Theatre artists from the SOCCSKSARGEN region in Mindanao brought the world of theatre, this time, on a virtual stage, dubbed as the Kilos Kalinaw Virtual Plays at the 33rd Season and Festival of Dramatic Arts, in a form of a three-part show that run on November 27, December 1 and December 3, via Facebook and YouTube.
A total of four virtual plays premiered on the said dates which focused on themes such as interfaith dialogue, peace and conflict, healing and reconciliation, and violent extremism. This initiative led by the Basic Institute of Dramatic Arts (BIDA) – General Santos City was one of the highlight activities during the celebration of the 19th Mindanao Week of Peace, with the strong support from the Provincial Local Government Unit of Sarangani through the Sulong Kapayapaan, and in partnership with the SOX Messaging Hub led by MSU GenSan’s Institute for Peace and Development in Mindanao (IPDM), and Equal Access International-Philippines.
More than just a form of entertainment, the virtual plays have opened an important discussion that tackles on social issues that speak volumes on the situations faced by Mindanaoans. Part of the show were a series of talkbacks that gathered individuals and experts of the subject matter who shared their in-depth thoughts and interpretations on the scenes from the plays. The writers, directors and actors also joined the talkback where they explained their personal experiences and challenges while on the process of giving life to the plays.
“Tunay nga na ang dula ay nakapagpabago, nagbabago at nagpapabago ng ating ginagalawan. Maaaring ito ay nagaganap laman sa entablado (gaya nito). Subalit, mayroon itong kapangyarihang magbukas dahil ito ay mabisang paraan upang pukawin ang ating puso, kumilos at makiisa para sa kapayapaan. (It is said that dramatic arts has the ability to change, is changing, and can change the way we act. It may be taking place on a stage; however, it has the power to open our minds because of its effective way to stir our hearts and to move us to unite for peace.), shared Professor Norman Ralph Isla, during his opening message as the Festival Director. Prof. Isla expressed his thanks to the organizations and individuals who have supported the production of the plays.
On his message of support, Sarangani Governor Steve Chiongbian Solon expressed his appreciation to the young people behind the virtual plays who continue to raise their voice and amplify the stories of Mindanaoans through dramatic arts.
“As I usually emphasize, there is a need to strengthen the foundation of our youth today, as they will be the leaders of tomorrow. The youth is one of the vulnerable sectors and they are the ones being recruited. Though vulnerable, the youth has the strongest voice to influence and we need to use that to our advantage,” Governor Solon shared.
According to Prof. Isla, the online platform was an added challenge during the production, yet it also gathered more audience not only from the region but also from other parts of Mindanao. The theatre group hopes to return and perform live on the next year’s run of the festival on dramatic arts, and as soon as the health crisis is over. This year’s virtual play was also their way to invite more young people to create meaningful works in the form of theatre and dramatic arts.
The following were the plays that premiered during the Kilos Kalinaw 33rd Season and Festival of Dramatic Arts:
“Ang Bigkas ng Pagkakabigkis” written by John Jay Morido and directed by Mark Ivan Caro
“Pandasal” written by Norman Ralph Isla and directed by Karl Cedric Fredeluces
“Mga Tala sa Lupa” written by Karen Umadhay and directed by Yanzy Dizon
“Tunglo” written by Jaydee Paid and directed by Charlene Epilepsia
“Pandemonyo” (special premiere) written by Norman Ralph Isla