Home Arts & Leisure Turning the spotlight backstage

Turning the spotlight backstage

PERFORMANCES scheduled to be held at the Cultural Center of the Philippines (CCP) from March 16, 2020 to Oct. 2021 had to be postponed, canceled, or rescheduled because of the coronavirus pandemic. This displaced a significant number of artists, theater workers and technicians, carpenters, painters, and seamstresses.

While live shows were on hold, the CCP’s theater crew were reassigned to an intensive maintenance program, with some doing research and skills development, as well as designing and fabricating implements needed for their work.

The situation was captured in a short film documentary titled Backstage Pass: Life Behind the Curtains.

Produced in cooperation with Southern Lantern Studios and Daluyong Studios, the 30-minute short feature documentary on the theater crew’s backstage work is directed by award-winning indie filmmaker Joseph Mangat.

“My production team and I were clueless of the amount of work that goes in preparing the theater. Seeing firsthand the dedication and the skills of the theater crew was amazing. I was blown away by the way they work as a team and how in sync they are with one another. What I saw was like a performance and I wanted to showcase this in the documentary,” director Joseph Mangat told BusinessWorld in an e-mail.

The film highlights the back-of-house activities of the CCP theater crew in the lights, fly, and stage areas. It features veteran crew members who share their unique backstage stories, from when they were training until growing dedicated to their work. It also covers the theater crew’s tasks before production ingress, such as the rigging and focusing of lights, installing color filters, and rigging backdrops.

“Our intention was to create a cinematic documentary, a film that captures the artistry in their work and that would frame the theater crew at center stage. We wanted the work they did to be seen with as much care and thoughtfulness, similar to how one would watch a dance or stage performance. Our hope that the audience appreciates the beauty and the craft of what goes on at the backstage,” he said.

According to CCP Production and Exhibition Department head Ariel Yonzon, the CCP intends to make more short documentaries featuring other aspects of backstage work such as costumes, drafting, set construction, props, and front of house.

Backstage Pass: Life Behind the Curtains can be viewed at CCP’s Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/culturalcenterofthephilippines/videos/392815808986710. Michelle Anne P. Soliman