UP Diliman holds Sarsuwela Festival, Feb 4-27

Theater groups such as Dulaang UP (left) and UP Visayas Alumni Alumni Theatre Company (right) will participate in the 2009 Sarsuwela Festival.

The zarzuela or sarsuwela is a musical theater form that has its origins from Spain. It flourished in the Philippines from the late nineteenth century to the 1920s. The sarsuwela is a play with prose dialogue, songs and dances, usually featuring a love story between characters of different social classes.

The Sarsuwela Festival 2009 will take place from February 4 to 27 at UP Diliman.It is organized by the University of the Philippines Diliman through its College of Artsand Letters and the Office of Initiatives for Culture and the Arts.

This month-long event will mount performances of sarsuwela productions such as Paglipas ng Dilim (by UE Drama Company, February 4-6), Walang Sugat (by Barasoain Kalinangan Foundation, Inc., February 11-13), Sa Bunganga ng Pating (by FEU Art Theatre Clinique, February 18-20), Ang Kiri (by Dulaang UP, February 25-27), and Iloilo Zarsuela Padayon Ang Istorya (by the UP Visayas Alumni Alumni Theatre Company, February 23-24).

There will also be film screenings of movies based on sarswela themes from the 1930s to the '70s such as Giliw Ko (February 18) Tunay na Ina (February 19), Maalaala Mo Kaya (February 25) and Stardoom (February 26). Performances will be at 6 p.m. at the University Theater while film screenings will take place at 10 am and 2 pm at the UP Film Institute.

Tickets to performances are pegged at P75 while film screenings are at P50.

The festival will also hold an exhibition billed Zarzuela Sarsuwela (opens February 11, UP Vargas Museum) which seeks to replicate the sarsuwela culture of the turn of the 20th century, allowing the viewer to situate him-or herself in the social milieu of the time through sound, image and performance. The festival also schedules the very first national conference focusing on the many elements of the sarswela from February 25-27. It includes a lecture-series in the form of tertulias for students by foremost sarsuwela scholars (February 13, 20, 27).

Through all these components, Sarsuwela Festival 2009 aspires to provide a comprehensive understanding and a deepen sense of appreciation of the sarsuwela, a traditional theater form that has been in existence in the country for more than 100 years and which, though not popular today, continues to be performed in selected regions of the nation. The festival also hopes to generate a heightened enthusiasm and sustained commitment among theater practitioners, scholars, students and the general public to bestow the necessary attention and the commitment that the sarsuwela deserves.

The festival will also hold other significant events and activities. It opens with a highly educational and interactive opening parade on February 4 at 2 pm at the UP Academic Oval in Diliman. It will also hold a sarsuwela writing competition; conduct research to encourage more scholars and students to continue and further the existing data on the sarsuwela; and create instructional materials on the sarsuwela.

For inquires or ticket reservations, email sarsuwelafestival2009@gmail.com, visit http://kal.upd.edu.ph/sarsuwela/ or call Tel. Nos. 928-7508 and 981-8500 loc. 2105.






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