Artistang Artlets stages ‘Prima Facie’

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“Minsan, hindi tunay ang inyong nakikita.”

Inihahandog ng Artistang Artlets, ang opisyal na samahang pang-teatro ng Pakultad ng Sining at Panitik ng Unibersidad ng Santo Tomas, ang “Prima Facie” sa panulat ni John Michael Peña.

Walang sikreto ang hindi nabubunyag.

Ang dulang ito ay tungkol sa isang kandidatong tatakbo sana sa pagka-pangulo ngunit sa isang iglap, siya ay binawian ng buhay.Walang nakakaalam kung paano at ano ang ikinamatay niya maliban sa mga taong nakasama niya nang hapunan bago ang pagkamatay niya.

Ang “Prima Facie” ay ayon sa direksyon ni Jennie Ver Gabon at sa pamamahala ni Shaira Joyce Javier. Ito ay ipapalabas sa Oktubre 27, 28, at 29, 2015 sa mga oras na 1pm, 3pm, 5pm, at 7pm sa Benavides Auditorium, High School Building, UST

Para sa iba pang mga katanungan, maaaring tawagan o kontakin si Ma.Diane Gundaya sa numerong (09279381150) o Xiayra Mae Magtibay sa numerong (09175977812) o John Gabriel Pe sa numerong (09225383521) o maaari ring bisitahin ang Facebook page na: www.facebook.com/ArtistangArtletsUST.

Sabay sabay nating alamin ang mga pinakatatagong sikreto.


Artistang Artlets adapts The Little Prince

FINAL POSTER MUNTI“What is essential is invisible to the eye” Artistang Artlets, the Official Theater Guild of the Faculty of Arts and Letters of the University of Santo Tomas, on its 34th Season, proudly presents:“Munti: An Adaptation of Antoine de Saint-Exupery’s Le Petit Prince” by Alyanna Paula A. Veloso, a modern day theatrical adaptation of an inspiring novel based on a young boy’s adventure in discovering the absolute truth within the inner self and looking beneath the surface in order to find beauty. Everything is not what it seems. Sometimes it is not enough to just look at the surface. You need to exceed boundaries and understand things from different perspectives. The story will feature a child’s journey where he met different individuals and learned to find the meaning of life through simple things. It will show what someone can sacrifice for his happiness at the same time, for the greater good. Munti will be directed by Klea Dale S. Lloren and produced by Jennie Ver M. Gabon. This will be staged from May 6, 7 & 8, 2015, with the time slots 1pm, 3pm, 5pm and 7pm at the Tan Yan Kee Auditorium, Tan Yan Kee Building, University of Santo Tomas. For inquiries please contact Christine Ann Camille Baria at (09277842701) or Revou Nomar Antolin at (0927-821-7931) or visit our facebook page:www.facebook.com/ArtistangArtletsUST. Get ready for a journey of a lifetime.  Reminisce your own life adventures and unleash the childlike heart in you.

Personal Experiences, Social Issues


“Do I have to tell her I’m purple?”

It was Sheila (not her real name), in one of our phone conversations, those lengthy ones we have on weekends where we talk about everything from Amorsolo’s paintings to workplace crushes. She had recently met a girl, who she had been crushing on.

“Why not?” I said.

“But won’t that scare her away? I mean, we’ve been friends for only a couple of weeks,” Sheila said.

“I’m not telling you to tell her right this minute. Tell her when you feel like it, when you have the confidence. It could be sooner or later; it doesn’t matter. What’s important is that she knows. Anyway, you’ll be hanging out with her; if she’s so dumb she misses the signs, then she doesn’t deserve your friendship. And please stop calling yourself purple. You’re a lesbian, is what you are.”

These days I find myself playing the role of a fairy godmother to those having difficulty coming to grips with their sexuality, especially the public side of it. Coming out as gay should have been a no-brainer by now, what with all these gay celebrities, soap operas on gay romance, and homoerotic billboards. The fact remains, though, that lots of gay people still feel trepidation about doing so. The hesitation is common among those who, like Shiela, can easily pass for straight, which kept them under the radar longer than their more obvious counterparts. They’ve worn this camouflage for so long they feel shedding it would mean giving up the safety of their old lives.

