Entablado’s dual play of Mga Santong Tao and Ang Sistema ni Propesor Tuko displays a wonderful play of humor that serves as a commentary to two of the social issues that are deemed controversial not only during the course of history but also in the contemporary age.
Mga Santong Tao takes the form of a historical “trickster tale”. Trickster tales such as Pilandok of the Maranaos and Si Juan ay Nagtitinda ng Lorong Nagsasalita mirrors the desire of the lower class to outwit the higher class by making them subjects of ridicule. Since people of the lower class, in reality, cannot outwit people of high social class, they use trickster tales to reinforce their self-worth. They too can shine and they can turn the triangular system of social hierarchy upside down. Mga Santong Tao tells the story of a married couple, Titay and Ambrosio, who have been tired of the Spanish feudal system. Titay thus sought for a way to earn money using her beauty by falsely engaging the cure, the sacristan minister and the fiscal officer to give her money in exchange of sex. Neither did the subjects know that they’ll be snared as their libido puts them to a bad position of being sold to the nuns who were looking for Church figures that they can display in their monasteries. The story ends on a seemingly chaotic burst of emotions between the characters as the cure, the sacristan minister and the fiscal officer run around the stage to escape Titay, Ambrosio and the nuns who have been chasing them.
The cure, the sacristan minister and the fiscal officer are some of the most respected people of the Spanish colonization. It is a norm that these people should display proper conduct because they, as members of the religious and political institutions, are bound by certain unwritten laws of conduct. Being sexually explicit, therefore, especially in the case of the cure and the sacristan minister, could be considered a more. This system of putting order into a society through the control of peoples’ actions says a lot about how the society works. For example, people of high stature seem to be bound by more sophisticated norms as compared to people of low classes (high culture) as what was said beforehand. Also, there are certain cultural patterns that we could only find in certain groups of people (subculture) such as that of priests and cures. They are forbidden to copulate with anyone because being a priest entails swearing to God a life of celibacy. Moreover, people create some stereotypes that help them distinguish the characteristics of different groups of people for sorting. This manifests in the play in the nationality of the fiscal officer, who was undoubtedly Chinese as he accentuates the Chinese style of speaking.
The use of symbols was also noticeable in the play. Since it was created in a Spanish context, the striking symbols were religious. The images of the cross, the Black Nazareth and the saint highlighted the irony in the play. It carried the message: The people who were supposed to act saintly were in fact carrying the most pungent attitudes. Furthermore, the power of language heightened the dynamics between the characters. It would be nice to note how the characters used deep Filipino language in their conversations while stressing the use of Spanish in their cursing. This seemed to function as a method in distinguishing groups of people thus exemplifying the idea that Filipinos are noble while Spaniards are vulgar and unrefined. Again, this underscores the irony in the story because Filipinos under the Spanish colonization must see the opposite. Otherwise, it would slam the authority of the Spanish and would thus destroy the order that they established.
The capacity of Titay and Ambrosio in making those people of high social class a subject of ridicule is a manifestation of how the social conflict theory in sociology could work as a social commentary that may bring change to the society.