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2015 » The Philippines » Section of Countries and Regions

Institution:Music Theater Foundation Philippine, Inc. / Philippine-Prague Quadrennial Working Organization

Politics: Tagpograpiya (Stage Design) Revealed

The Philippine Pavilion in PQ'15 will not be as heart-warming and festive as the one at PQ'11. The succession of natural disasters that struck the Philippines in 2013 once again turned my motherland into a calamitous geographical hotspot in the Pacific Ring of Fire, causing severe damage to and, in some cases, the destruction of several of our historical churches – special spaces for performances of our social and spiritual, as well as other vital community activities.

Yet the Filipino people have leaned to be resilient throughout this environmental destruction. We have moved on with our lives despite the severe loss to our heritage, corruption in government, threats of war in the Southern Philippines, illiteracy and poverty. Strong in our religious culture, we learned to salvage what little was left in the ruins, and moved on for survival. These images of devastation, repeatedly broadcast on television, were represented in live stage performances and event spaces. Even political protests in the streets were carried out creatively, dotted with effigies and masks bringing out the talent and resourcefulness of the participants.

What you will see from the Philippines in PQ'15, therefore, are the different masks by artists and artisans throughout our scattered islands – all hand-made and driven by immense creativity and dedication. These masks incorporate symbols derived from our distinct traditions for the purpose of theatrical performances.

These works encompass design and space, expressing a range of emotions from anger, to axiety, to happiness.

But the essence of stage design is to reveal what lies behind these masks. The mask in Philippine stage design is the Tagpgrapiya of our soul – tagpograpiya revealed.

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