Star-borne love and entwined fates: FTG redo Agnoia with a trickle of novelty

FEU Advocate
March 14, 2024 15:42

Far Eastern University (FEU) Theater Guild (FTG) restaged Liza Magtoto’s Agnoia bringing the element of water into play. The production about the 12 zodiac signs features tear-jerking, wide-eyeing, and tummy-turning show that stages all 12 zodiac signs characterized into people we have all met in our lives, no matter your sun, moon, or rising–Agnoia is a treat.

Inspired by the short story ‘Horoscope’ by Eli Ruida Guieb III, Magtoto skillfully portrayed the differing kinds of love and destiny in her play.

This rendition sets itself apart from previous productions with the introduction of a captivating water-spectacle, adding a new dimension to the play.

Refreshing tradition with innovations

The introduction of the water spectacle is a newly added theatrical surprise, compared to when FTG first performed Agnoia in 2013. This mesmerizing display, however, did not come without any difficulties.

In an interview with FEU Advocate, FTG actor Arvin Jade Javier shared the preparation for the show’s new venues of storytelling required for the display.

“We have to study ilang pressure kailangan namin para to give that good effect, ti-timing din namin kung tatama sa music. Then also kasi, ‘yung electrical at water … we have to be mindful of that (We have to study the needed pressure to ensure a good effect, the timing must also match the music. Then, the electricity and water, we have to be mindful of that),” he said.

The production distinguished itself through an elevated all-white stage, a departure from the norm in theatrical productions. The actor also shared that the stage introduces an additional layer of skill and complexity to their performance.

“Our stage is elevated, and it's pure white.  White na white so wala ka talagang maitatago sa play na ‘to, … unlike other plays na madadama siya sa side-view lang o sa maliliit lang na salita (Our stage is elevated and pure white. It’s very white so you really cannot hide anything in this play, unlike other plays that can move the audience through a side-view or small words),” Javier elaborated.

Agnoia on love and constellations

There is something magical about FTG’s shows, and Agnoia takes that magic and pushes it further. What makes Agnoia stand out is its portrayal of the different definitions of love partnered with the various dynamics of zodiac signs. 

Rafael Pascua, FTG’s Artistic Head staged Agnoia alongside Dudz Teraña, FTG’s Artistic Director. The original 2013 script has been reworked this time around to cater to a new batch of Tamaraws.

Ako pumili ng (I chose) Agnoia with Sir Dudz, kasi (because) I want this season to be filled with love. Nauna ang (The first was) Tamdula VI: Loveoratory, tapos (and then) Ang Unang Aswang, which shows the tragedy behind love. Now, Agnoia talks about the possibilities of love … Para mabuo ang love kunyari (to complete love in a way),” Pascua shared.

As spoiler-free as possible, each main storyline of Agnoia is interconnected with the next one. Whether it be from a character, plot point, or zodiac, the stories are intertwined in a way that puts love on the frontline. 

Sa script, which is about astrology, nag-focus kami doon para makita ang bawat differences ng mga zodiac signs. Kasi mahirap din naman sundan ang story if the acting is one-note. So kailangan significant per character ‘yung traits and differences ng mga descriptions ng astrology nila (In the script, which is about astrology, we focused on that so we can show the differences of the zodiac signs. It is hard to follow the story if the acting is one-note. So, it needs the characters’ traits and differences of their astrology to be significant),” he stated.

Agnoia defines love in many forms –  love in family, friendship, relationships,  acceptance, and grief. What connects them all is how love is love. No matter what, who, or where, Agnoia portrays love in a way FTG has never done yet, which makes it a definite must-watch.

Crafting audience connections through artistic expertise

The play’s ability to forge a connection with the audience demonstrates the guild’s hard work and artistic expertise. Athena Velo, a second-year BA Communication student, shared that the portrayal of the characters furthered her engagement with the play.

Nakakatuwa kasi (It’s delightful because) the characters are well-portrayed kaya (which is why) at some point, nagkaroon ng (there was a) connection between me and the characters and story,” she shared.

She also encouraged fellow Tamaraws to watch the production and maximize the insights portrayed by the performance. You never know, you might even see yourself reflected in one of the characters.

“It showed different kinds of love and different situations of love na pwedeng mapagkuhanan ng lesson (It showed different kinds and situations of love that can serve as sources of lessons),” Velo said.

FTG has truly found their footing when it comes to adding life lessons into their shows just like their previous productions. There is a sense of human and emotional understanding evoked through the dialogue, dynamics, and even set design – which in turn, makes the staged stories feel relatable and lived-in for Tamaraws. 

To tell a story is one thing. But to tell a story with the amount of passion FTG has, that can cause connections from actor to audience, is an unexplainable feat that just needs to be experienced.

The play is expected to run Thursday, Friday, and Saturday on the dates March 16, 21, 22, and 23 at the FEU Center for the Arts Studio in the Engineering Building.

Whether you are looking for a laugh, a cry, or a memory, FTG’s Agnoia has it all. From memorable characters, one-liners, and technical aspects, Agnoia has the heart perfect for Tamaraws of all kinds and signs. Filled to the brim with zodiac-centered personalities and jokes, it is not a shocker if you see yourself reflected in the show. 

-Shayra Ayah S. Laja and Angelo Copon

(Photo by Zedrich Xylak Madrid/FEU Advocate)