Dramaturg Does What? Dramaturgical Process is/as my Teaching Philosophy

When people learn that I am a theatre person, I tell them I practice dramaturgy. The conversation continues with: “Drama, what? What is that?” One of the most difficult tasks a dramaturg can perform is defining dramaturgy itself. Theatre people will never agree on a single definition, but the pieces of literature agree that the…

Carlos Celdran, Padre Damaso and the Catholic Church

This selection was originally published in my book Buhol-Buhol/Entanglement: Contemporary Theatre in Metropolitan Manila (Bern et al: Peter Lang, 2017). The essay is a tribute to the performance artist Carlos Celdran, who passed away on 9 October 2019 and whose provocative and bold performance of Damaso becomes 10 years old this year. Note: cover photo…

National Theatre Academy: A Concept and a Proposal

* Presented on 22 August 2020 via a webinar/conference TAMPOK 2020: SABADULAAN organized by the National Commission on Dramatic Arts of the National Commission for Culture and the Arts Maraming salamat, Mr. Eric Divinagracia for that generous introduction. Maraming salamat rin sa NCCA, lalo na kina Lutgardo Labad, Filemon Blanco at Dessa Quesada Palm for…

A Simplified History of Traditional Theatres in the Philippines (Part 3)

At the height of the localization of the komedya, Dario Cepedes came to Manila in 1878 bringing with him the zarzuela, a Hispanic musical performance following domestic or ordinary people’s stories.  The origin of this performance form is vague. However, the recognized origin is Isagani Cruz’s narration that the zarzuela started in Spain as sainete or an intermission performance in a comedia. Like the komedya the…

A Simplified History of Traditional Theatre in the Philippines (Part 2)

Most of the dramatic troupes in the islands came from Spain through the Galleons. Since the colonial era, actors or performers are what we call human resources. Human resources were (and still are) expensive. Back then, performers of comedia were the celebrities of the time. They were the KathNiels or the JaDines or LizKen of the colonial…

A Simplified History of Traditional Theatres in the Philippines (Part 1)

The Hispanic annotators wrote in their reports to the Hispanic monarchy that if not for their introduction of the theatre, the natives (the precolonial settlers in the islands in the Visayas) would not have one. In a way, this is true because the theatre (read here as formal theatre), meaning the staged, the costumed, and…

The Intramuros Project

On 8 June 2019, I reported about the OVCRD-funded project titled Performing Heritage/The Intramuros Project. The project officially ended on 15 June 2020. The entry below is an excerpt from the final report submitted to OVCRD and a short excerpt of the documentary-drama developed by the research/dramaturgical team. Excerpt from the FINAL REPORT: Performing Heritage…