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Words: Robert Parker-White

The show opens on a stark stage; a mirror, rope and a few props littered around all to the blasting sounds of Kim Petras. Max Percy opens casually, mincing around the stage and applying lip gloss. He is confident, cool and charismatic as he engages the audience in casual conversation. He encourages us to think of other words for Baklâ; queer, poof, faggot – Percy wears them as a badge of pride. 

It is exactly when Percy relaxes our defences that we are thrust into the year 1521 on Homonhon Island. We meet his Baklâ ancestor witnessing the horrors of the colonisation by Spain and the christening of “Las Isla Filipinas” under King Philip II. 

Prior to Western colonisation, the Baklâ people were accepted socially and economically into Filipino society, many holding high regard as spiritual leaders.

The Baklâ forebearer cuts a tragic figure. His pain is visceral and tortuous as he desperately pleads with his compatriots not to go to church through spell-bounding poetry and arresting movement. 

We are hurled between this world and the present day, often with crass modernity. It is here that Percy is most compelling as he struggles with homophobia, addiction, transgenerational trauma and his biracial identity through a vast blend of different media; physical theatre, spoken word, mask, clown, dance, poetry and aerial. The simplest moments hold the most power, whether he is soaping himself from a bucket trying to get clean, desperately kissing a revolving mirror or dripping milk over his skin. 

Deeply impactful, Baklâ is explosive storytelling at its finest. A powerful central performance by Max Percy with stripped bare honesty rarely seen on stage. A must see! 

Summerhall, Demonstration Room
2-27 Aug (not 14, 21)


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