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MANILA, Philippines – Politics and art have always come hand in hand, but when social tensions rise, art — specifically, political art — becomes an even more valuable tool for affecting change.
As a response to the current political climate, the Philippine Educational Theater Association (PETA) will be restaging some of its acclaimed political shows during its 51st season.
Dubbed Stage of the Nation, the campaign is both a reaction to our current political climate, and an effort to redirect this vitriol and set the stage for productive dialogue.
“A lot of the chosen productions (for Stage of the Nation) will talk about the themes of truth, historical revisionism, human rights and EJK, martial law, the elections and people’s participation,” says Maribel Legarda, artistic director for PETA and creator of the critically-acclaimed Rak of Aegis, which recently concluded its sixth run.
“The arts, especially theater, can tell stories, make us understand history and our past,” adds Beng Cabangon, executive director for PETA. “It can communicate and educate, bring people together, inspire, and heal.”
Political discourse needs to avoid the trap of talking down to its audience. PETA accomplishes this by engaging its audience after each show. These productions don’t just speak to the audience; they speak with.
“That is why all our shows this year will be followed by debriefings,” explains Legarda. “Some of them have also been designed to be coupled with workshops that can happen in the schools and communities.”
Stage of the Nation will include the following productions:
Ang Buhay ni Galileo
Ang Buhay ni Galileo is a localized version of Bertolt Brecht’s Life of Galileo. The play touches on Galileo Galilei’s conflicts with the Roman Catholic Church. The famous astronomer’s theories — the most famous of which was that the earth orbited the sun — ran contrary to the established religious dogma of the time. The PETA production will tackle themes of authority, truth, and power, all of which are especially relevant today.
Ang Buhay ni Galileo runs from September 28 to October 7, 2018.
A Game of Trolls
A Game of Trolls is another timely piece, but it is one that tackles more familiar subjects: fake news, trolling, historical revisionism, and disinformation. The “martial law musical for millennials” revives memories of our bloody history through song and irreverent humor. These stories are brought to the fore not out of a refusal to “move on” but to remind us that this could all happen again.
A Game of Trolls runs from October 13 to 14, then 20 to 21, 2018.
Tagu-Taguan Nasaan ang Buwan?
Tagu-Taguan Nasaan ang Buwan? is PETA’s newest children’s production. It’s an ode to imagination, friendship, and courage. The play tells the story of a young boy who embarks on a series of magical adventures to rescue the victims of a dark realm.
Tagu-Taguan Nasaan ang Buwan? was awarded Outstanding Original Libretto during the 10th Gawad Buhay Philstage Awards for the Performing Arts. It runs from November 14 to 29, 2018.
Charot is a colloquial term that means “just kidding.” True to its name, Charot is a satirical piece that tackles the absurdity of our current situation. But Charot is anything but a joke. The play tackles serious subjects such as politics, particularly charter change, and how it affects our day to day lives.
Charot runs from February 1 to March 17, 2019.
PETA will also be hosting a series of guest productions for Stage of the Nation. These will include Kundiman Party, Manila Improv Festival, Trumperte, and Words Anonymous.
These shows all share the theater’s commitment to making a better history for our nation. – Rappler.com
For more information about PETA’s Stage of the Nation, visit petatheater.com, or email firstname.lastname@example.org