THE PHILIPPINE Educational Theater Association (PETA) is devoting its 51st season to shows that tackle the current state of the nation: the extrajudicial killings, the rise of trolls and fake news, and historical revisionism, among other topics.
The “Stage of the Nation” season, which runs until June 2019, will feature three returning shows and one new musical.
PETA will also share the stage with other organizations which have the same vision.
These informative and timely productions are part of PETA’s mission because “theater is a platform for important social issues,” said PETA executive director Beng Santos-Cabangon during a Sept. 21 press conference announcing the new season’s offerings.
“When there are important matters that are happening around us, every day is an opportunity for us to reach out and to dialogue with people using our arts and to make people more sensitive on what’s happening. It’s not exactly telling them ‘Do this. Vote for this. Make this decision.’ Rather, it’s giving them space for critical reflection… So many things are happening that we should be talking about. It’s crucial at this time to be out and be counted,” she said.
Returning to the PETA stage are its productions of Ang Buhay ni Galileo (Sept. 28 to Oct. 7), A Game of Trolls (Oct. 13, 14, 20, 21), and Tagu-Taguan Nasaan ang Buwan (Nov. 14-29).
Starring Joel Lamangan, Ang Buhay ni Galileo tells the life of the scientist Galileo Galilei. The rerun is a timely reflection on what it means to pursue the truth despite persecution. Performances will be at PETA’s theater — last year it was staged at PETA’s old stage in Fort Santiago. (READ: PETA’s Ang Buhay ni Galileo
Meanwhile, A Game of Trolls combines music and humor as it tackles false heroes, fake news, and disinformation. (READ: Trolling the Trolls
Tagu-Taguan Nasaan ang Buwan is a children’s musical about a young boy who goes on an adventure where he finds the power of imagination, courage, and friendship. The play took the Outstanding Original Libretto prize at the 10th Gawad Buhay Philstage Awards for Performing Arts.
PETA will also play host to shows by other producers which also tackle the state of the nation.
One of them is Trumperte, a satire featuring comic Jon Santos who will impersonate a number of political personalities. As the name implies, a chunk of the show will satirize Presidents Donald Trump and Rodrigo Duterte, with Mr. Santos going on stage as “Ronald McDonald Trump” and “Pangulong DuThirty.” He will be making fun of Mocha Uson, Bong Go, and other characters while his iconic interpretations of Erap Estrada, Imelda Marcos, and Vilma Santos, will, of course, also appear on stage.
Trumperte will have performances on Oct. 26 and 27.
The season continues in 2019 with Charot, a PETA original, which will have performances from Feb. 1 to March 17. Slang for “just kidding,” Charot imagines Philippine society under federalism while tackling its consequences.
PETA will also run a Human Rights Film Festival, with screenings on Feb. 27, March 6, 13, and 20. To be shown are films by Chito Roño, Chuck Escasa, and many more.
Meanwhile, in partnership with Third World Improv, PETA presents the Manila Improv Fest on March 27-31. The shows will include live and unscripted performances from improvisational performers from all over the world.
On April 27, Words Anonymous will celebrate its anniversary with a show that features spoken word poetry about human rights, mental health, LGBTQ issues, women’s empowerment, the plight of the farmers, and other social issues.
The “Stage of the Nation” will end with the rerun of Dulaang UP’s production of Kundiman Party on May 24-26, 31, June 1 and 2. This is a bittersweet comedy about how a group of Titas of Manila choose to deal with the society we live in.
Part of this party is a reunion concert of Buklod — the 1980s progressive musical group composed of Noel Cabangon, Rom Dongeto, and Rene Boncocan, who popularized songs like “Tatsulok,” “Kanlungan,” and “Pagbabagong Nagbabago.”
Tickets to the PETA performances are available on — Nickky Faustine P. de Guzman