Two of the resident theatre companies of the Mindanao State University System (MSUS) are performing virtually during the 27th Iligan National Writers Workshop (INWW) on November 30 and on December 6, 2020, respectively.
For their vibrant and dynamic promotion of culture and arts in the regions, both groups were honored recently by the Cultural Center of the Philippines (CCP) Kaisa sa Sining Gador Awards.
It is auspicious therefore, that the MSUS performing groups lend their prestige to the workshop by performing excerpts of two renowned epics, the Meranaw Darangen and the Sanskrit classic, Ramayana.
The MSU main campus’s Sining Kambayoka Ensemble (SKE), one of the oldest theatre groups in the country is performing “Kalimbay”.
The performance depicts the indigenous manner of feminine walk ”kinikini”of the epic’s noble women dressed in their finery, or in the best Malongs in traditional colors, their hair arranged in the fashion called “pinalot” that shows, at a glance, if the woman is married or not.
The SKE has performed around the country and abroad promoting the folklore of the Meranaw. The Meranaws are known as the people of the lake referring to Lake Lanao, one of the country’s deepest and coolest lakes.
In 2015, this ca.14th Century Darangen was hailed as a UNESCO Intangible Heritage for Humanity. The MSU main campus Folklore Division, with grants from the Toyota Foundation, has re-published a series of the Darangen, in handsome volumes available for sale.
On the other hand, the MSU-Iligan Institute of Technology (MSU-IIT) Resident Theatre Company, Integrated Performing Arts Guild (IPAG) performs an indigenized version from the Indian epic, Ramayana dubbed “Sita: Ramayana Revisited” that premiered during the 2015 Asia Pacific Bond Festival in Singapore. This IPAG production has been performed to much acclaim in festivals such as the ASEAN-Indian Summit in New Delhi, the ASEAN Summit in Bangkok, in Kolkata, Mumbai, and highlighted the significant Diwali Festival in Ayodhya, the birthplace of the kingdom’s hero Rama.
MSU-IIT Vice Chancellor for Administration and Finance Dr. Polaus M. Bari welcomes participants that include four international writing fellows from Thailand, Myanmar, Malaysia, and India as well as three Senior Writing Fellows, 12 regular Writing Fellows, and 11 panelists including two from abroad.
Workshop Director Dr. Christine F. Godinez Ortega opens the workshop with a reminder of a writer’s freedom and professionalism and creativity as human resource that opens many doors.
On December 1, 2020, the National Artist for Literature F. Sionil Jose delivers his keynote lecture to workshop participants.
The Iligan workshop opens on November 30, 2020 by Zoom conference and ends on December 6. The Zoom conference is to be facilitated by the MSU-IIT MICEL. — INWW
The Institute’s resident theater company, the Integrated Performing Arts Guild (IPAG), and its artistic director, the recently retired Prof. Steven Patrick C. Fernandez, DFA, are among the eight Mindanao awardees to receive the first Gador Awards given by the Cultural Center of the Philippines (CCP).
The Gador Award, named as such in reference to the famed Maranao brass jar, Gador, recognizes Mindanao’s outstanding artists, cultural workers, and arts organizations who have done admirable works and services in artistic and cultural endeavors for 10 years or more.
The Gador Award is a good way for IPAG to open its 43rd season. It is also one of the many accolades that IPAG received this year. Recently the guild was shortlisted by the Cultural Center of the Philippines (CCP) for Gawad Para sa Sining Award, the highest distinction awarded to Filipino artists in the country.
For Prof. Fernandez, the Gador Award is but another feather on his cap. He has been the recipient of various other honors including the Palanca (first prize), CCP Gantimpala, UP Likhaan, CCP Pilak, and the Francisco Balagtas Award from the Unyon ng Manunulat sa Pilipinas (UMPIL).
The Gador Award, which was two years in the making, was conceived by the CCP’s Kaisa Sa Sining (KSS) program through its Cultural Exchange Department headed by Ms. Carmencita “Chinggay” Jasareno-Bernardo, the Department Manager.