During the early days of our friendship, which began in college, Sheila would never call herself gay, but instead prefers the phrase “having lesbian tendencies,” and would disclose about these tendencies to a few close friends.  I would snort every time she would say that.

“I’m a girl who just happens to like other girls,” she said.

“True, but the problem is, to many people, you’re not just any other girl; you’re a lesbian,” I said.

“I just hate labels,” she said.

“I’m sorry, but until people have come up with another names to call us, to them, a boy who likes another boy is bakla, and a girl who likes another girl is tibo. ”

Sheila has long dropped the “tendencies” but has yet to soften to the usual labels for a gay female. Her favored term now is “purple”, which makes me think of her as someone who mistook for sun tan lotion the indelible ink used during elections.

I know where Sheila’s aversion to labels stems from. For any gay guy in the Philippines, his most painful childhood memories include being taunted by other boys chanting “Bakla! Bakla! Bakla!” But then, for all the derision these labels are dripping with, they somehow have helped in making us gay people more visible. For instance, take the label paminta. A gay guy who acts as if straight, supposedly as cover-up, a paminta is  often depicted in popular culture as one who frequents the gym to body-build as much as to cruise. Though based on gender stereotypes, the label at least widens the spectrum of images people have on the gay guy: We are not always beauconeras; we can be basketball players, too (Thank you, Jason Collins). No, we don’t always join the varsity team to play the field. Most of the time, it’s for the love of the sport.

If life throws you lemons, then make lemonade – my attitude towards being gay, in a nutshell. If people call you beki, then be the sexiest beki that ever walked Earth. This doesn’t mean, however, that you’d keep your face up at every insulting epithet spat your way. To be called bading is one thing; to be called a pedophile when you’re not is another.

All these labels function in the same way as the other – though not as derogatory – ones we’ve worn since birth. They bind us to communities, whose causes we take up by adapting these labels. It’s like those scarves with embroidered chrysanthemums the rebels wear in The Curse of the Golden Flower.  So in the grand scheme of sexual politics today, neither being anonymous nor ambiguous would advance the revolution. You must be either “straight “or “gay”. You must make up your mind and take sides.

When we come out, we do it not only for ourselves. We do it for the man who dressed in women’s clothes and the woman who dressed in men’s clothes who walked down the streets and were thrown stones at for doing so. We do it for every man and woman who confessed love for a same-sex crush and was rejected. We do it for every gay man and woman who gave a lot before us so we could enjoy lots of freedom and lots of love now.

We do it for the lonely boy or girl in the locker room who is thinking of killing his or herself.

Now, you don’t always have to come up with a melodramatic speech to come out. If you have a knack for words and theater, then by all means, make your coming out like the opening of the Tony Awards with Neil Patrick Harris as host. But if you’re on the shy side, sometimes, you could make use of the little, less flamboyant but not less effective, things. Put in your two-cents whenever gay issues are brought up in the family. Comment on the cute guy/girl you see in the park when you go jogging with a friend. Or you could joke about it.  From time to time, in the presence of her parents, Sheila would crack “purple” jokes. “Ewan ko ba kung bakit type kita. Hindi ka naman guwapo,” she would say. “Siguro dahil maganda ka.”  (I don’t know why I’m falling for you. You’re not in the least cute. I guess it’s because you’re pretty.) Soon they will pick up on your hints.

Since we left college, Sheila already has none of the previous apologetic tone when talking about being a lesbian, and would sometimes express exasperation over the disapproval of homosexuality by her religion, of which her family is a devout member. Though her sexual orientation remains something her family would not talk about over dinner, she has become less guarded about it, the walking-over-landmines feeling gone. Baby steps, but brisk ones at that. I’m looking forward to the day when she brings home a girlfriend.


