A play on what it means to be a man

TOPICS about manhood and masculinity that are deemed taboo and vulgar are the focus of Dicktalks, a theatrical production of V-Roll Media Ventures that premieres in mid-April.

Directed by Phil Noble, the play takes inspiration from Eve Ensler’s popular The Vagina Monologues which broke many taboos when it premiered in 1996. Dicktalks includes open and intellectual discourse by those who identify as male — either by birth or choice.

The people behind production company V-Roll Media Ventures thought of producing an out-of-the-box project in their third year. Mr. Noble and V-Roll’s CEO and Creative Director Eboy Valdez Vinarao, Jr. came up with the play’s concept over coffee when the country was still under tight restrictions from the coronavirus pandemic.

“We are new. We are unknown. And at this day and age wherein lahat ay pinag-uusapan na sa (everything is now talked about on) social media. We need to create something that is strong, brave, and bold,” Mr. Vinarao said in a press conference on Feb. 22 at the Mowelfund Film Institute in Quezon City.

The play revolves around five different yet relatable men — a teenager, a trans man, a sex worker, a metrosexual, and an old man. The characters are played by Jake Cuenca, Gold Aceron, Mikoy Morales, Archi Adamos, and Nil Nodalo.

Twenty-four-year-old actor and model Gold Aceron says he wants to learn more as an actor with exploring live theater.

Gusto ko pa kasing matuto pa lalo. Ang alam ko sa teatro mas iba siya, iba ’yung atake. (I want to learn more. Acting for theater is different and the approach is different),” Mr. Aceron said.

Nil Nodalo said that the play is an opportunity to give representation to transmen like him. He hopes “to share awareness on our community,” adding that there are not many transmen actors.

Movie and television actor Jake Cuenca returns to live theater whenever there is an opportunity. His last stint was with The Sandbox Collective and 9 Works Theatrical’s staging of Duncan McMillan’s Lungs in 2018.

“Every time I have the time to go back to theater, gagawin ko talaga (I will really do it),” Mr. Cuenca said. “Why I accepted the play was to remind myself kung bakit ko ginagawa ang ginagawa ko (why I do what I do). It’s because I’m an actor. It’s this continuous challenge… so that I can get better.”

Written by Ara Vicencio and Benj Cruz Garcia, the script went through numerous revisions and critiquing for a well-balanced storytelling. Mr. Vinarao said that the male writer wrote from the point of view of the actual male experience, and a female writer included insights from the female perspective.

“I don’t want to offend anyone ang gender anyone. We want to be sensitive in telling stories,” Mr. Noble said. “Pag-uusapan natin ang lalaki, ano ang kinalaman ng lalaki sa lipunan at sa kababaihan, [at kung] ano ang pagkalalaki. (We’ll talk about men, how they relate to society and to women, and what masculinity is).”

The play will have performances on April 15, 16, 18, 19, 20, 21 and 23 at the Carlos P. Romulo Auditorium (RCBC Theater) in Makati City. Tickets for DickTalk will be available at https://premier.ticketworld.com.ph/; prices range from P2,000 to P3,650. — Michelle Anne P. Soliman