Ampalaya Monologues (AM), a live show that features stories of love, heartache and bitterness through monologues, music, and spoken word poetry, is now on its 5th year. Around this time, they are already usually busy going around the different bars and cafes in the metro for their annual open mic night tour. In addition, they may also already be getting ready for their anniversary show in The PETA Theatre. However, since the COVID-19 hit the live entertainment industry badly (for the industry will only be allowed to operate next year), AM also had to postpone any live events. Thus, making the decision to shift to the digital platform was a no-brainer. “We’ve always wanted to have an active YouTube channel, this pandemic gave the team time to sit down and work on it.” says Mark Ghosn, creator and showrunner of Ampalaya Monologues.
The idea of adapting the “Ampalaya Monologues” brand to another medium is not new for Team Ampalaya. Since its first show on August 2015, Ampalaya Monologues has grown into a massive success. The monologues have been performed on different stages across the country and has been published nationwide into a book under Summit Books. Furthermore, the show served as an inspiration for an iWant anthology series, the streaming platform of ABS-CBN.
From uploading previous performance videos to offering podcasts, competitions, workshops, and even a dating show, the line-up for the channel’s initial offering is pretty diverse.
“We are continuously trying new ways to practice the show’s mission of telling bittersweet tales of love and life to inspire, entertain, and educate audiences. The classic spoken word and monologue performances are still going to be there, but we also developed new shows that are going to be more suitable for the virtual space,” Ghosn explains.
One of those new shows is a talk show entitled ‘TaGuys!’ Hosted by Jerome Dawis, Blaire John and Antonio Bathan Jr., it’s a digital inuman (drinking) session wherein they hangout with individuals from different walks of life. Another show called, ‘Bitter at Home’, will feature site-specific reimaginations of the live performances. It brings the monologues off-stage and into the real world; allowing audiences to watch them in their actual setting. And as what may be called their prime offering, Ampalaya Monologues together with its poets group B/tter Poetry, will have its first spoken word competition namely “Spoken Word Champ Philippines.” The show will feature 8 poets as they battle it out in front of some of the country’s best spoken word artists. The complete line-up of Ampalaya Monologues Season 5 (AMV)’s initial offering can be found here.
A NEW NORMAL
The origins of theatre can be traced back to monologues and performance poetry, the two forms have adapted and thrived throughout centuries… and surely through this pandemic. Ampalaya Monologues seems to be holding on to that history as they find ways to continuously practice their artistic bitterness into the ever changing world.