Artistang Artlets play on ‘choosing to love again’

Artistang Artlets Puso with Disabilities

Artistang Artlets, the official theatre guild of the University of Santo Tomas’ Faculty of Arts and Letters, presents “PWD (Puso With Disabilities)”, written by Danielle Joyce Factora, choreographed by Paula Angelica Uy, with the original composition of music and lyrics done by Coleen Ivy Cordero, directed by Michelle Emily Lozare and produced by Mary Crizette Arce

PWD (Puso With Disabilities) is a musical play comprised of different stories about lapses that occur in relationships and eventually lead to certain conflicts that may hinder someone from choosing to love again. This production aims to show the audience certain remedies to various problems one may experience in love and how people involved in a relationship can use these remedies to forgive each other’s shortcomings.

This play is set to grace the Tan Yan Kee Student Center AVR on the following play dates: March 23, 24 and 25 at the time 1pm, 3pm, 5pm and 7pm. For tickets and information, please contact Jann Kayla Mendoza (09278423870) or John Michael Peña  (09058245399).


Artistang Artlets: Is love worth gambling everything for?

Revised Poster Artistang Artlets XOXO PosterArtistang Artlets, the official theater guild of the Faculty of Arts and Letters of the University of Santo Tomas, on its 34th season is proud to bring you its 2nd Theatre Literacy Program this coming January.

Artistang Artlets brings you X.O.X.O, a play that introduces us to a world wherein one’s right decisions, thinking, and actions will determine whether he or she will win the game that affects people the most – the game of love. Are you willing to gamble everything for the sake of love? Will it be worth it? Ready? Set, Gamble.

X.O.X.O is a twin bill production, featuring the 29th Gawad Ustetika 1st and 3rd place holders for Dulang May Isang Yugto category entitled “Baraha” written by Kris Joven Medalla and “Ang Kasalanan sa Kasalan” written by Danielle Joyce Factora, respectively. X.O.X.O will be directed by Jennie Ver Gabon and will be produced by Hazel May Sartorio.

Play dates will be as follows: January 6, 7, and 8, 2015 – 1pm, 3pm, 5pm, and 7pm at the Education Auditorium, Albertus Magnus Building, UST.

For inquiries, please contact Hazel May Sartorio at 0935 483 0765 or visit Artistang Artlets on Facebook. (fb.com/ArtistangArtletsUST)

Artistang Artlets XOXO Inforgraphics


Artistang Artlets stages Sa North Diversion Road

Sa North Diversion Road Artistang Artlets

Artistang Artlets, the official theatre guild of the Faculty of Arts and Letters at the University of Santo Tomas, is staging this September a Tony Perez play, Sa North Diversion Road.

Perez is known for “dark and moody” explorations of the human psyche, influenced largely by his background in clinical psychology. The only Tony Perez work I’ve read so far is Cubao: 1980, a coming-of-age novel about a barkada of adolescent hustlers plying their trade in the titular place and time. The novel is acclaimed for its experimental prose that is reminiscent of The Catcher in the Rye and its controversial subject matter (at least, during the time it was published).  I particularly remember Perez’s clever comparison of the milieu of Cubao to a cat in heat.

SNDR, on the other hand, has been a favourite among theatre companies, and was even filmed once. Like Cubao, SNDR confronts another “taboo” topic: infidelity. The subject has since become a staple in Philippine movies, what with all those mediocre “mistress movies” the major studios have been churning out recently. So it would be interesting to see how much has changed in Filipinos’ attitude towards infidelity through Artlets’ SNDR staging that is being produced by Christine Emano and being directed by Maria Kristina Magno.

In an interview with the Philippine Daily Inquirer last February, Perez said he prefers to write about the “Filipino psyche” because unlike social issues – works on which he calls “ephemeral” – such a topic lasts.

“[I] would rather write a play remembered and restaged a 100 years from now because it addressed the psyche of the Filipinos rather than current issues,” he said.

