‘Kalimbay’ of the the Sining Kambayoka Ensemble of MSU Marawi. / Photograph courtesy of Sining Kambayoka Ensemble
Two resident theater companies of the Mindanao State University System (MSUS) will perform online at the 27th Iligan National Writers’ Workshop (INWW) which runs on 30 November till 6 December.
For their vibrant and dynamic promotion of culture and arts in the regions, both groups were honored recently by the Cultural Center of the Philippines (CCP) with the Kaisa sa Sining Gador Awards.
It is auspicious, therefore, that the MSUS performing groups lend their prestige to the workshop by performing excerpts of two renowned epics, the Darangen of the Meranaw people and the Sanskrit classic, Ramayana.
One of the oldest theater groups in the country, the Sining Kambayoka Ensemble (SKE) of MSU main campus in Marawi City, Lanao del Sur, is performing Kalimbay.
The performance depicts the indigenous manner of feminine walk, kinikini, of the noble women in Darangen, dressed in their finery, or in the best malong in traditional colors, their hair arranged in the fashion called pinalot that shows, at a glance, if the woman is married or not.
The SKE has performed around the country and abroad promoting the folk lore of the Meranaw. The Meranaws are known as “the people of the lake,” referring to Lake Lanao, one of the country’s deepest and coolest lakes.
In 2005, the 14th century Darangen was listed as one of the Masterpieces of Oral and Intangible Heritage of Humanity by UNESCO Intangible Heritage. The MSU main campus‘ Folklore Division, with grants from the Toyota Foundation, has republished a series of the Darangen in handsome volumes available for sale.
Sita Ramayana Revisited of the Integrated Performing Arts Guild of MSU-IIT. / PhotoGRAPH courtesy of ipag
On the other hand, the MSU-Iligan Institute of Technology (MSU-IIT) resident theater company, the Integrated Performing Arts Guild (IPAG), will perform an indigenized version from the Indian epic, Ramayana, called Sita: Ramayana Revisited, which premiered at the 2015 Asia Pacific Bond Festival in Singapore. This production has been performed to much acclaim in different festivals such as the ASEAN-Indian Summit in New Delhi, India; and the ASEAN Summit in Bangkok, Thailand; and in Kolkata and Mumbai. It highlighted the significant Diwali Festival in Ayodhya, birthplace of the kingdom’s hero, Rama.
MSU-IIT Chancellor Sukarno D. Tanggol welcomes INWW participants of four international writing fellows from Thailand, Myanmar, Malaysia and India; three senior writing fellows; 12 regular writing fellows and 11 panelists including two from abroad.
This writer, who’s also the workshop director, opens the workshop with a reminder on a writer’s freedom and professionalism and creativity as human resource that opens many doors.
On 1 December, National Artist for Literature F. Sionil Jose delivers his keynote lecture to workshop participants.
INWW opens on 30 November via Zoom and ends on 6 December.
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