By Francis Ryan B. Pabiania | News Writer
Vol. XCI No. 8
Oct. 4, 2019
Three short plays of Sillimanian playwrights secured slots among other theater groups who will perform in the Visayas leg’s 13th edition of “Tanghal: Theatre without Boundaries” on Oct. 4-6 at Woodward Little Theatre.
Tanghal is one of the flagship projects for theatre of the National Commission for Culture and the Arts. It focuses on university and community based Theater Festival in Visayas.
Albertha Lachmi Obut’s “Shades of Blue,” Adrian Agbo Roz’s “The Christmas Spirit,” and Isabel Torres’s “Give Us This Day” will be among other theater groups from Iloilo, Bacolod, Cebu, Tagbilaran who will perform.
According toAsst. Prof. Ian Rosales Casocot, they were chosen from ‘four unofficial criteria’: well-written, well-performed, promised spectacle, and had to be written and produced by student writers.
Head of NCCA Committee on Dramatic Arts, Dessa Quesada-Palm, was joined by Onna Quizo of Youth Advocates Through Theater Arts and Leo Mamicpic of Silliman University Culture and Arts Council; were invited to help choose the top three plays.
“I think this event as a laboratory prepares them amply enough to handle the rigours of future creative writing workshops with the Department of English and Literature. It prepares them to deal with both revision and presentation, two aspects of art-making that need sharpening,” Casocot said.
Casocot shared that Quizo promised slots for promising plays from Teatro Uno, when she was looking for local plays to represent Silliman and Dumaguete City in Tanghal.
The top plays were part of the Teatro Uno, the first-ever theatre festival for short plays, primarily open for students enrolled in Creative Writing 1.
It is also their culminating projects designed to showcase workshopped dramatic works with a 10-minute running time. “It is also meant to be an introductory laboratory for theatre-making for creative writing students,” said Casocot.
He added that the event will foster writing by [creative writing] students, sharpen skills in playwriting through workshops, revisions, and staging.
“To open the possibilities of bigger platforms for their plays to be showcased in… to incite interest in the Creative Writing program of Silliman University, the oldest creative writing program in Asia,” he added.
Casocot, who organized the event, said that the event will sharpen the experience of Creative Writing 1 students in the discipline of theatre-making even the students enrolled in the course are still in their freshman and sophomore years already.
Roz, first year creative writing student, once realized that Christmas doesn’t excite him compared before and led him to write the play and hopes to evoke the feeling of nostalgia.
His play tells the story of two adult sisters (Glinda and Barbara) who argue over their family tradition. Glinda wants to follow the tradition of decorating early for Christmas. Barbara doesn’t want to follow the tradition because she wants to conserve energy and money. The spirit of their deceased grandmother pays a visit in order to haunt them and force them into keeping the said tradition.
“Glinda’s conviction in following her family tradition mirrors my drive of preserving our culture through creative writing. We are living in a time where most Filipinos look west—and that isn’t where our country lies. Through this piece, I am hoping that I have inspired many to preserve the traditions, and spend the holidays with their family,” he said.
Meanwhile for Obut, second year creative writing student, said, conversation [age-old politics] needs to be said, and deserves to be heard.
“My play talks about the age-old politics that surrounds choice: the freedom to choose, the pain of choosing, and the consequences of those choices. Benjie and Carmela (my characters) helped me get that message across—that perhaps choice isn’t always a black-and-white thing,” she said.
It is a story of Benjie and Carmela reuniting eight years after their break up. With a bit of liquor comes a bit of truth-telling, and these exes have a lot to catch up on.
Torres was inspired by a true story of old couple who committed suicide in the States she found online, wanted to give that “tragic tale” a voice of its own.
Her play was about a day in the life of couple Linda and Danny. In the span of a dinner conversation, we catch a glimpse of how poverty has eroded their dignity, reducing them into eaters of refuse. We are lulled by the characters’ sad optimism as they reminisce of days gone by. In the final act of taking their lives, there is no desperate clamoring for life but a dignified descent into death. This is a story about loss and the persistence of love in the darkest moments of human tragedy.