State university’s theater company mounts ‘Suhi’
The Integrated Performing Arts Guild (IPAG) of the Mindanao State University-Iligan Institute of Technology (MSU-IIT), with the National Commission for Culture and Arts (NCCA), presents Suhi (Breech Birth).
Opening on August 8 at the MSU-IIT Mini Theater, the play adapts the classic story of Oedipus Tyrannus and transposes it to Mindanao setting where feudal wars and political intrigues occur.
While the setting may be local, the universal theme about the tragic hero and his reversals of fortune is given an urgent and contemporary sense. Suhi jolts its audiences to the disharmonies of our times by exploring dance, non-textual expressions, music and visuals.
“The work ‘transcreates’ the Oedipus story transplanted to a Philippine setting. The classic plot is reworked, weaving through the undulations of political conflicts, personal intrigues and the ever-present lust for power hugging victims caught in these webs of deceit and death,” explains Palanca award-winning playwright Steven Fernandez, who wrote and directed the play and its music.
“Performing meaning through movements, dance, music, chants and visuals, the play grew from a playwriting class exercise. The metaphor of breeched birth is the central image of the play, an image with multiple connotations enhanced by the sets suggesting a woman’s birthing organs and a dark canal of misfortunes and unforeseen circumstances,” Fernandez added.
Suhi drew raves in its world premiere at the 7th UNESCO-ITI Asia Pacific Bureau Festival in Shanghai, China, which ran from May 10 to 17, and where IPAG is the Philippine representative.
The resident theater company of Mindanao State University-Iligan Institute of Technology was founded in 1978 by its present artistic director Steven Fernandez and dance researcher Ligaya Fernando-Amilbangsa.
It is recipient of various national awards and endowments. It is an integrated arts media company producing theatre, dance, music, literature, film, and culture-oriented events and extends services in creative productions and the management of art-oriented events.
IPAG has developed a signature dance theater format based on the pangalay, an indigenous dance form that is the Philippines’ closest claim to classical dance.
With a repertoire of over 40 full-length productions performed in extensive tours here and abroad, IPAG has significantly contributed to Philippine national theater and is recognized as a promient Philippine theater company today.
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