The Philippines is preparing its display entries and delegates to two international theater design events this year: the Prague Quadrennial of Performance Design and Space (PQ) 2015 in the Czech Republic and the “Costume at the Turn of the Century 1990-2015” exhibition at Bakhrushin State Central Theatre Museum, Moscow, in Russia.
To be held from June 17 to 28, the PQ exhibits a variety of performance design disciplines such as costume, stage, lighting and sound design. It’s been held every four years since 1967.
Two designers whose works are included in the entries to PQ, set designer Lex Marcos and costume designer Raven Ong, are both currently in the United States, on opposite coasts, taking up master’s degree programs in set design and costume design, respectively.
Marcos is taking up a Master in Fine Arts in Scenic Design at the University of Washington’s School of Drama in Seattle, while Ong is taking up an MFA in Costume Design at University of Connecticut’s School of Fine Arts.
Marcos’ entry is his set design for University of the Philippines Playwright’s Theater’s “Umaaraw, Umuulan Kinakasal ang Tikbalang” (2011).
Ong’s entry is part of a collaborative set of new designs for his school’s group entry, “Country of Many Nations: E pluribus unum.”
As both are studying under financial aid programs, they are trying to find ways to generate resources and funds for their airfare to Prague and accommodations there.
Marcos’ recent credits include Dulaang Unibersidad ng Pilipinas’ “Adarna” and “Bilanggo ng Pag-Ibig” and the Philippine Educational Theater Association’s (Peta) “D Wonder Twins of Boac.”
Ong’s recent credits include Atlantis Productions’ “Carrie,” Red Turnip’s “Closer,” and Repertory Philippines’ “The Producers” and “Alice in Wonderland.”
In the 2011 PQ, the Philippines’ exhibition pavilion, a 6-meter-high bahay-kubo design by set designer Rolando “Rollie” de Leon, was a Children’s Choice awardee, receiving a Rainbow Cormorant award hand-crafted by Czech schoolchildren who cast their votes for their favorite pavilion.
He has designed this year’s pavilion as well, an installation that aims to show a devastated scene, with bamboo poles that seem to have been washed out and clumped together by floods. The photos and items for display will be inserted into the bamboo poles.
“The visitors will see how our theater productions are related to our country’s situation: calamity, destruction, political turmoil, etc. Filipinos keep moving on, past these struggles,” says De Leon.
To be held from June 15 to Aug. 1, the “Costume at the Turn of the Century 1990-2015” exhibition in Russia aims to “showcase the development of ideas, materials and technologies of costume design over the past 25 years from all over the world … as well as archive and preserve this historical material for future designers and the general public.”
Igor Roussanoff, the exhibition’s chief curator, selected the works of three designers from the Philippines to be included among the works of designers from 27 countries: De Leon’s costumes for Music Theater Foundation’s “Why Flowers Bloom in May” (2008); Mark Higgins’ costumes for Triumphant Peoples Evangelistic Theater Society’s (Trumpets) “The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe” (1996 and subsequent restagings); and Mio Infante’s costumes for Atlantis’ “Disney’s Beauty and the Beast” (2007) and Trumpets’ “The Bluebird of Happiness” (2013).
De Leon is the Philippine curator for both PQ 2015 and this exhibition.
Higgins’ other credits include costumes for Agnes Locsin’s dance piece “The Four Last Songs.” He is currently codirector of Slim’s Fashion and Art School, Manila.
Infante’s recent credits include Peta’s “Rak of Aegis,” Rep’s “The Graduate” and 9 Works Theatrical’s “Grease.”