Book 10: To Be or Not To Be

By Hilarion “Ronnie” Henares III, son and thespian

            In the play Julius Caesar, Cassius is depicted as a malcontent with something mordant, bitter, almost misanthropic in his nature; “he loves no plays; he hears no music”; and such a man Shakespeare knew, was “fit for treasons.”  Someone like the Opus Dei economists who are never seen attending plays or concerts at the Cultural Center or anywhere else, and who serve the interests of multinational corporations, especially the oil companies and drug monopolists who do the most harm to the well-being of the Filipino people.  Dr. Luis Esteban Latorre, former Opus Dei priest who personally served the Opus Dei founder and saint Jose Maria Escriva Balaguer, adds another dimension to these humorless misanthropes, “They are inveterate book burners.  They burn books of Jesuit philosophers, free thinkers and anyone else they disagree with.  Our family set of Great Books have been truncated and gutted by Opus Dei who borrowed them, consigning many of our precious books to the flames.”

This in contrast to the love of books and of drama and music by Jesuit-trained Larry Henares, engineer-economist-journalist, who now gives us the tenth volume of his Make My Day series of incisive essays, and an insight into another aspect of his colorful character.  He loves books, and most of his life he read one book a day.  His grandfather, when told that young Larry in his third grade had the highest IQ (170) in Pangasinan in a national IQ test conducted by the Department of Education among its administrators, teachers and students, promised to buy any book Larry wanted.  By the time he was in 7th grade he was honored by the Philippine Education Co. as the one person who has bought more books than anyone else except the school libraries.

Larry Henares is also a lover of music, of the classic works of Mozart, Beethoven, Tchaikovsky and others, and especially of Frank Sinatra with his most complete set of recordings of this great singer.  He has over 400 CDs, over 100 MP3 recordings of all the LPs and 78s he and his parents ever possessed, and VCDs, DVDs and Laser Discs of his favorite movies.

But most of all he loves the theater.  A regular patron of Repertory Philippines till it moved out of Makati, he takes off every other year to see the plays in Broadway, in London and in Stratford-on-Avon.  And in this volume he writes of them.  In previous books and in his daily columns, he wrote reviews of the plays he saw in a way that even President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo would speak glowingly of them, but in the Sunday magazine supplements and in this volume, he writes the entire libretto and scenario for those bathroom sopranos and baritones with CD music to sing with.  He writes about the Broadway musicals, Les Miserables, The Phantom of the Opera and Miss Saigon, as well as his favorite plays Cyrano de Bergerac, The Miracle Worker, and Shakespeare’s Hamlet, Romeo and Juliet and Julius Caesar.

            Then he completes the volume with a hilarious and incisive account of Philippine History for those who flunked the subject, a series on Emilio Aguinaldo as the Father of Our Country, on Rats as our rivals for the mastery of the earth, on Women Leaders as the better of the sexes to manage the nation, on the Philippine Statehood movement which he endorses tongue in cheek, on the poignant dilemma of the Last Filipino and on recapturing the moments of childhood swordplay.