The gloves are off for Dulaang UP. Or, rather, to rephrase the metaphor, Dulaang UP has put on the boxing gloves and the drama company is spoiling for a prize fight. Its 44th theater season has for its theme “Daluhong” (assault).
This word in Filipino “signifies our response to social iniquities with strength and aggression,” declared singer-actress Banaue Miclat-Janssen, Dulaang UP artistic director, in a recent press conference at the Wilfrido Ma. Guerrero Theater in the University of the Philippines Diliman (UP).
“The war against tyranny, repression and injustice is ever escalating and this year’s lineup thrusts audiences right into the thick of it,” she added.
Two masterpieces by Spanish dramatists will be presented: Federico Garcia Lorca’s “La Casa de Bernarda Alba” (translated from Spanish into English by Daisy Lopez, and into Filipino by Alexander Cortez, who directs); and “Fuenteovejuna” by Lope de Vega, translated into Filipino by Nicolas Pichay and directed by Tony Mabesa.
For its part, the allied UP Playwrights’ Theatre, will restage “Nana Rosa” by Rody Vera, the affecting story of Rosa Henson, the first Filipina to narrate her ordeal as a comfort woman during World War II. José Estrella directs.
An intense excerpt from the all-female Lorca play was performed during the press launch, with the actresses dressed in black and cowering before the abusive matriarch.
“The House of Bernarda Alba” is staged in Filipino and English. It is the story of the tyrannical Bernarda Alba and her five repressed daughters, for the mother has imposed an eight-year period of mourning upon the death of her second husband.
“It is a great work of theater,” said Mabesa. “It is known to be a classic and the issues are contemporary.”
For Cortez, “the important theme is honor; these days that word has been relegated to the sidelines. The family is the basis of that honor in the play.” Actresses Frances Makil-Ignacio and Gigi Escalante alternate in the demanding role of Bernarda Alba.
In “Fuenteovejuna,” based on a historical event in a Spanish village in 1476, tyranny comes in the form of a feudal overlord whose reign is overthrown by aroused villagers. —CONTRIBUTED
“The House of Bernarda Alba”/“Ang Tahanan ni Bernarda Alba” will run until Sept. 29. “Fuenteovejuna” will be staged Nov. 8-Dec. 1. “Nana Rosa” will have a rerun Feb. 28-March 15, 2020. Tel. 0917-5198879