On March 13, 2016, Bindlestiff Studio’s Love Edition: Always & 4Ever covered seven hilarious yet profound love stories: “57 Varieties”, a story of two couple finding out another’s attachment to pornography; “Kill Me Please”, a romantic depiction of a weird and hilarious masochist-sadist love story; “Time Before Time”, a deep reflection of a son’s willingness to change history for his mother; “The Sunshower Bride”, another extremely amusing Wolf-and-Human love story with cultural symbolisms; “Puppy Love”, an extraordinary plot about two lesbians contemplating the effects of adopting a puppy to their home life; “Life of Sin”, a more serious story of revenge, betrayal with a lot of twists in between; and “Woo Her Like a Badass”, a comedic portrayal of modern courtship.
Being a person who dislikes the predictable and the familiar, I adored all the acts that defamiliarized common love themes such as a son’s love for a mother (Time Before Time) and unimaginable stupid love in damaging relationships (Kill Me Please); and cultural underpinnings to that of traditional marriages (The Sunshower Bride), homosexual relationships (Puppy Love) and peer pressure (Woo Her Like a Badass), then packaged and presented them in a whole new “delectable” way to the audience. I have never been this hooked and awed, gasping for more. Their plots and script are comparable to that of the great Jean-Baptiste Moliere-succinct, appropriate, ludicrous; the actors’ natural and effortless raising of eyebrows to embody bewilderment, smirking to disgust, biting of lips to lust, shaking of hips to merriment, pounding the heart or shaking of the head to regret, etc. to that of renowned Les Miserables’ cast; and their approach to stage to that of minimalists – sets illuminate than dominate. In a sentence, theirs is a world-class production. And to me world-class in itself does not exemplify international acclaim but one that has a sublime unforgettable impact on the audience. Look at Renoir and Monet – at first glance, their works do not astound much… impact much. But stare a little more closely and one sees works that bring the ordinary up a notch, creating a sublime experience. Having deep appreciation for the sublime pieces, I noticed that staled stories once defamiliarized either swiftly slap or silently seep through the senses of a slumbered soul. That happened to me while I sat at the last row of the theater closed to the audio booth. And up until now, I cannot put to sleep the thrill and awe I felt whilst there. Again, I appreciate the Filipino playwrights who made a world-class production in a small box in San Francisco.