CCP opens unique festival for oral literature
Orature is coined by Ugundan linguist Pio Zirimu from the phrase oral literature with the aim to put the spoken words at par with—and not inferior to—the written words.
In the Philippines, multi-awarded writer, performer and educator Vim Nadera is taking orature a notch higher by staging Performatura 2015, a festival of “performing oratura” (with oratura as a derivative of orature). It is set from November 6 to 8 at different venues inside the Cultural Center of the Philippines (CCP).
On October 21, Nadera, who serves as festival director, presented Performatura 2015 to members of the media at the CCP and enumerated what Filipino audiences can look forward to.
Among the many activities, one of the highlights is the Epic Center, Coffee & Conversations to be hosted by Lourd de Veyra, Roland Tolentino and Krip Yuson, These “freshly brewed” conversations will feature no less than the country’s National Artists for Literature namely F. Sionil Jose (November 6), Bienvenido Lumbera (November 7), and Cirilo Bautista (November 8). It is set every 4 p.m. at the CCP Café.
The three-day event will also feature daily workshops on balagtasan, speech choir, and ventriloquism. Another must see is the nightly “Park Poetry” featuring poems on love, gender, and protest by Gemino Abad, Jose “Pete” Lacaba, and Joey Ayala, among others.
More than 200 performers are expected to join Performatura 2015, among them are three invited foreign guests. They are Dance artist Chelsea Ainsworth from New York, baritone Anthony Brown from Pennsylvania, and spoken word poet Arianna Pozzuoli from Canada.
“The three international artists have all done work in the Philippines previously,” Nadera, noted. “The participation of our foreign guest artists is in the spirit of intertextuality. We are promoting a global conversation and understanding between and among the text, the text makers [artists], and the audience that unite us as a people.”
Ainsworth, a member of Integrating Art, conducts educational outreach projects across the world including the Philippines through dance performances. A graduate dancer from The Juilliard School, the 27-year-old dance artist believes in the power and potential of the arts to teach life skills.
Brown, on the other hand, is a musician and peace advocate who founded the Peacing It Together Foundation. Through the organization, which aims to be a resource for peace and social justice for the global community, the artist uses music and the spoken word to unite people who have been divided by race, culture and religion.
Lastly, Pozzuoli is also an educator in addition to being a spoken word performer and storyteller. She currently works at the Canadian International School of Singapore as a Drama teacher.
Performatura 2015 is set to culminate on November 8 with a day-long summit of performances by young poets from the Unyon ng mga Manunulat sa Pilipinas (UMPIL), the Linangan sa Imahen, Retorika, at Anyo (LIRA), Romancing Venus, Words Anonymous, Baguio Writers Guild, and the University of the Philippines Writers Club, to name a few.
For his part, Herminio Beltran, CCP Intertextual Division Chief, said that the primary goal of the performing literature festival is to define “intertextuality.”
He said, “We want Performatura to show the journey of our literary heritage and hopefully, inspire the younger generation to create new works, out of the classic ones, in other medium like a beautiful movie perhaps. That’s where intertextuality enters, when literature move to other forms of art.”
He added, “I believe what we really wanted is to tell the world that our literature is never-ending, it is evolving and we are not merely copying. We always re-invent art, and we are never afraid to do so.”
Also launched at the press conference was Performatura’s interactive website. Visit performatura.culturalcenter.gov.ph and see the complete schedule, the performers, and the venue map. It is also recommended that attendees register and reserve tickets online.
Entrance to the festival and its individual performances is free but thy can donate books in exchange of tickets.