compiled by Geejay Arriola and Victoria Paz Cruz
Tongue In A Mood,a contemporary Pilipino theater company is based in San Francisco, California. Its original intent was to create a sketch comedy group similar to 'Saturday Night Live' Filipino style. Founder Allan Manalo says "We aimed for cheap laughs, poking fun at the idiosyncrasies of our Pilipino American culture". Eventually, through theatrical experimentation, tiAm's satirical sensibilities grew sharper, more calculated, and focused. Over time various Pilipino American artists gravitated to the group, contributing their own voice, ideas, and talents giving shape to an original, irreverent performance style. They began to create works that borrowed from the various artistic disciplines of music, movement, acrobatics, and shadow puppetrystill wrapped in a shroud of humorous satire and continuously exploring the denied darkness of Filipino consciousness. tiAm's performances challenge the audience by dispelling myths surrounding the Pilipino community. This group will continue to present original, irreverent, and imaginative theater and will push to expose truth with a hope to create works that will transcend color lines and any novelty of its own cultural makeup.
Some of Tongue In A Mood's past productions include:
Tsismis, their first full length theatrical show mounted at Bindlestiff Studio on Sept. 1997; The Kalat Show, a variety show featured Mr. Kalat and the birth of Bobby Banduria (Feb. 1998); Bomba was a piece about sex from a Filipino American perspective (June 1998); Damo was about the coming of the end of the world staged as a euphoric marijuana high (July 1999); and Hotbalut, staged at the huge Yerba Buena Center for the Arts Forum in San Francisco, played to a packed house (April 2000).
Bindlestiff Studio, located on Sixth Street, an infamous section of San Francisco's South of Market Area (SOMA) and known for its crackheads and drug dealers, has been dubbed as "an epicenter of Filipino American performing arts." Many Filipino families live in the alley houses in this neighborhood. The space is home to Tongue In A Mood theatre company.
In 1994, Kularts began presenting other Pilipino and Asian American performing artists in an effort to create performing opportunities for Pilipino American artists in professional venues with high production value; nurture contemporary Pilipino American artists and play an active role in taking them to a new level of professionalism and visibility; broaden audience and cultivate audience loyalty to each participating organization; bring together eclectic and diverse groups of contemporary artists; and increase the visibility of contemporary Pilipino American art in the press and to the general public.
In 1998, a consortium of Pilipino American contemporary artists joined the international events commemorating the centennial anniversary of the end of Spanish rule in the Philippines. Consortium members were Wilma Consul, Allan Manalo, Joyce Manalo, Alleluia Panis, Sony Ley and Pearl Ubungen. The Post Modern American Pilipino Performance Project (POMO) was created to focus, highlight, promote, and elevate American Pilipino post-modern aesthetics.
Maritess Zurbano is a Manhattan magician who now performs all over the world as a sleight-of-hand artist. Chicago-born Maritess is the only one of Filipino descent among 450 women members of the Society of American Magicians, and she has to hurdle both gender and ethnic stereotyping "to make the glass ceiling disappear".
Ma-yi Theatre Company
Cited as "the most preeminent Filipino American Theatre", the company, headed by playwright Ralph Peña, is based in the heart of Theatre USAThe Big Apple, New York City. Most of its current shows border on Asian American themes but Ma-yi is distinctively a theatre out to prove that the Filipino performing artist competes with the best of them. The theatre company has received citations and grants for sustainability of its artform as well as for the consistent quality of works it has presented. Its most current theatrical foray is in cabaret theatre with "THIS END UP (A User's Manual for Lovers of Asians)".
Filipino Folk Arts Theatre, Inc.
Based in Dallas, Texas, FFATI has towered over most Asian American performing groups in the city and simultaneously reaches out to audiences through its public-access television show and various workshops for children. The artistic direction of the company is provided by Zonia Velasco, coloratura, choreographer and dance artist.
Audiences at the annual International Theatre Festival in Barcelona, Venezuela handed FFATI standing ovations for its dance theatre performances. FFATI has combined storytelling with its choreographic works, transforming the Bayanihan-inspired Maranao Suite into a Scherazade tale accompanied by live kulintang sounds and chantings.
Pintig Cultural Group
Protest Theatre of the early 80s is the underlying current that sustains the works of PINTIG. A serious proponent of PETA's vision, the company's thrust is geared towards educating audiences in the history of oppression and colonization suffered by Filipinos during its colonial days under Spain and the United States. The company has produced its share of centennial/ historical works in Chicago, Illinois and has traveled annually with its productions to various cities in the Mid-West of the United States, and has performed as far north as Toronto, Canada.
Rondalla of Boston
The school itself has logged in more than 25 years of pushing its language and heritage curricula to first generation Filipino Americans in the Greater Boston area. Based in Bedford Massachusetts, IP's rondalla is one of many programs sustaining its existence and keeps students returning to the school.
The band is under the tutelage of Michael Dadap, classical guitarist, who persevered in the formation of the band by traveling the distance from Manhattan to Bedford during weekends. The group's reputation is affirmed during this summer's invitation to perform at a United Nations' affair in the prestigious headquarters in New York City. IP Rondalla has its counterpart in the West Coastgraduates of the Bedford school, an alumni group aptly named IP West Coast, headed by Cristi-Ann Castro. The rondalla was begun during the tenure of IP's founder, Cris Castro.
Friends of the Performing Artist
Founded by Remy Cabacungan in 1994, with artistic direction provided by Remé Grefalda, the company began as a facilitator for performing groups, providing casting, conceptual and technical assistance in the Washington DC area. Most of its productions flourished during the Philippine centennial celebration with plays depicting historical themes (30 December 1896; Hacienda: the musical and In the Matter of Willie Grayson). QBd has evolved into a community theatre group dealing with Filipino American issues and has expanded its audience through public access television. Its current production is Where Peace Begins, a wake-up call theatre piece on the Sept. 11 aftermath, written by playwright Yolanda Palis.
