Manila’s two major campus-based theater groups announce their season offerings for the school year 2011-2012.
Both groups will commemorate Philippine national hero José Rizal’s sesquicentennial by staging his works and each will stage its own Filipino adaptation of a William Shakespeare play.
Dulaang UP, the University of the Philippines’ official performing theater arts group, is on its 36th season. From July to August, it will stage “Rizal X,” a production that aims to rediscover and reintroduce the relevance of Rizal.
“It will compile different points of view toward Rizal, his works and his life, in a collaboration of text, dance, music, film, visual arts,” says director Dexter Santos.
Based on a concept by Santos, this original production will feature the works of different poets, playwrights, choreographers, filmmakers and artists.
“The show will not be written by a single playwright,” he says. “Our process may be considered as devised theater. The actors and the artistic and production staff will play a pivotal role in the creation of the show.”
In September, Tanghalang Ateneo, one of the longest-running theater groups of Ateneo de Manila University and now on its 33rd season, will stage “Mga Kuwento Ni Rizal Para Sa Bata.” The production will be a devised piece conceptualized and directed by Ronan Capinding.
From November to December, DUP will stage “Noli Me Tangere: Isang Opera,” to be directed by the group’s artistic director, Alexander Cortez. A grand-scale production to be staged at the UP Theater, the opera is composed by National Artist for Music Felipe Padilla de Leon with libretto by National Artist for Visual Arts Guillermo Tolentino.
In July, TA will stage “Ang Sintang Dalisay ni Julieta at Romeo,” an awit (using dodesyllabic or 12-syllable verse) version of Shakespeare’s “Romeo and Juliet” (which is written in iambic pentameter, or five pairs of alternating unstressed and stressed syllables per line), written by G.D. Roke to be directed by Ricardo Abad and designed by National Artist for Theater Design Salvador Bernal.
Abad found the text in the Project Gutenberg website, which states it was written in 1901. “Roke is such a mystery,” Abad says. “Shakespeare scholar Judy Ick has searched all over the place and hasn’t found a trace.”
From September to October, DUP will stage the Philippine premiere of William Shakespeare’s “Titus Andronicus.” Tuxqs Rutaquio will direct using Layeta Bucoy’s Tagalog translation. “Tuxqs is a graduate of our theater program and this is the first time he will direct for DUP since he graduated,” says Cortez.
Considered Shakespeare’s bloodiest and most violent work, this tragedy of ancient Roman general Titus Andronicus and his revenge against Tamora, Queen of the Goths, will be adapted to be “set in the Philippines with the violent Muslim clan wars as backdrop.”
TA ends its season in February 2012, with “Orestaya,” a Tagalog adaptation by B.J. Crisostomo of the plays of Aeschylus, Sophocles and Euripides. To be directed in tandem by Abad and Crisostomo, the production will combine related Greek myths of the cursed family of Atreus, locked into constant murders of each other.
ADMU offers a Bachelor of Fine Arts Major in Theater Arts, with concentration in disciplines such as acting, directing or production design. The program has student performances throughout the year.
“There are plans to make TA the theater company of the Theater Arts degree program in the same way DUP is the theater company of UP’s Theater Arts certificate and degree programs,” says Abad. “The construction of a black box theater for the group’s use is also underway.”
To celebrate the centennial of National Artist for Theater Wilfrido Ma. Guerrero, DUP’s season ends February to March next year with his “Forsaken House,” a play that deals with a family and its controlling patriarch in post-World War II in Manila.
In 1947, Ma. Guerrero founded the UP Dramatics Club which became the precursor of DUP. The theater where he staged most of his productions, then known as Liberal Arts Lecture Hall, was renamed after him in 1976. DUP uses the Guerrero Theater to this day.
Dulaang UP is under the university’s Department of Speech Communication and Theater Arts, which offers certificate and degree programs in Theater Arts. The group also stages its students’ thesis productions under its Dulaang Laboratoryo series throughout the year.
Whole shows or rows of seats can be bought at bulk discounts. Sponsorships always welcome. For Dulaang UP, call 9818500 loc. 2449, 9261349, 4337840. For Tanghalang Ateneo, call 4266001 loc. 5427, 0917-8560787.