Aside from IPAG and Prof. Fernandez, the other Gador Awardees were Maria Todi of Lake Sebu Cotabato; Nestor Horfilla of Davao City; Agnes Locsin of Davao City; Sunny Noel of Dipolog City; Joey Ayala of Davao City; and Sining Kambayoka of MSU-Marawi. All of them were awarded for their exemplary works in research, development, preservation, education and promotion of arts and culture in Mindanao.
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Gador Awards Ceremony was conducted virtually, and broken up into a series of small ceremonies taking place on different dates and at different locations in Mindanao, with one even conducted in Manila.
The awarding ceremony for IPAG and Prof. Fernandez, which was live streamed, was conducted at Homestay Ilihan in Iligan City on July 7, 2020. A separate ceremony was held the day before for Sining Kambayoka of MSU-Marawi.
The awarding ceremony was attended by guests of the awardees: MSU-IIT Chancellor Sukarno D. Tanggol and Dr. Christine F. Godinez-Ortega, Board Chair of the Mindanao Creative and Cultural Workers Group (MCCWG). Chancellor Tanggol and Dr. Ortega provided the testimonies for both IPAG and Prof. Fernandez. Their pre-recorded messages were played at the ceremony.
THE MSU-IIT Integrated Performing Arts Guild enhanced its growing international reputation with its sixth participation at the Asia-Pacific Bond (APB) of Theatre Schools Festival in Hanoi, Vietnam. IPAG performed Tighod (Tide of Times), a devised piece that narrates the odyssey of creatures born from water.
Besides the performance, IPAG facilitated a workshop on its performance pedagogy and collaborated in a culminating recital piece.
The APB reputedly the dominant organization of elite universities with theatre programs has been the venue where major IPAG works premiered. International acknowledgments have been heaped on Sita: The Ramayana Revisited, The Orpheus Trilogy, Suhi, Uwahig, and Suhi, all produced in as many cities in the Asia-Pacific.
Tighod presents images, actions, and sounds whose representations are non-realistic. The piece well-received in this international premiere imaged the proverbial cycle of mankind’s history. It was conceived by MSU-IIT visual artist Jan Pagarigan and History Assistant Professor Neil Azcuna. Giving life to the piece were Junah Lucasan, faculty at the Department of Physical Education, dancers Jane Allyson Dantes, Psymon Flores, Jacob Togonon, and IPAG Associate Kenn Erwin Velasquez who together with Leilani Fernandez facilitated the choreography. Music was composed by Roy Matthew T. Bongalo and Fitzgerald N. Torralba. Dramaturg is IPAG Director Steven P.C. Fernandez.
The 2019 APB, foreseeing the consequent challenges of a growing conglomerate of performing arts institutions, elected a new set of leaders. IPAG Founder Fernandez was elected to the Board of Advisors while Ateneo de Manila Professor Ricardo Abad took the helm of incoming President, two Filipinos among seven officers. The APB has expanded to a growing network of 27 universities to date since IPAG was invited to join in 2012 upon the nomination of theatre luminary Aubrey Mellor.
This edition opened more opportunities for IPAG to collaborate, projects set up with the State University of San Diego, Chulalongkorn University, and Taipei National University of the Arts. Meanwhile, the Asian League of Institutes of Arts (ALIA) where the MSU-IIT is a charter member has proposed a joint project among other institutes. IPAG is also a member of the International University Theatre Association (IUTA), among others, which holds its world festival in Manila next year.
The IPAG has performed its diverse repertoire in over a hundred cities worldwide.
In the last week of October, IPAG highlights the Dipotsava Festival in Ayodha, Uttar Pradesh, India, with its Sita. Ayodha is the city where King Rama built his royal palace. The various invitations to India and Asia of IPAG’s Ramayana evidence how its version has been well received by the nations where the epic is a heritage. It last performed Sita to critical acclaim at the Mumbai festival in February this year after performing in New Delhi, Kolkata, Bangkok, and Singapore.
THE INTEGRATED Performing Arts Guild (IPAG), resident company of the MSU-Iligan Institute of Technology, joins 25 other major universities in the Asia-Pacific in a Drama Festival in Hanoi, Vietnam from Sept, 23 to 29.
