By CORHEINNE JOYCE B. COLENDRES
EVIL IS a natural force that can easily be bred, propagated, and cultured. It finds its roots from the deepest and darkest regions of a person’s identity. It is synonymous to Midas’ touch—destroying everything that comes to its way. Despite that, evil is weak. With enough force, it is something that can be extracted and driven away.
Staged at the Albertus Magnus Auditorium from Feb. 1 to 10, Hexenringe, Mediartrix’s first minor production for the semester, tackles the cultivation of evil and how it is something so dark and powerful that it can ultimately consume a person.
Hexenringe tells the story of Joshua (Maynee Singson), a medical student who tries to make up for being an absentee boyfriend by agreeing to accompany his girlfriend, Arwen (Monica Divino) to visit a travelling circus that came to their town. Upon his arrival, Joshua finds out that Arwen is nowhere to be found. He is then approached by the circus’ Ringmaster (Vincent Sumo) who puts him through an elaborate game of cat and mouse.
Hexenringe is commendable for its grand and carefully-crafted musical sequences that rarely strayed away from the story’s plot. Its smooth transitions to one scene from the next and the consistent rising and falling of the story’s tension are some of the play’s most wonderful aspects.
With excellent lighting and production design, the play was able to bring the circus to the audience. It balanced the use of both dark and vibrant tones, switching the lighting design at the perfect moment, which helped carry the ideas of disarray and madness with its constant changing and isolation of certain elements in the stage.
With a tightly-knit storyline, the musical play evoked a sense of fear. The actors brought in performance the complexity of what is crazy as they successfully introduced a feeling of being in a circus where everything is never what is seems. Insanity was a primary factor that was constant all throughout the play; it was evident in Joshua’s journey in which he continuously did the exact same thing over and over, yet he still expected for a different result.
Written by Anna Esguerra, the musical play is ultimately a story about love and how it is two sides of the same coin. Hexenringe covers the scope of a passionate love in both good and bad aspects. Joshua’s dedication to go through numerous challenges to find Arwen is a portrayal of his love as a good and unbreakable force, while the Ringmaster’s dedication for his mother, to heal her at the expense of the freedom of the people in his circus, shows love as a sickening force that latches on to evil. F