Literature may be said to be the most “intellectual” of the creative arts, which may account for its limited appeal among the general public.
In recent years there have been successful attempts—the specialists cite the Ugandan linguist Pio Zirimu—to raise oral literature to the level of written literature.
This is the rationale for the Performatura 2017 (Performance Literature Festival) of the Cultural Center of the Philippines (CCP) on March 31-April 2, which is open to the public.
This was announced in a recent press conference at Diamond Hotel, presided over by CCP vice president, Chris Millado, and festival director, poet Vim Nadera, who came caparisoned in a Moriones costume.
Nadera said noted writers like F. Sionil José, Edith Tiempo and Cirilo Bautista, all National Artists, are little known among students and millennials. He added that José, who wrote the acclaimed Rosales tetralogy, “is not known in Rosales, Pangasinan. He explained that through performances of José’s works, he could be better known.
Millado said there would be “a nonstop, marathon reading of Balagtas’ “Florante at Laura” and I hope this grows into a big thing.”
There will be poetry readings, cultural performances, film showings, marathon readings, a book fair, and interviews with noted artists and writers. Those who have signified an intention to participate include F. Sionil José, Nora Aunor, Leoncio Deriada, Ricky Lee, Sari Dalena, Giancarlo Abraham and Jim Libiran.
Highlights include community children from Dagdag Dunong Reading Center reading “La India Elegante y el Negrito Amante,” Pinoy Reads Pinoy Books Club members tackling Balagtas’ “Orosman at Zafira,” and students from the Philippine National School for the blind reading the Braille version of “Florante at Laura” out loud.
There will be a costume play contest wherein the participants will dress up as characters from “Florante at Laura,” and recite at least three stanzas of the verses attributed to these characters.
Fittingly, the festival is a tribute to master poet Balagtas (Francisco Baltazar), and its theme is the famous quote “Sa loob at labas ng bayan kong sawi” (within and without my unfortunate country).—CONTRIBUTED