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…

Articulating the Cosmopolitan in the Theatre

This post is a continuation of my 12 August post on my seduction to cosmopolitanism, which may be viewed here. My attraction to cosmopolitanism vis-à-vis the theatre experience is based on a vision of community that may be perceived in the relationship among audience members and the relationship between the audience and the performance. The…

Seduced by Cosmopolitanism

Some social scientists look at cosmopolitanism as a political concept. Others look at it as a world-view or a disposition. Some believe that cosmopolitanism is an actual and existing reality. Others view it as the other side or a critique of globalization. My fascination with cosmopolitanism is, of course, from the various academic conceptions –…

Throwback: Komedya Fiesta 2008 at the University of the Philippines Diliman

To celebrate the centenary of the University of the Philippines (UP), the College of Arts and Letters at the Diliman Campus held the Komedya Fiesta 2008. For the whole month of February, the campus was dressed with traditional fiestas culminating with performances of komedya, a traditional Hispanic theatre form that has been Filipinized. Conceived in…

The Month of May and the Season of the Queen in the Philippines

The excerpt below is from my essay “Panata, Pagtitipon, Pagdiriwang: A Preliminary Contexualization of Cultural Performances in the Philippines” published in Humanities Diliman: A Journal of Philippine Humanities, a Scopus-listed journal published by the University of the Philippines Diliman. The journal is open-access, please click here for the current issue. To access the full essay,…

Performing Catholicism, Performing Ambivalence

In 2003, I was admitted to the master’s program (theatre arts) of the UP Diliman Department of Speech Communication and Theatre Arts of the College of Arts and Letters. My thesis was on the nailing ritual in Cutud in the province of Pampanga.  The nailing ritual was not my original research plan. I initially wanted to…