There is no subtlety in Theatre from the regions: our narratives go straight to the point. Our metaphors are wrought with such wielding power that instead of trickling down to the masses, the story of the masses trickle up to ours. With this said: the new breed of regional theatre is composed of young guns that dare to step forward into the future.
1. Sari Saysay and Ang Bata sa Bus Stop
Sari Saysay’s Ang Bata sa Bus Stop at the 13th Virgin Labfest held at the Cultural Center of the Philippines last June 28 to July 16 drew rave reviews. The Virgin Labfest is an annual event that gives playwrights the opportunity to stage their unpublished plays. Directed by Topper Fabregas, the story revolves around a character named “Matanda” who waits for the bus which will take him away from his life as a priest. He meets a younger character–“Bata” who aspires to become a priest, asking him several questions about priesthood and why he would prefer to leave. Ang Bata sa Bus Stop received praises for its simplicity, vibrancy where Sari Saysay gained a huge following for his vision and ability to give the characters’ persona the subtlety of depth. For the next three years the CCP holds the staging rights for Ang Bata sa Bus Stop but hopefully it will be staged in Bicol soon.
2. Carlos Arejola and Teatro Ragayano
Carlos Arejola is a Palanca-award winning writer and playwright from the town of Pili Camarines Sur. Arejola, artist in-residence of the community theatre group, directs the musical top billed by Eilyn Nidea and Virna Asence, where Ginalyn Dauran Parafina acts as musical director. Kuwintas, a musical play is scheduled to run on August 19, 20, 26, 27 in the town of Ragay, Camarines Sur, is Carlos A. Arejola’s Filipino adaptation of the iconic The Transparent Sun by Linda Ty Casper. Kuwintas will be shown alongside his ecological war-epic Panaghoy ng Kalikasan, an earlier play which had its first run this year in March. The Bicol Literary and Theater scene, however, mourns the passing of Arejola on the morning of the 20th of July,2017. His legacy will live forever in his poetry and theatrical masterpieces.
3. Paz Verdades Santos, Sari Saysay and “Mga Aninipot sa Tahaw kan Salog”
Research was the foundation for this musical: a part of the Salbar Istorya, Salbar Buhay project conducted in the city of Naga, towns of Camaligan, Canaman, Ponong in Magarao, and Gainza initiated by the Sumaro sa Salog (SULOG, Inc), volunteers in rehabilitation of the once-majestic Bicol River. The play hits high notes to remind its audience the importance of saving the river for generations to come, also in an attempt to put Bikol in the important theatre sphere. The musical recently held auditions for its cast and will eventually have its series of runs in different towns in the region before the year ends.
4. Teatro De Sta. Luisa
Teatro De Sta. Luisa is perhaps one of the keys to the rapid growth of theatre in the region: it’s one of the 14 finalists of the 14th Search for Ten Accomplished Youth Organizations this year. Whether we laughed or cried at their productions that highlight disasters and the environment, we would always look forward to their upcoming plays.
Theatre is that one art medium that moves everyone through senses other than the sense of sight. A great feat to unfold right before our very eyes, Bikol Theater seems to be on board this ride. We’re very excited to see what’s to come.