If SPIT had a peso for every time a person laughed at a punch line, it would already have enough to make the alleged queen of the pork barrel scam Janet Lim-Napoles look poor.
Okay that was a lame and politically controversial attempt at a joke, but truly, SPIT’s performance never fell short of a line that made the auditorium bellow in loud laughter—the kind of laughter that seemed unfamiliar at the Claire Isabel McGil Luce Auditorium; where most shows had reaped crying audiences after emotionally stirring performances, awed audiences after great musical acts, or more informed audiences after university convocations.
Last July 11 and 12, Silly People’s Improv Theater or SPIT, the country’s premiere improvisational theater group, had floored the Luce Auditorium once again in “SPIT Returns!” The strong team this year was composed of Gabe Mercado, founder of SPIT, Aryn Cristobal, Jay Ignacio, Dingdong Rosales, Missy Maramara, and Ariel Diccion.
I had been waiting for SPIT ever since I found out that they had already performed at the Luce Auditorium. And now that I finally had a chance to see them up close and personal (laughing at them, laughing with them, and even laughing for them), I am thrilled to have had experienced an avalanche of different emotions while I was glued to my seat and they were: HAHAHA, HEHEHE, HIHIHI, and HUHUHU.
What made the show one of the most unique shows that had ever been staged at the Luce was that it was totally unscripted and unrehearsed. Everything that happened during the show was “built on the suggestions” of the audience which made everything even funnier. You couldn’t help but laugh at extremely witty remarks and intellectual responses.
However, in Gabe Mercado’s “The Act of Making People Laugh Sustainably” workshop at the Audio-Visual Theater 1, he mentions that he’d rather be called an improvisor or improv actor rather than a comedian.
Philippine comedy today has evolved to become one that is manifested in either green jokes or jokes that make fun of someone or something in particular. I would like to mention heavy references to comedians like Vice Ganda and Chokoleit. The performances shared by SPIT proved that answers to questions like: “Paano ba maging crush ng crush mo?” can be funny without actually involving anything scandalous.
“Para maging crush kang crush mo, dapat mo sundin ito: Una, putulin mo ang iyong braso. Sunod, lagyan mo ng asin at suka. Kung umitim ang bahagi kung saan naputol ang iyong braso, magiging crush kang crush mo. Kung ang suka ay maasim, hindi ka maging crush ng crush mo [non-verbatim],” Ariel, Dingdong and Jay said in one body with three heads as “The Oracle” which resulted in what seemed to be a wave of violent HAHAHA’s in the crowd.
I absolutely adored how they were not just out there to make the crowd laugh. That wasn’t their main goal, trust me. Their main goal was to improvise and make sure it clicked; to create something based on what the audience suggested whether it was funny or not.
The brand of comedy that SPIT showed for two nights was basically the showcasing of human experiences in a theatrical light.
A good example of this would be one part of the show which was called Harold. This is a structure used in long form improvisation where an audience suggests a word answering to a question. Once selected the word/phrase/idea becomes the heart of the improv narrative. In the case of “SPIT Returns!” the question posed was, “What is the thing you miss the most?” For the first show, the word was mother and for the second it was love.
It started with each of the actors delivering a monologue which sounded so convincing and real. Who wouldn’t find sympathy to Jay saying, “Ang inay ko, kung anu-ano na lang ang binibenta. Encyclopedias, etc, kahit ano para lang makatustus sa pang araw-araw nagastusin [non verbatim].”
“Love? My first boyfriend… I didn’t love him. It was because of peer pressure. All my friends had their first boyfriend, their first kiss, their first hug, and I was like the only na nag-iisa [non verbatim],” Aryn apologetically said.
It is in narratives and monologues like these that bring us back to our roots, to our experiences, and to the very core of our beings. Although these are but made up stories of the improv actors, we still find familiarity in the stories they share because they ring a bell. They make us go, “HEHEHE, Oo nga no?”
Aryn was really cute. HIHIHI.
With over 10 years of making people laugh and almost 500 shows as of press time, we fear the day that another good thing might just come to an end. There is too much goodness in the kind of art that SPIT presents to its audience that you’ll never want to miss a show if it’s just around the corner. That’s why in order for SPIT to continue on spreading the good vibes, we need to show our support by watching their shows, or any other locally made performances for that matter.
We’re doing ourselves a favor, really. We not only forget about our problems because of the hilarious show, but we also help preserve our own culture and the arts, both of which are getting snubbed by this generation. Thanks to the Cultural Affairs Committee of Silliman University, we are given the opportunity to reconnect with culture and the arts by being presented shows like this and many others within arm’s reach.
Let’s not wait for our teachers to require us to watch shows like these because the learning that we get from them are so unfathomable that not even Augustus Waters can fathom into constellations.
Alana Gayle T. McCulloch, an usherette of the Luce Auditorium, was a witness to how some students approached the watching of the show with no enthusiasm at all. “Some of them were just there because they were required by their teachers and felt like they didn’t even need to be there in the first place,” McCulloch added: “but after the show, as they were marching out of the Luce, there was a complete 180 degree turn. It was obvious in everyone’s wide smiles.”
So if you weren’t able to grab a seat for SPIT’s rare second time—but hopefully not last!—at the Luce Auditorium, then all I can say is… HUHUHU.
By Val Amiel Vestil