There is nothing like the theater, and theater people, if you ask Nick J. Lizaso, executive director of the International University Theater Association (IUTA) Philippine Center, and a veteran stage actor.
“People who have been in theater are different,” he said.
Lizaso spoke at a recent press conference at Club Filipino, San Juan City, which announced the 1st IUAP Festival-Conference-Workshop, to be held July 18-20 at Miriam College, Quezon City.
“In theater you learn to be a team player,” Lizaso pointed out. “Me center, you forward, and then there are the guards. Just like in a basketball game, you learn how to support everybody. And you learn how to deliver lines, images, the meaning of the words.”
The actor-director was less enthusiastic about TV acting and actors: “Di ko maintindihan ang sounds nila (he started to grunt). Kasi hindi nag-aral ng dialogue. Hindi marunong magsalita. (I don’t understand their sounds. They don’t study dialogue, that’s why. They don’t know how to speak).”
Those who don’t come from theater, he claimed, are “soloistic, feudal.”
The IUTA Philippine Center Festival-Conference-Workshop will bring together some 14 university experts from the US, Latin America, Europe and Africa who will interact with Filipino drama teachers from 17 regions.
There will be dialogues, workshops, demonstrations, roundtable discussions and performances. Papers will be read.
Twenty-three leading universities and colleges in Metro Manila will participate, while the presidents of 25 regional colleges and universities have been invited.
A special feature of the festival will honor 16 living treasures of Philippine theater: Naty Crame-Rogers, Tony Mabesa, Rustica Carpio, José Mari Avellana, Fr. James Reuter, SJ; Onofre Pagsanghan, Amelia Lapeña-Bonifacio, Jess Peralta, Alberto Florentino, Cecile Guidote-Alvarez, Fides Cuyugan-Asensio, Baby Barredo, Joy Virata, Celia Diaz-Laurel, Teddy Hilado and Salvador Bernal.
The IUTA (Philippine Center office tel. 6219467, 0917-8152549) holds a world congress every two years. Established in 1994 at Université de Liege in Belgium, it aims to develop and promote theater training, creation and theoretical and practical research.
The association has members in over 50 countries.
During the press conference, Miriam College president Ma. Rosario O. Lapus observed that “there is so much in the world today that we can profit from. Life is linking together people and places, raising awareness . . . There is nothing like theater when it comes to bringing people together, and learning.”
Sr. Sarah Manapol of St. Paul University-Manila noted that “it is very, very sad that the youth today don’t talk, don’t communicate to each other. It’s all Facebook. No face-to-face relationship. So there is nothing like theater when it comes to fostering face-to-face relationships.”