept boy loses by trading his dignity for money. With his gained money, however, he is able to sustain his survival. On the other hand, the woman loses by disregarding her self-respect if only for the love of the boy. With her gained attention from him, however, she is able to complete herself. This setup of bargaining between the two is about to be disrupted because of the looming marriage of the boy, who may find answer to his economic instability in the more stable structure of family life promised by marriage. Because the woman stands to lose because she has nothing weightier to compromise the boy in, she resorts to poisoning the boy because the latter disillusions her about being able to reciprocate her love.
In “Eyeball,” two chatmates agree to meet personally. Their setup may be seen in the framework of symbolic interactionism because at their specific social level, society exists in the form of their interaction with each other. Their individual interaction is facilitated by the use of the cyber-language: they talk over the net, and the girl is such a good conversationalist that he decides to engage in an eyeball with her to complete his attraction. Her capacity to talk well to him is his kind of subjective reality; however, seeing that she is not pretty at all, he associates this ugliness to the idea that she can hardly carry on with a conversation. The fact that while online, he was drawn to her by way of her good talk escaped him. For him, only the subjective reality that good talkers are actually good looking too matters, because this is how he constructed his identity as well without necessarily being aware that he, himself, becomes good-looking only due to the strength of his self-confidence.
These three plays succeed in manifesting the social theories that apply in all interactions among humans. Whether the social interactions occur in the macro or micro level, it is important to note that all these individual encounters amount to the shaping of the entire society.