By Evo Joel Contrivida
“Though Philippine culture and values can be read and seen in various history books, the theatrical presentations in songs and dances made it more understandable and exciting for the millennials’ attention span deficit.”
THE Philippine Stagers, Foundation (PSF), is truly celebrating with pride. As of today, the musical #Popeular has mounted 535 shows in a span of nine months, a record made by the said theater company. Indeed, it is the most successful play in their 15 years of existence, since it has reached a wider market nationwide. So far, PSF had produced 30 original Filipino musicals and 50 plays. The record was announced during PSF’s 15th year anniversary celebration held recently at Dusit Hotel in Makati City. PSF Founder and Artistic Director Vince Tañada declared that #Popepular was even staged in Mindanao were majority of the population were Muslims. He shared that he was even given a friendship shawl by some Muslim viewers in Ozamis City for doing the play in their soil.
Tanada emphasized that it was his aggressive marketing team who made #Popepular a well-travelled production of his company. Plus, it has the charm of Catholic Pope Francis in a very inspiring “what if” plot in an all Filipino style musical.
Aside from the success of #Popepular, PSF was also able to fill up Araneta Coliseum last year for a special concert. This served as a kick off for their founding anniversary celebration. The concert also happened in the same venue two years ago.
As they enter their 15th season, PSF already announced their newest production called Katips: Mga Bagong Katipunero. Katips is the newest revolutionary-inspired play set in the dark days of Martial Law declaration. Tanada said it’s their obligation to educate and inform youth of today of history and the lessons that we should learn from them.
“PSF is very consistent and loyal to the objective of utilizing theatre arts as a medium for education. All produced plays centered on educating the audience about Filipino culture, history and values. The audience had a better understanding of the controversy of Bonifacio’s murder, the retraction of Rizal in Dapitan, the real events during the Bataan death march, the effects of Ninoy’s assassination to people and economy during that era, and so on,” explained by Atty. Tañada. . At the moment, PSF is now focus on their annual summer theater festival that includes free workshops for acting, writing and directing stage plays. This is where they usually select upcoming members of the group to be part of their next productions. “We will continue our programs but to a higher level objective, not just to educate but to inspire, to change lives and possibly to transform this society through the arts.” Tañada said in closing. Among those who joined PSF at the celebration are ABS-CBN young actor Jerome Ponce, a past Stagers, beauty queen and actress Liza Dinio, who became part of PSF in many productions sent a video message of greetings, and Singkuwento Film Festival Director Perry Escano, who led the alumni of PSF in a night of fun reminiscing the crystal years of PSF. As a backgrounder, Tanada disclosed to us that he did pass the audition of Miss Saigon in Manila way back 1994, but he refused to join the cast for Germany staging, due to his scheduled study as a law student in San Beda College and because it is his parents will.