A Forceful Strange Case of Citizen de la Cruz at Bindlestiff Studio

The world premiere of poet, essayist, and literature and language professor at Hunter College and New York University Luis H. Francia’s first full length play depicts the demise of Bayani de la Cruz, a Philippine patriot during the Marshall Law under the Marcus Regime. Francia describes the events of this period with authenticity and a talent to bring to the stage the horrors of the human abuse that took place.in his country. Strengthening this portrayal of the dehumanization of the country’s inhabitants is the description of the loss of virility on the part of those subjected to this severe regime.

Quack Doctor Mang Kiko (colorfully created as an eccentric character role by Percival Arcibal) is kept busy selling a potion to cure impotent husbands. One spectator queried as to whether Mang Kiko’s potion symbolized the revolution as a cure against the regime. And psychiatrist Dr. Santiago is receiving requests from wives (emotionally well portrayed by Christine Jugueta as Nena de la Cruz) to help their husbands uplift their morale or regain their potency. Meanwhile militant Captain Rivera (performed with the use of violent physical tactics by Tasi Alabastro) is willing to save the doctor from the regime’s condemnation of his revolutionary views if he can cure the Captain’s own impotency.

We also witness several scenes of violent and brutal physical and mental torture. The overly patriotic De la Cruz (believably played by Ryan Morales),who once kept numerous flags of his country in his bedroom, is caught stealing passports in his work place and viciously tortured by Captain Rivera and his staff before our eyes. There are also some excellent combat fight scenes.

Directed by Jeffrey Lo with an able cast handling the high points, the production grasps the audience’s attention in an intimate stage space with well chosen musical selections accompanying the action.

This play depicts the extremist forces under the Marcus regime that served as a tool to strengthen the ruling class and demoralized the country’s citizens. The author also subtly warns of the dangers of extreme patriotism that forces citizens into blind submission.

The Strange Case of Citizen de la Cruz reveals a candid and forcefully dramatized account of the events that the citizens underwent in the Philippines during the Marshall Law.

Bindlestiff Studio is the epicenter for Pilipino and Filipino performing arts that provides Filipino Americans access to diverse artistic activities and engages artists of different arts and disciplines to evolve community theatre that offers creative new works and talent.

The Strange Case of Citizen de la Cruz plays until Oct. 20th. For information call 415-255.0440 or 800.838.3006 or visit www.bindlestiffstudio.org..
Annette Lust