The Truth Is Told By This Local Community Theater in Fairview, Quezon City
Gari Sy Rivera | December 05, 2019
Photos by the author
The theater has always been taught and expressed as a reflection of reality, and with Teatro Dayaw’s production of monologues based on stories true to life, Tulog Na Ba Ang Mga Bata? (Are the Kids Asleep Yet?) does just that.
Staged as a Filipino bedroom where audience members can sit on the ground and feel homey at Café Haraya in Fairview, Quezon City, Tulog Na Ba Ang Mga Bata? had it’s opening night on 1 December 2019. The anthology of theatrical pieces were stories about events and issues that Filipinos have experienced and struggled with throughout time, even today. Matters such as depression, relationships, the stigma against sexually transmitted diseases, Martial Law, and even the lives of farmers were the focus of the different narratives, the subjects that keep people up at night.
“Nagtanong, nag-survey, nalaman, nag-kuwento.” (“Asked, surveyed, discovered, and told.”)
Inspired by the social media trend of asking if the kids online are asleep yet as an introduction or disclaimer before expressing funny, emotional or sensitive topics and issues, the community theater based in Fairview, Quezon City reached out to different Filipinos, asking them what exactly hinders them to rest at night to tell these stories through theater.
“Noong mga bata tayo, takot tayo sa mga halimaw sa ilalim ng kama. Ngayon, yung halimaw na yun, iba na siya pagtanda natin. Iba na yung monsters under our beds, more on nasa mga isip na natin ay ang current events,” expresses Director and Writer Kristine De Leon, who shares that the production wanted to depict these stories as accurate and authentic as they can based on their research, “gusto namin reality.” (When we were kids, we were scared of the monsters under our beds. Now, the monsters are different, our minds are more occupied on current events. We want to show reality”)
“Teatro yung magiging instrument mo para malaman yung katotohanan.”
“Theater kasi is always truth-seeking. ‘Yun yung role niya, magbigay ng mensahe at magkwento,” she adds, “Ang teatro, mapagpalaya. Dapat hindi siya censored kasi dapat katotohanan ang pinapakita,” says Kristine, highlighting the role of theater in society, a medium that shakes the audiences up to realization and discovery, just as art does. “Andami nang theaters spaces ngayon na ‘yun yung message, puro truth. Kagaya ng ibang art, ‘di ba?” (“Theater is always truth-seeking. That’s its role, to tell stories and impart messages. Theater frees people, it shouldn’t be censored because you should show what’s real. Many theater spaces use truth as their message, just like other forms of art.)
As eye-opening as their platform is, the Teatro Dayaw artists here have widened the audiences’ eyes as well in awe of their performance. These performers were mostly of the youth, from their youngest member being twelve years old to the oldest being in their early twenties. Proud of these young members’ passion, Kristine shares how the theater company’s advocacy to “empower the youth through theater” is something they have and continually strive to achieve.
“Sobrang totoo pala pag may heart ka.”
“Ito na yung takbuhan nila. Andaming nangyari na sobrang touching, kikita mo na yung LGBTQ+ na bata matanggap ng tatay niya after performance, kiniss niya. Mayroon dito nag-come out, mga ganun. Nagiging safe place nila yung theater, and ‘yun yung bawi samin kahit volunteers kami,” she says, sharing of how the expensive artform is supported by those who find purpose in the theater, “As in ano siya, puso lang. Sabi ng isa kong direktor na nagco-community theater rin sa Marikina, “puso lang lagi yung puhunan.”” (“This is where they run to, a lot of touching moments have happened here. An LGBTQ+ kid would be accepted by their dad after performing, they’d kiss, someone even came out here. The theater became their safe place, and that’s what’s rewarding for us even as volunteers. It’s just heart, one director who does community theater in Marikina once said: “the heart is the investment.”)
[related: The First Lady of Philippine Theaters]
With a burning passion for the performing arts, the Aliw Awards 2019 Nominee Teatro Dayaw encouragers audiences to support the arts, and not be afraid to talk about pressing matters. “Actually ironic siya, “tulog na ba ang mga bata” kasi kailangan mo nang gumising. We want na magising ang mga tao sa mga nangyayari sa Pilipinas, specifically sa Pilipinas kasi gets, mahal lang ng mahal sa bansa.” (“It’s actually ironic, “are the kids asleep yet” because they need to wake up. We want people to wake up to what’s happening in the Philippines, specifically here because we need to just keep loving our country.”)
Catch Tulog Na Ba Ang Mga Bata’s upcoming shows on December 7, 8, 14 and 15, 5pm and 8pm! For more information, visit Teatro Dayaw’s Facebook page here. #TNBMgaBata
[ALSO READ: How the Art of Spoken Word Is Shaping Culture Today]