“Specially to us, in a country that is oppressed and weak . . . we have to look for that healing thing inside of us, the wick inside of us.”
This is what Dr. Anton Juan, who directed the 2015 version of Repertory Philippines’ The Secret Garden, stated on how such plays remain relevant to all Filipinos even if the story itself is more than a century old.
Being a classic, which has been made into various theater presentations and movies, children and adults will definitely relate to the message it presents through the characters of Mary Lennox, Coin Craven, and Archibald Craven.
That is, change should start with ourselves in order to become better persons and build a better society.
It is true that there is an Archibald Craven in all of us: one who holds on with the memory of his wife Lily, and is scared of visiting his wife’s garden. Yet towards the end, he became a changed man by returning back home and visiting his wife’s garden, with his son Colin being healthier than ever, and with the garden itself coming back to life.
Just like us Filipinos, we would crave for consistency in our lives, leaving us in confusion when a certain event occurs to an individual, making that person scared of embracing such changes. One way of conquering our fear for change is by acceptance and willingness to work through what has changed.
“We have to discover what will makes us grow and be green again,” Juan noted as he revealed the spellbinding message of The Secret Garden: we have to discover ourselves with no hesitations for us to progress, and that hope is important in crucial times like what the country is facing right now. “I do think that hope is very important [for all of us],” Juan added.
We should have more people like Mary, who despite being less fortunate remained to have a positive outlook in life and work hard to become a better person. The Marys in this society can help the Archibalds and the Colins of our generation to welcome these life-altering events and strive to be better. That way, we can surely offer helping hand in making the Philippines a better country to live in.
“Some of us forget our histories. Memories only become histories when we commemorate them, [and] the same applies with people and love,” Juan said in his director’s notes.
*You can still catch The Secret Garden at Onstage Theater, Greenbelt 1 until December 13.