based on Jean Genet's Prisoner of Love and some events from his life by Rodolfo Vera
Produced by Dulaang Unibersidad ng Pilipinas (DUP)
Direction: José Estrella
Scenic Design: Lex Marcos
Lights Design: Barbara Tan-Tiongco
Video: Jon Lazam
Costume Design: Carlo Pagunaling
Sound Design: J Victor Villareal
Shadow play & Graphics: Sigmund Roy Pecho
Photography: Adrian Begonia
Jean Genet, considered one of the few major figures of modern literature and drama, is also probably the most controversial. His youth was spent as prisoner, thief, male prostitute and vagabond. He wrote his first major work, Our Lady of the Flowers, in a prison, and having been discovered by the most important figures of French literature and philosophy (Jean Cocteau and Jean-Paul Sartre), he was hailed as one of the most important writers since Marcel Proust. After a period of prolific creation of plays, novels and essays, Jean Genet stopped writing for about 12 years. But towards the later part of his life, he suddenly came out with an urgent, significant and poetic essay called Four Hours in Shatila, where he wrote his eye-witness account of the massacre of Palestinian civilians in Shatila by the Phalangists (and with the tacit aid of Israeli soldiers). This essay became the prelude to his last major book called Un Captif Amoureux (Prisoner of Love), a memoir of his roughly two-year stay with the Palestinian Liberation Army in the Middle East (in 1970s and later in 1982) and the Black Panthers in the USA.
Bilanggo ng Pag-ibig is an adaptation of the book’s major portions, focusing on his encounters with the the fedayeen rebels in Palestine. The play’s structure is contained by the last days of Jean Genet’s life where, holed up in a small hotel in Paris, he is battling throat cancer while frantically trying to finish the writing of his last masterpiece. Framed in conversations with his friend Leila Shahid, later to become the General Delegate of Palestine to the European Union, the play Bilanggo ng Pag-ibig seeks to understand and portray Jean Genet’s imagination, as well as his controversial insights on revolution, betrayal and deceit, homosexuality, terrorism, and love.