Tuesday, July 16, 2024

Rediscover Filipino Identity in CCP’s Out-of-the-Box Series: Ganito Na Kami Noon, Paano Na Ngayon?

Rediscover Filipino Identity in CCP’s Out-of-the-Box Series: Ganito Na Kami Noon, Paano Na Ngayon?

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A new play mines the works of three National Artists as it examines Filipino identity through the years.

This July 5 to 7, the Cultural Center of the Philippines presents the second edition of the Out-Of-The-Box Series, kicking off with Ganito Na Kami Noon, Paano Na Ngayon?, a full-length play written by Jose Victor Torres and directed by CCP Artistic Director Dennis N. Marasigan. Tanghalang Pilipino Actors Company will bring to life the different characters.

For the opening salvo of the series, Torres interweaves the works of National Artists Alejandro Roces, F. Sionil Jose, and Eddie Romero, who all celebrate their birth centenaries this year. He drew elements from Roces’ “We Filipinos Are Mild Drinkers,” a story focusing on Filipino drinking habits, and Jose’s Po-on, part of the Rosales Saga novels depicting a tenant family’s flight from Spanish oppression in Ilocos to Pangasinan, and Romero’s Ganito Kami Noon, Paano Kayo Ngayon. 

Referencing these works while reshaping them, the playwright has crafted an out-of-the-box production that re-imagines the journey of Kulas, the central character in Romero’s 1976 film, against the backdrop of overlapping Spanish and American occupations and the Hukbalahap movement.

SEARCHING FOR IDENTITY

At first glance, these three works tell different stories, written in distinct styles. On closer examination, they share a timeline and central theme, exploring and questioning the Filipino identity.

“What defines a Filipino? If we are saying we are all Filipinos, why are we fighting each other in the name of the Philippines?” said Marasigan.

For Torres, the play examines identity from various angles. “Through this production, we bring the concept of identity beyond the usual context – accepting our identity as Filipinos in different scenarios. When discussing heroism, we often focus on the Katipunan and the Philippine Revolution. But what about the American war, the Hukbalahap movement? No matter how we condemn them as communists, they are still Filipino,” said Torres.

Rather than using prominent figures like Bonifacio, Mabini, Rizal to discuss the Katipunan and the revolution, the play employs relatable characters drawn from the works of Jose, Roces, and Romero to paint a holistic picture and examine historical accounts.

STAGING UNCONVENTIONAL WORKS

Through its unconventional programming, the CCP Out-Of-The-Box Series  for 2024 aims to shine a light on National Artists and reintroduce their works to new generations of audiences.

Marasigan hopes the play will ignite curiosity and spark a genuine interest in the works of Philippine National Artists.

“We often hear the names of National Artists mentioned at events, yet many are unfamiliar with their works, their contributions, and why they received the highest honors given to Filipino artists. As the CCP Cine Icons screens cinematic masterpieces by our National Artists, the OOTB Series aims to highlight other National Artists and their works,” Marasigan emphasized.

Catch the CCP Out-of-the-Box Series: Ganito Kami Noon, Paano Na Ngayon? on July 5 at 7pm, July 6 and July 7 at 3pm, at the Tanghalang Ignacio B. Gimenez (CCP Blackbox Theater), located at the CCP Complex along Roxas Boulevard, Pasay City. Tickets are priced at ₱1500.

For the latest updates on the CCP Out-of-the-Box Series and CCP shows, follow the official CCP social media accounts on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, TikTok, and YouTube.