Manila Bulletin

Mindanao theater convergenc­e


‘When we are united, our images and voices, through our narratives, become stronger.’

‘When we are united, our images and voices, through our narratives, become stronger.’

Theater guilds and performing arts organizati­ons—from all parts of Mindanao—ended their observance of national arts month by converging in one city, Cagayan de Oro. United, in a goal to develop the already rich regional arts and culture, the groups forged a bond, which showcased the one-ofa-kind Mindanaoan brand of theater, through Tampok. Spearheade­d by the National Commission for Culture and the Arts (NCCA), the regional theater congress aptly tackled 2018 National Arts Month’s central themes: Karangalan (honor), katapatan (honesty), and kahusayan (excellence). Tampok celebrated the intellectu­al, creative, and historical contributi­ons to performing arts of distinct Mindanaoan­s. It also discussed different aspects of theater and furthered the discourse to the next level, from dissecting history to planning the future of theater in Mindanao.

The festival was filled with talks and forums from different theater directors, playwright­s, and cultural experts. Of course, the Mindanaoan talent was featured (itinampok) on stage.

The Integrated Performing Arts Guild (IPAG) was founded by Ligaya Fernando-Amilbangsa and Steven P.C. Fernandez in 1978, it is widely known for its contributi­ons to the nation in the field of performing arts and letters. During the festival, they staged Sita: The Ramayana Revisited, a play that merges the traditiona­l roles of Rama and Sita Lawana’s (Ravana). In the contempora­ry depiction of Ramayana, Sita was played by Yvonne Emit and Rama by Restinil Kim Indino. Sita: The Ramayana Revisited, through its utilizatio­n of gongs and drums, smoothly and creatively played with a thousand-year-old lore through modern Filipino characteri­stics.

The Sining Kambayoka Ensemble is the resident folk theater company of Mindanao State University (MSU)-Main Campus, Marawi City. Founded in 1974, the group is a multi-awarded and critically acclaimed folk theater company in the south. In its four decades of existence, Sining Kambayoka has produced topnotch theater production­s shown in local, national, and internatio­nal audiences. Their performanc­e during Tampok, titled Pilandok, is a shortened and condensed production from their play Mga Kuwentong Meranaw (The Meranaw Tales). The play follows the char- acter of Pilandok, a local folk hero of Meranaw. In the play, Pilandok was humanized, craving for basic needs such as money and shelter, a peasant dreaming to be a sultan. What’s captivatin­g about this short production is the music that disappears within the smoothly directed cast, with the comedic hero, Pilandok, as the forefront. The production is directed by Pepito P. Sumayan, with the original concept and script by Frank Rivera. The Xavier Stage is the resident repertory theater company of Xavier University, Cagayan de Oro. It is a repertory company that interactiv­ely involves students, faculty, alumni, and even the community outside Xavier. It breeds artists who are committed to strengthen and sustain cultural regenerati­on and developmen­t through educationa­l production­s, formation programs, social action programs, and extension services. Xavier’s production, the festival’s closer, Dalawa Sa Dalawang Gabi, steers away from ancient folklores and traditiona­l themes. The two-part play touches on coming of age topics such as love, sexuality, abuse, and miscommuni­cation. Dalawa is a story of pain and how it transforms a person. More than anything else, it shows a friendship crumble because of mistrust, abuse, and trauma. The other half of the play, Dalawang Gabi is a story of how people fall for false realities, getting hurt by the immense expectatio­n we cast upon people, especially to those we love. It isn’t your typical love story, it goes deeper, opening a conversati­on to the limitation of platonic relationsh­ips between students and teachers. The play is written by Luna Sicat and Maynard Manansala. It is directed by Hobart Savior, who is also Tampok’s festival director.

According to Hobart, Tampok is labeled as a “convergenc­e” because it was mainly about uniting all of these organizati­ons, urging them to share their practices and tradition to each other, which effectivel­y happened during the festival’s three-day run. “I’ve always loved the fact that we have rich traditiona­l and contempora­ry narratives. We have our own indigenous peoples, different aspiration­s culturally, united religious communitie­s, the Moros and the Christians,” Hobart said. “When we are united, our images and voices, through our narratives, become stronger, a force to be reckoned with.”

No doubt, Tampok, like NCCA’s other regional festivals, was a success. Art was brought to the regions, and their rich bank of culture was utilized. “We really pulled in many people, about 100, or more, delegates,” Hobart said. “The best thing about this is that we, the organizati­ons and repertory companies, were able to meet face to face and refresh each other on the things that we are doing. We were able to plan the direction of Mindanao theater. All we need to do now, I mean “we,” the oldies of theater, is to redesign the festival to make it more appealing to the younger generation. I want the young ones to really talk about theater.” Because all of this, for Hobart, is about them, the next generation, the receivers of the burning torch, the future Mindanaoan playwright­s, actors, and directors.

 ??  ??
 ??  ?? Sita The Ramayana Revisited
Sita The Ramayana Revisited
 ??  ?? The students of Capitol University
The students of Capitol University
 ??  ?? The closing performanc­e of Lambago Art Awards 2018 featuring Mindanaoan artist
The closing performanc­e of Lambago Art Awards 2018 featuring Mindanaoan artist
 ??  ?? Pilandok

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