Wednesday, March 14, 2018

I DON’T know how I could have missed Prof. Ruben’s Facebook post the day after my show. But fact-checking for this article led me to his Jan. 27 post, with photos from the show: “The unstoppable, bold, daring, and brilliant live show of a multi-awarded, multi-talented Ilonggo Palanca writer (winner!), novelist, and standup comedian. Peter Solis Nery in his show last night in Iloilo City. Congratulations, Peter!”

Now, isn’t that a dear?

And don’t get me started with the instant review that art critic and literary scholar Alex de los Santos wrote on his Facebook post!


If I have two hours to kill in my show, I want to make sure I got everything covered.

I do not rehearse my show. I’m more of a spontaneous performer. I have some numbers outlined and ready, but that’s about it.

I rely on biofeedback. I am attuned to what my audience is giving me. If I feel the tiniest sense of boredom in the room, I change gear. I change the topic.

My show is not very organized, not very structured. But it doesn’t mean it is thoughtless, or pointless.

I have the numbers in my mind, but it’s like a lotto.

I have the tricks in the hat, but I don’t know if it’s the rabbit or the flowers that come out first. Until I see my audience.


For my Dinagyang show, I knew I wanted to dance “Anything Goes” from the Cole Porter musical. I also knew I wanted to perform this mime number that I just developed after Christmas for somebody’s birthday party, which I ended up not doing then. (I danced “Anything Goes” at the party, and it was a hit.)

I knew I had two solid numbers. And then, there were my jokes. And taking a cue from my September concert, I knew I wanted to celebrate the people in the audience. I also wanted 10 or 15 minutes for Mel Turao who has written a crazy book about me. But were those numbers enough?


Romie John Delariarte and his theater company Iloilo Prima Galaw staged my Palanca award-winning play “Tic-Tac-Toe” at the CAP Auditorium in Iloilo City on March 12 and 13 (matinee at 2 p.m., gala at 6 p.m.).

They were also invited to represent Iloilo at the 2018 Pasinaya Arts Festival at the Cultural Center of the Philippines, with a performance set for Feb. 4. Their entry was a 20-minute excerpt of my play.

I was curious how they would compress my 45-minute one-act play into a 20-minute excerpt without sacrificing content. So, I invited them to rehearse the play at my show. If they did a terrible job, it would be fodder for my jokes. If they were brilliant, they’re ready for the CCP.


The Tic-Tac-Toe excerpt at Troi Oi was a hit. It had the audience laughing in stitches. Romie John’s direction was sure and confident. The cast was amazing.

The comedy highlighted my brilliance as a playwright. And still, I was funnier when I started grilling the cast during my show. Everybody was happy.

I was lucky to have seen Tic-Tac-Toe performed at the CCP during their Pasinaya stint. Because it was at Tanghalang Huseng Batute, and because people came to see the play, and not my standup comedy, the reception was different. Like, more profound, more sacred.

I’m not happy that I did not witness the full production on March 12 and 13, but I had to come home to Maryland after Valentine’s.


The painter Rock Drilon, one of the Ilonggo/Filipino artists who I truly admire, and not only because we both come from Dumangas, raved about Tic-Tac-Toe and the Dumangas artistic gene pool in one of his Facebook posts after my show.

On a later meeting in Dumangas after my short trip to Manila, Rock also suggested a post-CCP performance. I told him, Prima Galaw is already doing the full production in March at the CCP Auditorium!

But Rock Drilon is Rock Drilon, and people listen to him. That’s why I admire him so much, because he influences people in a very progressive way.

The bike culture in Iloilo? It’s mostly Rock Drilon. If not, then at least the marriage of biking and art.

In Dumangas, Rock’s influence has created visual arts groups, and started young local painters to use mud pigments.


Around Valentine’s, Group One Media, the Dumangas film group that documents most of my events, gave me the photos from my Dinagyang concert at Troi Oi. I excitedly posted some of them online.

Of course, I chose the happiest photos of my audience going gaga over my antics.

(My favorites are those of my classmate Joemarie’s, Arsenio Rafael III’s (of Sen and Sons, who came with his wife), Mr. & Mrs. Cox’s, my cousin Jay Bedua’s, and Troi Oi’s staff’s uncontrolled laughter. And maybe Rock’s, Marvin Monfort’s, and Mia Reyes’s almost demure smiles.)

These photos generated a lot of comments about how some people missed my show, how sorry they were to be as*holes who didn’t go to my show, et cetera.

They were clamors for a repeat performance.

And then, Grace Blair said, she wanted to meet me for coffee.


Over Vietnamese coffee, which I love, and which brings back sexy memories of my three days in Ho Chi Minh City, aka Saigon, Grace and I hatched the idea of my farewell show at Troi Oi, right on Tet, the Vietnamese New Year.

The plan made me cry because it spoke too much of her faith and confidence in me as a performer.

While it is true that all of my three shows (so far) at Troi Oi were fully packed, and fully booked, I’m quite insecure about how I’m going to keep it up.

Sure, there are always the usual suspects in my crowd: the artsy and supportive folks, but I have also said earlier that people are fickle. And no two shows of mine so far have the same audience. (To be continued/PN)


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