'Mind's Eye': To see is to believe
MANILA, Philippines - Show, don't tell.
This is a cardinal rule in art, be it literature or theater. Action, not mere exposition, must propel the narrative. Characters best reveal themselves not through their words, but through their interactions, decisions and indecision.
How does one “show” onstage a novel about a bedridden paralytic girl and an elderly woman beset by dementia, traveling to Italy through their imagination alone?
Acclaimed actors Joy Virata, Jenny Jamora and director Jaime del Mundo will reveal how it is done before live audiences once again, with the re-staging of their well-loved theatrical adaptation of “Mind's Eye,” author Paul Fleischman's inspirational award-winning novel for young adults.
But they are not “telling” anyone how it's done just yet. You'll just have to watch the “show.”
“Mind's Eye” is set for September 6 to 8 at 8pm (with a 3pm matinee on September 7) at the Carlos P. Romulo Auditorium of RCBC Plaza, Makati City. The play also features the talents of set designer Lex Marcos, lighting designer John Battalia and actors Caisa Borromeo, Red Concepcion, Nath Everett and Naty Crame Rogers.
Jamora plays the role of Courtney, a girl abandoned by her father at a tender age, left to the care of an awful stepdad by the death of her mother, paralyzed by an equestrian accident and left at the mercy of a nursing home.
It is there where she meets Elva (played by Virata), an elderly widow suffering from Alzheimer's disease and poor eyesight. She promised her husband before his death that she would sojourn in Italy. Now that she is too frail, she finally takes that trip to Naples, Rome and Florence with the help of a guide book, Courtney's eyes to read it, and their imagination to fly across the globe.
“Mind's Eye” enjoyed rave reviews when it premiered November 9, 2012, winning the approval of no less than the novel's author as well as local critics.
Del Mundo, Virata and Jamora are demure about giving too much away, but this is what they have to say about showing instead of telling the story:
Del Mundo admits, “There are a lot of internal monologues there. We had to find theatrical ways to work about it, to make it come across. We did it with the help of music, lighting and staging.”
Virata notes, “The dialogue is so well written, and because it's so well written, so rich, there' so much for the actors to mine, there is a wealth of materials from which to create characters.”
Jamora adds, “For me there is a difference between telling when you're simply saying a lot of exposition, and the way it's done here, which is showing. It's so well-written that the characters' wants and needs are still conveyed. They might be telling a story, but the motivations are not blatantly said in words. Underneath is a layer that has to come out not just in words but in actions.”
Another dimension to this play is that — just as the characters in the novel attempt to suspend their own disbelief and travel across the globe with their imagination despite the confines of their nursing home and frailties of their body — so, too, must the actors suspend the disbelief of the audience and make them see through their mind's eye.
After all, all art — even literature or music — is visual. They engage the imagination, make one see things with the mind's eye. Paintings shouldn't just show oil on canvas and theater should not just be actors on stage. As forms of art, they suspend our disbelief, transport us to far-off lands and make us weep for the fictional pain of imaginary characters.
Jamora notes, “We're just there in one room with no visual aids. Everything is done through dialogue, how you say things.” Virata reveals, “When you see it in your mind, really believing it's there, it makes it come alive. And I think that's what makes audiences see it as well.” - Rappler.com
For ticket information, call Ticketworld at 891-9999 or visit the Ticketworld website.