Disclosure: I am receiving free tickets for this post

Sa North Diversion Road. Directed by Ma. Kristina Magno and produced by Christine Emano. At the Tan Yan Kee Auditorium, Tan Yan Kee Building, University of Santo Tomas, on September 24, 25, 26 and 27, 2013. Time slots are 10am, 1pm, 4pm and 7pm. For inquiries, contact Cymon Denise Mercado at 0927-329-6953 or visit Artistang Artlets’ Facebook page at http://www.facebook.com/ArtistangArtletsUST


Mabesa adapts The Duchess of Malfi

DUP  The Duchess of MalfiThis September, Dulaang UP continues its tradition of bringing world classics to the Filipino audience through the first major Philippine production of John Webster’s The Duchess of Malfi. Dark and visceral, The Duchess of Malfi is widely held as the greatest of Webster’s works and the most gripping of the Jacobean tragedies. It has mesmerized and shocked audiences since it was first staged 400 years ago in 1613.

The Duchess of Malfi is renowned for producing what could probably be theatre’s most compelling female protagonist and two of its most twisted villains.

The play follows the story of a recently widowed duchess as she decides to go against her scheming brothers by secretly marrying her personal steward. The discovery of her deception engulfs everyone in a tumultuous and maddening whirlpool of envy, incest, greed, destruction, and death. The characters’ struggle for and against their desires forces us to ask ourselves, “How far will we go for pleasure?”

DUP’s production also features Ang Dukesa ng Malfi as translated into Filipino by Palanca awardee Allan Palileo. The play is adapted and directed by theater icon and DUP Founding Artistic Director Tony Mabesa, well known for his staging of world and Filipino classics. New York-based Obie award winner Clint Ramos and Eric Pineda collaborate for the set and costume design respectively; Choreography by Peter Alcedo, Jr., Lights design by Meliton Roxas, Jr., and Sound design by Jethro Joaquin.

The cast is headlined by some of theater’s biggest stars and supported by some of its most promising actors. Banaue Miclat, Liza Dino, and Adriana Agcaoili alternate as the defiant Duchess. Richard Cunanan, Neil Ryan Sese, and George de Jesus take turns playing the twisted Bosola. The Duchess’ malevolent twin brother, Ferdinand, is given life by Jacques Borlaza and Allan Palileo. The corrupt Cardinal is played by Menggie Cobarrubias and Brian Tibayan. The production also stars Carlo Tarobal, Dax Alejandro, Issa Litton, Ces Aldaba, and the Dulaang UP ensemble.

The Duchess of Malfi/Ang Dukesa ng Malfi runs September 11- 29, 2013 at the Wilfrido Ma. Guerrero Theater, Palma Hall, University of the Philippines Diliman. For sponsorship and ticket inquiries, please contact the Dulaang UP Office at 926-1349, 981-8500 local 2449 or 433-7840 and look for Ms. Camille Guevarra or Ms. Samanta Clarin.


Ang Tagak at ang Kalabaw

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Image source: Sir Mevs at Flickr

Kung tawagin kami noo’y  sina Tagak at Kalabaw. Ako ang tagak at si Kuya naman ang kalabaw. Sabi ni Kuya, bata pa kami ng sinimulan kaming tawagin ng mga kapitbahay nang ganito. Minsan daw kasi’y nagkasugat ako sa paa’t matagal gumaling, kaya’t kinailangan ni Kuyang pasanin ako sa kanyang likod saan man kami pumunta.

Mga apat na taon ako at anim na taon naman si Kuya nang sumama sa mga rebelde sina Inay at Itay. Mula noo’y kinupkop na kami ng aming Tiyo Jaime. Magsasaka si Tiyo kaya lumaki kami ni Kuya sa putikan.

“Ano kayang nasa kabila ng Bulawan?” madalas kong matanong kay Kuya tuwing nasa bukid kami at nagpupunla.

“Malamang ay putik din. Pag uwi natin sa bahay, maligo ka agad at napakabaho mo na,” sagot niya.

Kung tatanungin ako, ayoko sa putikan. Mas gusto ko sa paaralan. Doon, malinis at maghapon ka lang na nakaupo.

Mas naibigan ko pang pumasok sa paaralan nang tumuntong ako nang Grade Six at naging guro namin si Ma’am Salvador.

“Class, ito ang tatandaan ninyo,” ang minsang sinabi ni Ma’am Salvador. “Ang pinakamahahalagang bagay ay hindi nakikita ng mata. Tanging ang puso ang nakakakita nang tama.”

