Juan Tamad (Juan the Lazy) is one of the most popular characters in Filipino children's folklore. According to the legends, Juan Tamad was so lazy that instead of picking a guava fruit from the tree, he lay underneath it and waited for gravity to do the work!
That story, and many other variations of it became one of the inspirations for "Si Juan Tamad, ang Dyablo at ang Limang Milyong Boto (Juan the Lazy, The Devil, and the Five Million Votes)," the last offering for the 42nd season of the Philippine Educational Theater Association. It is a musical comedy set in the fictional island of Isla Filiminimon and follows the young Juan and a motley crew of characters as they navigate around the crazy, carnivalesque world of Filimini politics and Filimini election season. The Devil (played superbly by Vincent de Jesus, also the composer, lyricist writer and musical director of the play) discourages Juan from participating in the upcoming elections, as there seems to be no point in trying to change the order of things. "Besides, you have to register to vote, and the registration venue is so far!" the Devil says. "So far! Two blocks away!"
The other characters in the play are the candidates for the elections, all vying for votes through the usual false promises and tawdry gimmickry. There's Sigben Pugot, an all-too-charming politician...
And Mariang Batibat, who looks suspiciously like the wife of a former dictator here. Whoops.
The play is called Juan the Lazy, the Devil and the Five Million Votes because there are 5 million "virgin" or first-time voters in the Philippines (and who make up the target audience of the play). That's a large chunk of voters who can hopefully influence the outcome of our elections for the better.
More on the play tomorrow!