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Dream after dream: Illustrating Nursing issues centerstage

by Jenika Gracia P. Simbillo

            Who would have thought that our professors, clinical instructors and co-students would really prove that Nursing is art?

Once a year, the faculty members of the University of Santo Tomas – College of Nursing strip off from their corporate attires and light yellow lab coats and get into theater garments for the Nursing Week’s most anticipated college play held at the San Martin de Porres Cinematorium.

            Last semestral break, Jeanne Iris Agcaoili, the director of this year’s play entitled, Ang Ika-pitong Panaginip ni Adela, lead the selection of the most talented cast, including chosen students from our college. Her background from Teatro Tomasino would make her perfect for the job, with Kennrick Glenn Magdangal as the inventive scriptwriter.

In Agcaoili’s introduction, she stressed out that unlike the first two faculty plays namely, From-D and From-D2, the presentation would be serious and symbolical rather than comical. Based on the rape incident of a nurse in Mindanao, the story revolved around psychiatric cases and social awareness. The said nurse was mobilized by the Nurses Assigned in Rural Service (NARS) Project which was launched by former President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo in line with the pump priming strategies to mitigate the impact of the global financial crisis. The play opened with a rally portrayed by students, holding banners and shouting integrity for nurses such as “Katarungan sa mga nars na pinaglaruan ng kanilang mga pinagsilbihan.”

Pitong Panaginip

            Mrs. La Arnie Lazalita, depicts the role of a resident psychiatrist who was interviewed by Miss Morales (Sarah Arabejo), a freelance writer who wanted to author a book about Adela Ramirez (Jayme Jalandoni), a former Public Health nurse and a rape victim confined in a mental health institution. Adela, diagnosed with Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), was observed to have dreams and flashbacks of different proverbial episodes.

The first dream was the breakfast with her father (Mr. Elmer Hibek) who discourages her to push through her volunteering in Sarangani for three months. He advises that she should have three things beside her while sleeping: a telephone, a Bible and a rosary. He trivially adds that she should always have a large syringe for the “pigs”.

            Ron (John Carlo Martin), Adela’s admirer, came into the picture in the second dream. Adela passed by while Ron and three other drunken men (Mr. Dan Carlo Buenaventura, Jan Joel Simpauco and Paul Vincent Labajosa), were having a videoke session. The small gang then made her sing Gulong ng Palad in place of the drink he refused. The narrating psychiatrist told Miss Morales that Adela was mentally and physically traumatized after that, thus the analysis. Adela manifested avoidance, emotional instability, flashbacks and nightmares.

Mrs. Maria Corazon Olayres portrayed the role of Aling Isyang, a sari-sari­ store owner. Rallyists, as the story was recounted, cried out, “Parusahan ang mga demonyong baboy!” The Philippine Nurses Association officer (Mrs. Zenaida Famorca) and a superintendent (Mr. Richmond Loa) were interviewed by reporters during the rally, rendered by Thea Marcelo, Mrs. Ethelyn Maglanque-Perlas, Mrs. Yvette Montecillo, Mrs. Maria Cherry Tanodra, Ms. Daizele Gabriel, Ms. July Tongol, and Mr. Gian Carlo Torres.

            The third reverie comprised of a comfort woman (Marxanndra Magalona of IV-6) being crucified. Mrs. Elizabeth Cortez blindfolded the victim, and Ms. Brenda Luy wiped the lady’s face, recreating the act of Veronica in Jesus’ way to the Calvary. A signboard which says “Ginahasa ako” was set around the woman’s neck, but was replaced with “Nagpagahasa ako” by common people. She then spoke one of the last seven words of Christ: “Ama, patawarin mo ang lipunan sapagkat hindi nila alam ang kanilang ginagawa.”

            Kennrick Glenn Magdangal stole the scene, portraying as a devil flexibly twisting on the floor and around the priest’s (Mr. Earl Francis Sumile) legs during a homily in the fourth nightmare. A Muslim dance was the fifth dream, wherein an indigenous woman (Mrs. Eden Beltran) told Adela that she must be named “Afifa”, meaning pure and chaste. What she said was imprinted on Adela’s mind at the time she became mentally ill, stating, “Ako si Afifa.”

The sixth dream was the day of the antagonist’s rape incident, ingeniously painted with symbolical emblems, such as goats and pigs, trying to put the puzzle pieces together from all of Adela’s dreams. Mrs. Evelyn Tan-Matienzo played the role of Adela’s mother who died when she was six years old. A special participation from the adorable Janet Jurado, daughter of Mrs. Ma. Elizabeth Jurado, gave justice to her character as the young Adela.
            Finally, the psychiatrist reported that Adela is still in her seventh and probably last dream. After which, the touched writer made a momentous speech on the story of should-be Afifa.
            The cast and crew were gratefully applauded by the Nursing community and other audiences, giving positive feedbacks from the acting to the directing. A very unique staging, the presentation would surely be awaited for its encore.


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