Wala pa akong narinig na tulad niyon. Nang sandaling iyon, iyon na yata ang pinakamaganda at pinakatotoong bagay na narinig ko. Galing iyon sa nobelang The Little Prince. Syempre, ilang taon pa bago ko mabasa nang buo ang nobelang ito.

Si Kuya? Hindi mo maipipirmi si Kuya sa loob ng classroom. Hindi lalagpas ang isang oras at tingnan mo’t wala nang laman ang upuan. Naroon na uli siya sa kabukiran.

Panatag si Kuya sa bukid. Pati ang pasikot-sikot sa kagubata’y kabisado niya. Minsan, dinala niya ako gubat. Narating namin ang isang maliit na lawa. Sa ibabaw ng lawa, nagliliparan ang sanlaksang tutubi. Sa liwanag na araw, kumikislap ang kanilang mga pakpak.

Umupo si kuya sa isang malaking bato. May hawak siyang dahon ng balete. Inilapit niya iyon sa kanyang bibig at nagsimulang tugtugin iyon na parang plawta.

Noong bata pa kami, pareho kami ni Kuyang marunong tumugtog ng dahon. Siya ang nagturo sa akin. Ngunit ngayo’y nakalimutan ko na kung paano.

Nang matapos siyang tumugtog, nagsalita siya: “Balak kong sumama kay Nestor sa Bulawan.”

Si Nestor ang anak ng kapitbahay naming si Aling Guada. Isa siyang minero sa Bulawan.

Tanong ko:“Bakit?”

Sagot ni Kuya: “Kailangan daw ng dagdag na tao sa minahan. Saka, malay mo, makahukay din ako ng ginto doon, tulad ni Nestor.”

“Pero delikado. Palaging may sumasabog doon. At pag may sumasabog, lumilindol. At saka, ang dinig ko, may mga sundalo din daw doon. May mga baril sila.”

“Hay, naku naman, Emil. Kalalaki mong tao’y napakamatatakutin mo.Walang mangyayari sa akin doon.”

“Bakit kailangan mo pang magtrabaho doon? Pwede naman tayong magsaka dito.”

“Mas malaki ang kikitain ko doon. Saka, tigang na ang lupa. Sabi ni Tiyo, ilang taon na lang daw at hindi na matatamnan pa ng kahit ano ang bukid.”

“Sasama ako sa iyo.”

“Ano? Sasama ka sa ‘kin, sa payat mong ‘yan? Hindi mo kakayanin doon.”


“Sa isang linggo daw ang uwi ni Nestor. Pag balik niya sa Bulawan, sasama na ako sa kanya.

At ganoon nga ang nangyari. Naging minero si Kuya. Labing-apat na taon siya noon.

Naging totoo ang lahat ng sinabi ni Kuya. Malaki ang kanyang naging kita. Dahil dito’y napag-aral niya ako hanggang high school. Umalis din ako sa amin upang makapag-aral sa  kolehiyo sa lungsod. Naging working student ako.

Hanggang ngayo’y minero pa rin si Kuya Ruben, at sa trabahong ito binubuhay niya ang kanyang asawa at dalawang anak. Sa tuwing uuwi ako sa amin, madalas ay hindi ko naabutan si Kuya sa bahay dahil nasa minahan pa. Kung Tagak at Kalabaw ang tawag sa amin dati, kami na ngayon sina Kamusta at Mabuti Naman. Dahil iyon lang, at ang dalawang salitang iyon lang, ang nasasabi namin sa isa’t isa tuwing magkikita kami.  Anong sasabihin ko sa kanya? Na, sa wakas, marunong nang magsulat ng coherent na argumentative essay ang mga estudyante ko?

Tulad ng sinabi niya, unti-unting naging tigang ang bukid. Minsang nakaupo ako sa harap ng bahay namin sa Bulawan, napansin ko na wala na akong ibang matanaw kundi ang bitak-bitak na kulay abong lupa. Wala nang luntiang bukirin. Wala na ring mga tagak at mga kalabaw. rcc