Entablado, the socio-political student-theater organization of the Ateneo de Manila University, opens its 28th season with Christine Bellen's “Si Pilandok at Ang Bayan ng Bulawan.”
The play runs Sept. 10 (8 p.m.) and Sept. 11 (3 p.m. and 7 p.m.) at the Meralco Theater, Ortigas.
Inspired by the historical EDSA 1 People Power Revolution, the play uses a “kuwentong bayan” framework to inspire unity geared towards nation-building among its audience.
Pilandok, the trickster of Bayan ng Bulawan, tries to retrieve the bright star Bulawan from the clutches of the corrupt Datu Usman and evil henchman Orochimaru. Pilandok seeks help from other villages; however the individual efforts of conflicting heroes Pantas (Wisdom), Banal (Faith), Yumi (Beauty), Gara (Wealth) and Lakas (Strength) are in vain.
When Pilandok finally confronts Datu Usman alone, the other villages join in to reclaim the bright star Bulawan.
Bellen is known for her retelling of the Lola Basyang children's stories, and is the author of the children's plays “Batang Rizal” and “Ang Unang Baboy sa Langit.”
Dr. Jerry Respeto, known for directing and translating plays for PETA and DUP, directs, together with Ateneo professor Jethro Tenorio. Tuxqs Rotaquio of DUP designs the set and costumes, while Dr. Christine Muyco, UP Music professor, and Jema Pamintuan, Ateneo professor, collaborated on the music.
"We wanted to show that the story of EDSA 1986 was the story of all Filipinos. It wasn't only for us who went to the streets to topple a dictatorship, it was also for the succeeding generations," Bellen says. "That is why we used the folklore format to show that what happened in 1986 is for all ages."
"Pilandok is a popular folk tale from the South. The hero tries to outwit the datu who is unjust to his people. We used him to symbolize that people can also 'play tricks' on their leaders who steal from them. This was a clear manifestation in EDSA 1."
Respeto and Tenorio fuse the traditional and the modern to allow the play to reach out to the youth.
"The dances are a mix of Asian and modern; conversations use the 'old' Filipino poetics and popular Taglish," says Tenorio.
The play calls on everyone, young and old, to take part in creating a nation immersed in solidarity, trust and integrity, and inspired by People Power and the life and death Ninoy and Cory Aquino.
Proceeds from the play will go to the NCA Youth Leadership and Formation Program of the Ninoy and Cory Aquino Foundation. For inquiries, contact Mika Millar 0917-5536261 and 8925360.
[Photos: Oliver Oliveros]