De La Salle-College of Saint Benilde mounts Dante’s ‘Divine Comedy’
Philippine Daily Inquirer / 12:00 AM November 07, 2015
The De La Salle-College of Saint Benilde (DLS-CSB) commemorates Dante Alighieri’s 750th birth anniversary by staging his epic poem “Divine Comedy,” with special focus on the “Purgatorio,” on Friday the 13th, Nov. 13, from 1:30 p.m. to 6:00 p.m.
Titled “Purgatory: Love Gone Wrong/Love Redeemed,” the five-hour production is a multigenre series of site-specific performances and installations at the DLS-CSB campus.
The journey to purgatory will take the participants to different locations and floors of the School of Design and Arts (SDA) building-campus. The seven deadly sins of pride, envy, wrath, sloth, avarice, gluttony and lust are interpreted through installations and performance art by the faculty and students from the degree programs of theater, dance, music, design foundation, production design, multimedia and fashion.
About 150 members of DLS-CSB’s various departments and programs are taking part in the production.
DLS-CSB president Brother Dennis Magbanua, FSC, says: “Our production of ‘Purgatory: Love Gone Wrong/Love Redeemed’ is intended to instill an appreciation and deeper embodied understanding of Dante Alighieri’s ‘Divine Comedy.’ As an innovative and inclusive college, the Benilde community benefits from this project by finding relevance in this medieval masterpiece as a way of understanding personal struggles and yearnings for spiritual rebirth amid the urban blight and congestion and the seduction of consumerism.”
Magbanua himself plays the role of Angelos, Dante’s messenger of joy who guides the author to Heaven.
Benilde SDA dean Jose Maria U. Yupangco, who is playing the role of Dante, describes the show thus: “‘Purgatory’ explores and grapples with the excesses of love and its eventual righteous temperance through movement, music, theater and cosplay pageantry. The production is part of a series of events undertaken in collaboration with the Societa Dante Alighieri Manila, which promotes Italian culture and language in the country.”
Benilde SDA associate dean Sunita S. Mukhi, who is lead creator of the production, says that, among the “highlights of the journey through purgatory are the student and faculty cosplay parade along the streets of Leon Guinto and Pablo Ocampo led by dean Yupangco, a cappella chants and music instrumentation by the Coro San Benildo, and a movement piece by the deaf dancers of the School of Deaf Education and Applied Studies and those of the Romancon Dance Company, the SDA’s dance program.”
Associate dean Asela Domingo plays the role of Faith, associate dean Abigail Cabanilla is Hope, and vice chancellor for La Sallian mission and student life Carmelita Lazatin is Charity.
The DLS-CSB’s “Purgatory” is part of the bigger Dante commemoration participated in by the University of the Philippines Diliman, Ateneo de Manila University, Colegio de San Juan de Letran, Lyceum University in Intramuros, University of Asia and the Pacific and De La Salle University Taft, among others.
Members of the Italian diplomatic community have been invited to the event.