Bright Lights and Blasphemy: The UP Repertory Company’s Karitas At Damaso

I already managed my expectations before I went to see The UP Repertory Company’s Karitas At Damaso. The technicolored and provoking publicity materials are already enough to give you an idea that this play definitely isn’t for the faint of heart (and faith?). Churchgoers may want to distance themselves from this one but me…well, this got me excited!
In this intimate, theater-in-the-round production, a rape victim wishes to confess to a Catholic priest and two nuns, and consult with them her wish to “recover” her virginity. As ridiculous as it may sound, the four devout characters discuss how they can achieve this seemingly impossible feat, unearthing their dark secrets and personal demons along the way.
Knowing the premise is already enough to either tickle your fancy or make you do the sign of the cross but trust me, seeing it is a totally different experience from what you would expect. Karitas At Damaso is filled with lurid depictions of religion and the characters are essentially blasphemy personified. What you’ll see is a musical satire that challenges our conventional understandings of the Catholic faith, presented in a dizzying barrage of EDM music, strobe lights, and flashy costumes.
I’ll feel obliged to mention again that blasphemy is strong with this one – with the script and songs daringly placing religious names and references right next to sexual innuendos. But then again, the play does this not just for the sake of shock value, but also to challenge the viewers to evaluate their faith and ask the hard questions about religion.
UP Rep’s Karitas At Damaso is outrageously entertaining, thanks to UZ Eliserio’s witty script, Dax Carnay’s spot-on direction, and remarkable performances of the cast whose energy and dedication gave me the impression that it was a dream come true for them to perform in drag. I strongly suggest that you go and see it.
You can still catch Karitas At Damaso this Saturday, 3-5 PM at Pineapple Lab in Makati. For tickets and directions on how to get to the venue, check out UP Rep’s Facebook page here.

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