Why is the play called Ward 448?
“As a director and producer, aaminin ko na. Hindi ko kayang gumawa ng isang play na masyadong pabuloso ang set design. Nag-isip ako ng isang play na ang set ko ay iisa lang. With the different flashback pero gagawin ang eksena sa hospital kaya ward. Inisip namin, ang pangit naman kapag ward, ang negative. Then, naisip ng production manager ko, sabi niya, ‘direk gawin nating 448? Tanong ko, bakit? Kasi pag pinindot mo ‘yung keypad ng telepono, ang HIV ay 448. At ang setting ay sa hospital,” shares writer and director Rodel Mercado.
Adapting to changes, Ward 448 during pandemic.
Since the play already had its run before the COVID-19 pandemic, were there changes in the story to make it more today, that the audience would find the story more interesting?
“Malaki. May changes kasi ni-revise ang script. In-adapt ko ang COVID-19, ipinasok ko na natabunan ng COVID-19 pandemic ang HIV epidemic. Isa ‘yun sa mga binago namin kasi nagbago din ‘yung mga terminologies,” says Mercado.
No sugarcoating. What’s the difference of Ward 448 from other HIV/AIDS show?
“Yung iba kasi nagtatago, pinipilit nilang ikubli sa mga words, sugarcoating. Nakita ninyo naman diba (sa trailer), titi kung titi talaga. Walang sugarcoating. Ipapakita namin, visually and sasabihin. ‘Yun ang pagkakaiba namin kasi paano mo mare-realize na masakit kung hindi ka sinampal. Kailangan mo ipakita, maramdaman ‘yung sakit. At mararamdaman ng audience kasi magagaling ang mga artista. Tatawa sila at iiyak sila,” Mercado answers.
Meet the cast of Ward 448 in our TikTok video below:
“WARD 448,” a play written and directed by Rodel Mercado is a trilogy that presents the stories of individuals that have HIV virus affliction. The play depicts the fight-or-flight response of persons infected with this devastating and life-threatening disease and how discrimination, ignorance and the stigma exacerbates the predicament of the persons with HIV.
From the point of view and reportage of Jennylyn Braza, a news reporter with Karina Macaspac and Jenney Cañeja as alternates, the story of three (3) RITM in-patients who stay in the same ward will figure in their news story.
The headliners are Carla Mae, a mother of three with Anna Escobia and Justine Torralba as alternates; the men who have sex with other men group who work at BPO are VJ Mendoza, Kevin Posadas and Rey Correjado; and seasoned thespians Ronnie Martinez and Roeder Camanag who alternately portray Francis, a jaded drag performer.
Director Mercado says: “The production’s main reason for being is that we want to shed light and give the correct information about people with HIV affliction. Yes, we focus on their difficulties and struggles, especially in coming to terms that they have the HIV infection and they manage to maintain their dignity and humanity”.
Adds Mercado: “The play employs of humor, drama, paghaplos sa puso at pagbubukas ng pang-unawa elements to the play’s narrative. The medium of theater here has become a powerful tool to impart knowledge about the affliction that is HIV, to push safe sex practices customary, to clear the stigma, and nurture a community that does not judge, but understands and helps those who are HIV afflicted and their loved ones.”
The figures of people with HIV affliction have skyrocketed and DOH reports say that the Philippines has become the fastest HIV/AIDS growing population in the Asia and Pacific region with 237% increase in an exhaustive and verified report on HIV infections FROM the periods of 2010 to 2022.
Director Mercado concludes: “By watching our play, you’re also exercising your power to contribute to the collective efforts to minimize, and hopefully end the escalating digits of individuals with HIV. Be one with us as we debunk the stigma, sow compassion and understanding, and give accurate information on HIV affliction”
“WARD 448”, produced Frontline Production Inc. is slated on October 29 and 30, 2022 , with matinee (3pm and gala 7pm) performances at the RCBC THEATER (Carlos P. Romulo Auditorium), 4th Floor, Tower II, RCBC Plaza, 6819 Ayala Ave., Makati City.
Tickets are available now at ticket2me.net
Watch our coverage from Ward 448’s media conference below: