A 1.0 for ‘Zero Factorial’

A 1.0 for ‘Zero Factorial’

by UA&P News Desk on February 23, 2011 - 4:52 pm

Zero Factorial, Dulaang ROC’s 13th Playfest production, ran like a math equation—easy enough to write down but tough to figure out.

UA&P students Aris Acoba and Jay-ar Mira respectively directed and wrote a captivating play about a poor but lighthearted family that opposes the decision of the eldest son–their only hope out of poverty–to become a priest.

Mira plays the levelheaded John who contends with the various characters in the family: Tatay Mar (Philip Oñate), a tricycle driver, who tries to make both ends meet for the family; Nanay Adelle (Joyce Centeno) shows understanding and patience despite trials; daughter Angel (Alyana Dalisay) constantly dreams of the future; and an epileptic youngest child Bibo (Lio Cana in an outstanding performance) poses to be both the family’s struggle and gift.

The play starts lightly with humorous exchanges and teases when the family receives news of John’s breakup with his girlfriend. An upsurge of emotions kick in as John announces his plans of entering priesthood.

According to Mira, these sudden shifts in mood—from playful to emotionally taut – are characteristic of Filipino families who always end up well despite problems.

“I did not intend the play just to be seen by the UA&P community. I just want to show the audience, whoever they may be, that their families would always be with and there for them,” Mira said.

An unlikely setting

Mira makes use of a marginalized Filipino home as his setting–an unlikely choice for such a young, neophyte playwright who would typically opt to be more different–which sets it apart from other plays held in the university.

“A friend told me before I wrote the play that the home as a setting may not work because it is, as he said, gasgas na (passé) … But after writing the play, I realized it had a very un-UA&P setting but its ideals are very UA&P,” Mira said.

An unexpected protagonist’s conversion

The drama explores a complicated relationship between John and father Mar, and in turn, Mar’s relationship with God.

Fearful of his son’s possibly wasted future, Mar violently disproves of John’s plan to enter the seminary and blames God for their misfortune. He appeals to his son to put his love for his family first.

While condemning his son’s decision, events unfold that brings him to reexamine his traumatic past and his inner self, as well as to reflect on his adamant stance against his son’s decision to follow his vocational call.

Two types of charity, which Mira intended to tackle, were unveiled as the story focuses in on a hardworking but spiritually weak character: “Charity towards God and charity towards persons,” Mira said.

“My original plan was to show and explain the nature of love using Pope John Paul’s definition of love – and that is “to give oneself,” the student-writer added, explaining that as Mar overcomes the difficulty to respect his son’s choice, he also came to love God.

More than a math equation

Zero factorial or 0! in mathematical representation is defined as equal to one. Inspired by this concept, Mira explained how John’s act of zeroing out by giving himself to God makes him one.

The writer said that such self-giving does not exactly make an individual empty, but ironically makes him whole and complete.

“It is one because in the end there is only on being responsible for everything and had loved us, and that is God,” he said.

Mira added that though John’s family appears to be victims of life’s hardships, their act of giving up their chance to live a more comfortable life makes them examples of love. Such true love that entails sacrifice is in effect the story’s focal theme that deserves a grade if 1.0.

Dulaang ROC’s next playfest will run from March 1 to March 5 at the Dizon Auditorium.#

~Text by Jireh Pihoc, I CAS | Photos by Rosemary Sia, I CAS

Errata: Only JR Mira is a CAS student, while Aris Acoba is an IT student. The father character’s name is Mar, not Adelle, which is the name of the mother.
Bookmark and Share

Share this page: