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Dulaang Filipino joins Montreal theater fest

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PAW CASTILLO, Manjean Faldas and Ernest Lim rehearsing with director Riki Benedicto

Dulaang Filipino recently staged Polish playwright Slawomir Mrozek’s “Out at Sea” for the 2012 Montreal International Anarchist Theatre Festival.

The festival hosted over 30 artists from the Philippines, France, the USA and Montreal to showcase “provocative and socially engaged theater.”

This was the first time a Filipino group joined the festival.

DF, now on its 20th year, is the resident theater company of De La Salle College of St. Benilde. The college’s School of Design and Arts offers theater-related courses such as Technical Theater, Dance, Production Design.

The festival’s theme, “Anarchy,” allowed for subject matter about persons, ideas and histories of anarchy as well as pieces that portrayed resistance “against all forms of power: state, capitalism, war, racism, homophobia, sexism, salaried work, etc.”

“Out at Sea” is described as an “absurd and macabre comedy” where three men on a raft in the middle of the ocean contemplate the notion of “having something to eat” as not a matter of what but whom.

The group performed the English version in Montreal and will stage a Filipino translation by Carlo Pacolor Garcia later this year in Manila.

Major in Multimedia Arts students Paw Castillo and Manjean Faldas play Fat Man and Medium Man, respectively. Major in Consular and Diplomatic Affairs students Ernest Lim plays Thin Man. Teddie Avelino choreographs.

Director Riki Benedicto is reinterpreting the work using the Philippine political landscape as a metaphor.

Benedicto is DF’s trainer. He is a member of Tanghalang Pilipino’s Actors Company (TP’s resident pool of actors) and recently directed “Bakit Wala Nang Nagtatagpo sa Philcoa Oberpas” for TP.

“The characters ‘campaign’ to each other and have elections [to decide who should be eaten], but there are four ballots even though there are only three characters, so right away there’s cheating involved,” says Benedicto.

“The Philippines has experienced different forms of government, different colonizers such as Spanish, American and Japanese, and even a dictatorship. Now we are experiencing the so-called  ‘people-powered’ democracy.

“With this kind of political circus going on, we want to ask, ‘What’s happening to our country? Is it the leaders, the people or the form of government we have that causes our suffering?’ The play reflects our current situation: still searching for freedom, still dreaming of a free country.”


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