Tuesday, March 06, 2007


The Writers Guild held its first Theater Experience Night at the Cultural Center of the Philippines last February 24, 2007 on the eve of the 21st Anniversary of the EDSA People Power 1.

All writers, officers and members of the Writers Guild Collective (storytellers, etc.) are entitled to one ticket pass to a stage play of their choice once a year. The play this first batch chose was Ang Mga Huwad (The Pretenders), the last in the five-book series called Rosales novels penned by National Artist for Literature Francisco Sionil Jose. The book was adapted for theater by noted playwright Rody Vera, who also did the script for the very first Sionil book to be done on stage, The Mass.

The Mass, which was shown last year during the regular season of Tanghalang Pilipino, was topbilled by actor Yul Servo. This time, The Pretenders had Romnick Sarmienta essaying the lead role of Antonio Samson. The evening turned out to be lucky as Manong Sionil himself was in attendance.

The Pretenders is the last of the series of novels F. Sionil Jose wrote which revolved around a character who hails from the town of Rosales, Antonio Samson, and about his ancestors. The series has three parts: Po-on (or Dusk), Don Vicente (Tree and My Brother, My Executioner) and The Samsons (The Mass and The Pretenders). These books have been translated into 22 languages making Sionil Jose the most widely read Filipino author in the English language. Rich in stinging criticism of the upper class (represented by the high Manila society of the '60s) and exposing the yawning class struggle that is very characteristic of the post-colonial Philippine society, The Pretenders, first published in 1962, is his most popular novel.

A roundtable discussion and reflection was held after the play.

We wish to extend our warmest appreciation to a friend, Rudy Lagman, of The Japan Foundation Manila of the Embassy of Japan for free tickets to the play.

The second batch has chosen to see the 4th staging of Zsa Zsa Zaturnaah, originally written by illustrator, writer and set designer Carlo Vergara. (Note: No schedule is available yet.)

Please visit

F. Sionil Jose titles available at the Writers Guild’s Readvolution Book Case 2 (currently in Healthcare):

The Samsons

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