I'm lost. The directions given me were clear, and the taxi that brought me there knew the landmarks I mentioned. But that was as far as I was able to follow. I am in front of Magsaysay High School in Cubao, and across from me, on the other side of EDSA, was Nepa-Q Mart. But I can't find Victoria School. And the three locals I asked also did not know where I wanted to go.
There was a place called Victoria, one of them said, but it's on a different side of town, quite a ways away from where we were now.
It was still early though, and my instincts tell me that I'm close, so I walked around at bit to gather my thoughts, and decided to get lost for a while. And thus, my adventure began hours before the play officially started.
A few minutes' walk, and a couple of t-junctions later, I found out what I was looking for -- the abandoned Victoria School -- the site of the promised blood bath I was to partake with that night.
Battalia Royale is a play loosely based on the novel Battle Royale by Koushun Takami, about a class of high school students drugged and abducted, and pitted against each other in a kill-or-be-killed, last-one-standing, battle to the death. I have always wanted to see the show ever since I heard about their performance at the CCP. Due to scheduling problems and work *cough*audit*cough* I wasn't able to attend their performances. As luck would have it, a friend had a friend who happened to have and extra ticket for the show. Though I had other plans for the night, I wasn't about to pass up an opportunity, given the reviews I've read online.
And what an adventure it was! It was raw; it was dirty; it was definitely bloody. It was so much fun! I was near enough to see much of it unfold and was lucky enough to evade all the gore. Others weren't as lucky and ended up looking like a survivor of a massacre.
Choosing the abandoned school as location for the play was a novel idea. it added a palpable dread and an ominous feeling to the whole set. And with an almost full moon shining, the final sequences were lent more tension no amount of dramatic lighting could ever replicate.
Considering its a play about children killing each other with us, the audience, egging them on, and at times, cheering the inventive and manipulative acts of the killers, saying that I loved the performance might mean admitting my sociopath tendencies. But I do love the play, and seeing it made me think how long I would, given the circumstances, be able to hold on to my humanity.
Poor social skills aside, will I play the game, or will I wait until pushed to the brink before I unleash my inner animal? Or will it be too late, and I end up one of the casualties? Maybe I will never know, and that would be a good thing.
Battalia Royale held its last performance last Sunday, but given the rave reviews it has garnered, I doubt it will be the last we will see of it.