Digital Reporter

There are two opposing old schools of thought when it comes to discussing the morality of man and why we need laws to govern us—naturalism and positivism. Saint Thomas Aquinas, the prime philosopher on natural law theory, believes that man is inherently good. God, who is good, gave us an innate sense of morality so that we would seek out his teachings and guidance even if we’ve never heard of him before. Law, therefore, is based on what God wants us to be. On the other hand, positive legal theory does not anchor itself on the supposed innate goodness of man, and that political leaders create laws for our fellow men to prevent ourselves from descending into chaos. Law, therefore, is based on what we set for ourselves.

Yet in Jay Crisostomo IV’s Bastion, a play staged by Marikina‑based Ikarus Theatre Collaborative, both the highest legal and religious authorities of the fictional city of Bastion came up with the same solution to solve the food crisis as the 45‑year long winter continues to rage. First, we sacrifice the old, then the infirm, and if worst comes to worst, the young. The law was implemented for the city’s survival, so that there will still be people left when winter is over. In the end, only The Mayor, The Nun, and the youngest of their eight children, Lilith, is left in the small city that has seemingly been forgotten by the national government. Oh, and by sacrifice we mean eat. Because what else can you eat in a world where nothing else grows?

While most stories begin on how this situation came to be, Bastion puts us at a time when winter is about to end. A masked Stranger, emissary of the national government— accompanied by his subordinates, the cheerful Petra and the morose Maximus— arrives to Bastion to announce that the time of plenty is coming. No longer will they want for food. No longer will they have to eat their own.

Now they must face the consequences of survival.

The play, penned by Crisostomo, marks the end of the season for the 2017 season of the Marikina‑based theater group, to be held at their home theater Dito: Bahay ng Sining starting the 17th of November. Members of the press were treated to a preview of the play’s first act last Friday, as well as a drink from the attached bar and café. Dito is also owned by Crisostomo, who hopes to create an affordable space for artists to stage plays, hold events, and just meet and chill in general.

As a big fan of celebrations of the macabre and the occasional pointless musings on what makes a man and what separates him from the monster, I enjoyed the play a lot. It’s so bloody you can almost taste the tang on the tip of your tongue. While there are obvious physical limits to theater (it was made to be affordable, after all), the actors make use of every little space until we are transported to another country— cold, cruel, desolate— a seeming exact opposite to the Philippines. In fact, being trapped in a small space with all these talented people can be overwhelming, and you’re forced to think of all these gory things whether you want to or not.

It’s also clear that friendship is a major driving force for the people of Ikarus Theatre Collaborative. Everyone— the actors, the production team, the writer— knows one another as friends and as friends of friends who eventually became friends. It’s this personal relationship between them that ensures that they come up with a production that both the crew and the audience can enjoy.

Bastion will run from November 17 to November 25. Check out Ikarus Theatre Collaborative’s facebook page for more info.