Monday, March 17, 2008

Senakulo in Mandaluyong, 'Bagong Cristo' in UPLB

Two shows I regret I'd be unable to watch this week: an actual community senakulo in Mandaluyong, and a restaging of Aurelio Tolentino's American-era protest piece, Bagong Cristo, in the University of the Philippines-Los Banos.

I'll let the e-mail invitation of Nolan Angeles, one of the senakulo organizers, speak for itself:

Mr. Cadiz:

isa po ako sa mga nagbabasa ng blog ninyo at aaminin ko isa pa ako sa inyong tagahanga dahil po sa blog ninyo ay nalalaman ko ang mga latest sa theater at iba pang arts related activities sa metro manila. maraming salamat po.

ako po si nolan angeles ng barangka, mandaluyong city. isa po ako sa mga tagapamahala ng 43-year-old SAMAHANG KABATAAN NG SAN ROQUE SENAKULISTA NG BARANGKA, isang community based theater organization based sa mandaluyong na ang layunin ay isadula ang senakulo tuwing mahal na araw. ito po ay pamana sa amin ng aming mga lolo at lola at mga nunino. ito po ay itinuturing namin na siang panata. Para po sa inyong kaalaman, ni isa man sa aming mga manlalabas ay walang formal theater training . ang kanilang kahusayan sa pagganap sa entablado ay ipinasa lamang ng kanilang mga magulang , lolo at lola na dati ding mga senakulista noong dekada 60.

ang SENAKULO SA BARANGKA 2008 ay magaganap sa March 17-22 Holy Monday to Black Saturday (anim na gabi) every 9 pm until past 12 midnight sa Plaza ng Barangka Ibaba, City of Mandaluyong.

nais ko po sanang malaman kung saan ko kayo puwedeng sulatan ng mas pormal. nais ko po sanang i-mail ang sulat ko para ilalakip ko na rin ang ilang photo releases ng aming senakulo at ang mga importanteng bagay ukol sa senakulo.

at kung inyo pong mamarapatin ay mailathala ninyo sa inyong blog, para mabasa ng mas maraming tao at sila ay ma-enganyong manood ng senakulo.

maraming salamat po, sa tagumpay ng sining pandulaan,

It's been going on for 43 years! How amazing is that? I lived for two years in Mandaluyong, but I never got to witness this Lenten spectacle. Dang, I'm about to miss it again this year, since we work at night and the workload is hell as we do advance sections for the holidays.

Nolan, the pictures haven't arrived, but I thought I should post this announcement now since the senakulo's starting tonight. Friends, Romans, readers--if you're staying put in Manila this week, why not supplement your visita iglesia, pagtitika or whatever it is you do for the holy season by watching this most traditional form of theater?

Take note of the details: March 17-22 (Holy Monday to Black Saturday), every 9 pm until past 12 midnight, at the Plaza of Barangka Ibaba, Mandaluyong City.

* * *

Over at UPLB, today and tomorrow are the last showdates of Bagong Cristo, a play written by the revolutionary dramatist Aurelio Tolentino in 1907 that's being restaged by a UPLB-based theater group composed of non-professional theater artists--mostly students and faculty members.

(Bagong Cristo is about a labor firebrand whose teachings on justice and social equality stir up tumult in his town--hence the allusion to a new Christ in the title. Tolentino's best-known work is the landmark play Kahapon, Ngayon at Bukas.)

Last year, this new theater group, headed by its director Dennis Gupa, transplanted Frank Wedekind's scandalous play of sexual awakening, Spring Awakening, into rural Los Banos in World War II. My friends and I drove all the way to UPLB to catch a 7 p.m. show, lost our way several times, and arrived about 20 minutes late. They had waited for us! I was so mortified.

The play, now called Pagbulas ng Sibol, turned out to be a strangely beautiful experience--mounted on an open-air stage on the ruins of a burnt-out building, the actors raw but committed to their roles and the delicate subject matter, the adaptation itself authentic and compelling.

"When candles were left flickering on stage in the end, symbolizing the young lives flayed apart by adult ignorance and indifference, one came away lit with awe at what UPLB's untested theater group had presented: a fully realized, mature drama that deserved its own run in Manila," I wrote in my review.

That's my long way of saying that if you have time either now or tomorrow to go to UPLB, do watch Bagong Cristo. Dennis Gupa and his team work with the barest of resources, but they have both the heart and the talent to rebuild and sustain theater in their community.

In fact, one unique aspect of their theater-making is how truly collaborative it is. In Pagbulas ng Sibol, they got the school's Psychology teachers to help the actors get a better grasp of their characters. This year, the cooperative efforts appear to be more extensive. From the e-mail invite:

"[Our play] seeks to fuse Mathematics and the Arts through the Theater. In doing this, the components of the play such as the set, the stage and the movements will be guided by Mathematics. The staging, will in fact, center on the mathematical concept of the Cardioid... The play will also serve as a collaboration of different artists and dramaturgs like Mr. Reagan Maiquez (Humanities Dramaturgy), Ms. Alleli Domingo (Mathematics Dramaturgy), Mr. Winter David (Video Projection), Mr. Milleton Roxas (Lighting Designs), Mr. Arnel Paguyo, Mr. Jeremy dela Cruz (Movement) and Ms. Jean Judith Javier."

Aargh. I really feel bad that I can't watch this. Hey, if there are readers who live in or around Los Banos, catch Bagong Cristo and blog about it, please? Kevin, you there? :)

The play, which opened last March 12, will have two more shows today and tomorrow, March 17-18, 7 p.m., at the Makiling Performance Garden (formerly NCAS Annex Ruins).

Support your community theater, Laguna bloggers!

1 comment:

utakGAGO said...

Hey, Gibbs!

I made a reaction paper about Bagong Cristo but I forgot to put it on my blog. Sheesh. And this is a late reply...

Are you still interested with the play? I'll try to find my reaction paper and keep you posted. Lol. Better late than never.

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