We purposely chose this day (Sept. 21, the infamous martial law day) so that we would not forget the lessons of history,” said CB Garrucho, president of the Philippine Educational Theater Association (Peta). She spoke at the opening of the company’s 51st theater season, titled “Stage of the Nation,” at the Peta Theater Center in Quezon City.
The season, coming after a golden celebration and Ramon Magsaysay Award, begins in September and will last until June 2019. It will be a blend of the old and the new, as Peta strives to renew its mandate of performing and teaching, reaching out to vulnerable communities (like families affected by the brutal drug campaign), training the youth, political advocacy and, not least, staging entertaining hit musicals with a social message (think “Care Divas” and “Rak of Aegis”).
There were excerpts from the Peta classic “Ang Buhay ni Galileo” (to be restaged Oct. 7); “A Game of Trolls” (a short run and then a mobile tour in October); the children’s musical “Tagu-taguan Nasaan ang Buwan?” (Nov. 14-19); and a new play, “Charot,” a political satire (February-March 2019).
A-list performers during the press launch included Jon Santos (“Trumperte” Oct. 26-27) and Noel Cabangon (for a reunion concert with Buklod colleagues Romero Dongeto and Rene Boncocan on Nov. 17).
There will be a Human Rights Film Festival (February-March), Manila Improv Festival (March) and an anniversary show of the group Words Anonymous (April). A pleasant surprise is the restaging (May-June) of Dulaang UP’s “The Kundiman Party,” the acclaimed play by Floy Quintos, which played to SRO crowds a few months ago.
“This is our continuing mission,” said Peta executive director Beng Santos-Cabangon. “Theater is a platform for social issues. Every day is an opportunity for us to reach people. So many things are happening that we should be talking about. It’s crucial at this time to be out there, and to be counted.” —CONTRIBUTED