By Anna Valmero Inquirer.net The transience of the live theater makes it special and unique. Watching a two-and-a half hour stage performance of ‘Ibong Adarna’ at the AFP Theater is an invigorating experience to the senses as actors portray live the triumphs and tribulations of each character, bringing flesh and blood to the story. All of us are required to read Francisco Baltazar’s ‘korrido’, as it was one of the required readings in the secondary level. Back then, I thumbed back and forth from one chapter of the book to the glossary and back, to work my way with the archaic Filipino ‘korrido’ verses. As I look back, I wished I had watched this kind of performance then. Luckily, I sat with thousands of high schools to watch the play last October 5. Though I knew how the story would go, I sat expectantly from the start until the show ended. In terms of the technicalities, I would say the performers, stage crew and the director of the play did a good job. While remaining faithful to the material, the play has injected modern elements to appeal to the young audience. Effective tool With over thirty years in the industry, the foundation started as Bulwagang Gantimpala at the Cultural Center of the Philippines. “We focus on the educational role that live theater provides to our audience,” said Tony Espejo, founding president and artistic director of Gantimpala Theater Foundation. “We also emphasize the values inherent in the stories such as love for country, honesty, truth and justice.” Understanding the theater is a good tool to inform, entertain and educate, the Gantimpala Theater Foundation has been producing curriculum-oriented plays to supplement teaching of secondary level literature. “The ‘Ibong Adarna’ play has been performed for over 15 years and has been proven to cater to the young and the old alike,” said play director Roobak Valle, proving the universality of the theater as medium for expression. Valle added that as part of the group’s commitment to honor artistic legacies, the dance sequences in the play pay tribute to the late National Artisr for Dance Ramon Obusan. In this generation hooked up with the Internet and television often for leisure, taking a trip to the theater is a good way for this generation to appreciate these classics that are part of our heritage. Think about transporting back in time to watch things unedited — no reshoots, no line editing, no CGI effects — only performance at its finest. That’s how classic entertainment is.
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