Dulaang Talyer Arts Foundation (DTAF)
Dulaang Talyer Arts Foundation is currently the Philippines' most exciting and prolific avante garde theatre group specializing in "collaborative pieces that are rooted in the day to day realities of the Pinoy." Its works include the controversial and exciting Bilog (photo above), Speaking in Tongues,Candido,and Tres Obras. It just finished performing Isang Buhay sa Tambakan, a biting comedy-musical by National Artist for Theater/Literature Rolando S. Tinio.
DTAF performs original and revived Filipino works and adaptations of world classics. It also produces video and audio-visual productions. Its important video works include Joseph Pe's Mata which won 3rd place at the CCP's Gawad Para sa Alternatibong Pelikula, and Karga Mano, a full-length digital video movie written by Nick Pichay.
PETA (Philippine Educational Theatre Association)
PETA is one of the oldest theatre organizations in the Philippines which has developed a multitude of theatre artists proud to be "PETA-trained." PETA currently has "70+ active members who thrive on the spirit of kapatiran (sister/brotherhood/solidarity)." While its work is largely educational theatre and cultural development work in the grassroots, PETA's services and expertise have expanded towards broadcast and advertising media. It has produced film directors, writers, and actors of prestige and repute. It also boasts of a dramaturgy and an artistry that is its own that pundits call "Tradisyong PETA" or "tatak PETA."
In its nearly four decades of existence, PETA has produced plays too many to mention. The group's current home is at Rajah Sulayman Theater in Fort Santiago, Intramuros, Manila; PETA will finally be building its own theatre space.
Anino Shadow Play Collective http://makiling.com/aninoshadowplaycollective/
Anino Shadow Play Collective has mounted productions, usually of collaborative nature, with individual artists and groups such as Robert Alejandro, Joey Ayala, Myra Beltran, Alfonso "Coke" Bolipata, Noel Cabangon, Grace Nono, Beth Parocha-Doctolero, Razorback, Wolfgang, and Makiling Ensemble, Dulaang Talyer, Metro Manila Community Orchestra (MMCO), Musical Theater Philippines, Pangkat Malaya, and Philippine High School for the Arts.
Anino also produces works for video in collaboration with film and educational institutions. It participated in the 1st International Festival of Shadow Theatre in Greece (2001) and in the Chin Chuan Arts Festival in Taiwan (1998).
Sining Kambayoka Ensemble (SKE)
The Sining Kambayoka Ensemble (SKE) is the oldest existing theatre group in Mindanao, popular nationwide for its distinct theatre form, the Kambayoka which is based on the Maranao bayok and darangen, traditional storytelling forms.
Based in Maranao country's Marawi State University, SKE is composed of Muslim (particularly Maranao) and Christian artists. The group utilizes Maranao artistic traditions to promote cultural heritage and solidarity among Filipino Muslims and Christians.
Kambayoka is famous nationwide for Halik sa Kampilan, the most widely-performed play in Mindanao, if not in the entire Philippines. Other notable productions include Mga Kuwentong Maranao, and Pilandok.
Kaliwat Theatre Collective
Kaliwat Theatre Collective is one of the Philippines' leading theater institutions. Based in Davao City, Kaliwat was founded in 1988 by five members of the Mindanao Community Theatre Network (MCTN) led by Mindanao theater guru Nestor Horfilla. Since then, Kaliwat has become a training ground for Mindanao theatre artists.
Kaliwat creates original plays and other performances based on Mindanaoan people's stories and cultural traditions. The heart of its existence, however, lies in its extensive cultural action work in grassroots communities. Its work includes: cultural research, natural resource management, environmental awareness programs, advocacy campaigns, tours and productions, gender in development programs, stress de-briefing for "children of war," and children's creativity and rights programs.
Its most notable productions are: Lemafeu sa Habagatan 1992, Siak sa Duha ka Damgo 1992, Ground Up 1993, Oya Arakan 1994, and Mindasilang 1999.
Mebuyan Peace Project
Mebuyan Peace Project (MPP) is perhaps the only all-women storytelling group in the Philippines which utilizes music, theatre and dance for peace and healing work. The storytellers are based in Davao City, in Mindanao where peace is a perennial search. The group is composed of 16 women music, theatre, and dance artists. They can be found doing peaceweaving workshops, conducting rituals for special events, and performing once every six weeks at Taboan, Matina Town Square.
While still a fledgling group, members of MPP each have had many years in music and theatre work. Members come from Mindanao's leading theatre and music groups: Kaliwat Theatre Collective, Kulturang Atin Foundation, Inc., Kathara Dance Theater Collective, Sining Kambayoka Ensemble, EDCADS, Sining Kabpapagariya Ensemble, Kariala Etniko, and Seventh Heaven.
Integrated Performing Arts Guild (IPAG)
Founded in 1978 by Steven P.C. Fernandez and Ligaya Fernando-Amilbangsa, IPAG is the resident company of the MSU-Iligan Institute of Technology. Its signature dance theater form is based on the pangalay, a Tausug dance. Through the years, it has expanded its artistic tradition to include the dance forms of the Higaonon, particularly, the dugso.
IPAG has a repertoire of over 40 full-length productions which have toured the Philippines and abroad.
Its most important works include How the Women of Joaquin Met Lawanen, Datu Matu, Buhay, Pag-ibig at Kamatayan: Mga Kwentong Mindanao, and Ranaw: Isang Alamat.