The Philippine Educational Theater Association’s 51st season ender is a funny musical that tackles some decidedly unfunny issues. Charot is the third PETA production I’ve watched (after Si Juan Tamad, Ang Diyablo, at ang Limang Milyong Boto and Rak of Aegis) and they’ve been consistent in delivering hilarious yet thought-provoking shows.
Charot invites its audience not just to observe but to participate. You’re encouraged to connect to the free wifi at the theater for two purposes: to post pictures, videos, and other updates, and to exercise your right to vote. Open a website, enter a code, and you’ll be taken to a screen where you can answer questions. But the exciting part is watching the screen – and stage – change in real time to reflect your vote.
Hopefully without giving too much away – here are five lessons learned from PETA’s Charot:
1. The old adage “There are two sides to every story” is inaccurate. There are several sides to any issue worth discussing. When it comes to the future of our country, a simple “yes or no” is never really that simple.
2. Sometimes, you can feel like a hostage of your own circumstances, whether those circumstances are a traffic jam or the cycle of poverty. When that happens, it’s easier to blame whoever is in front of you than whoever should actually be held responsible.
3. It’s our duty as citizens to be informed, but…
4. As much as we need to understand current events, we also need to try to understand each other.
5. And lastly: a song-and-dance number can’t condense into a few minutes absolutely everything you need to know to make an informed decision on election day, but it is a pretty great place to start.