The Asia-Pacific Bond (APB) of Drama Schools is an annual event that gathers some of the more prestigious universities including Chulalongkorn University (Thailand), Shanghai Theatre Academy (China), Victoria College of the Arts (Australia), National School of Drama (India), among others. The Philippines is represented by Ateneo de Manila University and the MSU-IIT. Membership to this exclusive network is through nomination and election. (IPAG was nominated in 2012 in Taipei and accepted in 2013 in Shanghai.) This will be IPAG’s third performance appearance in Vietnam and its second for the APB.
This year’s edition is hosted by the Vietnam International Performance Academy (VIPA).
Besides performances, the week-long APB will also hold workshops and facilitate a directors’ forum where the IPAG will present its pedagogy and production process.
For the Vietnam festival, IPAG showcases a devised production Tighod: Tide of Times using contemporary dance as its medium. The experimental production was written and conceptualized by Asst. Prof. Neil Arkhe P. Azcuna and Jan Christian A. Pagarigan, both alumni of the Department of History. Using elements from Performance and Installation Art, Tighod (ebb and flow) explores man’s inescapable entanglement with history through a bleak and fragmented perspective. Strewn all over the performance are metaphors of audience and performance and references to Art and History’s cyclical diorama in pre-colonial nations.
Tighod is part of the laboratory pieces that reinforce IPAG’s dramaturgy innovating production through contemporary mediums. Dramaturg is Prof. Steven Patrick C. Fernandez and the choreography is by Kenn Erwin A. Velasquez, collaborated with the IPAG Creative Collective.
Tighod celebrates its Philippine Premiere at the MSU-IIT campus in Iligan City in February for the 2020 National Arts Month.
THE INTEGRATED Performing Arts Guild (IPAG), resident company of the MSU-Iligan Institute of Technology (MSU-IIT), announces its offerings for the 42nd Season, August 2019-May 2020.
The widely-acclaimed Tales From Mindanao and Tatlo sa Isa (Three Peoples, One Island) open the Season with road shows at the SM North Skydome on August 19-20 and at the Letran in Calamba, Laguna on August 21.
Tales journeys on more shows this season. This includes a home-based performance at the MSU-IIT gym on September 16-17 and another at the Luce Auditorium in Silliman University in November.
IPAG headlines the collaborative Gintong Alab sa Silangan (Pearl of the Orient Sun), a dance-music suite narrating the growth of the Filipino nation. This five-part piece composed by Steven P.C. Fernandez highlights Forty Years of the Outreach (now Cultural Exchange Department) of the Cultural Center of the Philippines with performances at the Tanghalang Aurelio Tolentino (Little Theater) on October 10 (3 and 7 p.m.) plus out-of-town appearances thereafter.
Sita: The Ramayana Revisited, IPAG’s Ramayana version, performs for another Ramayana Festival, the Dipotsava 2019 in Ayodha, Uttar Pradesh, the very city of the epic’s setting, on Oct. 24-26. Sita has been performed to acclamation in New Delhi, Kolkata, Mumbai, Bangkok, and Singapore.
Deconstructing Greek mythology, IPAG presents a contemporized Orpheus Trilogy narrating of the ascent of the music god to depths of personal rediscovery on October 27-29 at the CASSalida Black Box.
Tighod: Tide of Times premieres at the Asia Pacific Bond Theatre Festival in Hanoi in September. This devised improvisation using movements and non-verbal texts narrates a community’s journey through water. It will have its full run at the MSU-IIT open grounds on February 19 and 20, 2020 to celebrate the National Arts Month.
Wrapping up the Season is the IPAG version of the Oedipus story, Suhi (Breech Birth), how gods rule fate. Reset in Mindanao, Suhi goes onstage on March 18-20, 2020 at the CASSalida Black Box.
IPAG is widely acclaimed for its innovative productions recognized as the most-travelled Philippine repertory company representing the best of Philippine dramaturgy in major festivals around the world.
Besides performances and road tours, IPAG conducts apprenticeships in stagecraft, dance and movement, playwriting, and production. Performances for special events have also been confirmed.