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Performatura 2017: Celebrating Literature and Performance

Photo by KATHLEEN MAE I. GUERRERO
Photo by KATHLEEN MAE I. GUERRERO

CULTURAL SHOWS, spoken word poetry, storytelling sessions, and literary exhibits collaborated to satisfy the audience’s appetite for the arts in Performatura 2017: Sa Loob at Labas ng Bayan kong Sawi from March 31 to April 2 at the Cultural Center of the Philippines (CCP).

The Flame brings you a recap of some of the things you might have missed on the three-day festivity:

1. Poetry Is Our Second Language

Expressing one’s feelings is never an easy task, but the PSL (Poetry is our Second Language) Collective, a Toronto-based organization of Filipino-Canadian poets and writers, demonstrated that poetry can also serve as therapy. The event, which gave poetry the center stage, served as a seminar and a workshop, and included activities such as block poetry and free writing sessions.

“Like any form of art, it (poetry) comes from struggle,” said Loisa Francia, a PSL Collective member. Poetry, Francia said, can become an outlet or a form of expression that allows writers to get to know themselves better, especially during times of hardship and self-doubt.

2. Readathon: Dramatic reading of plays by Women Playwrights International

Women Playwrights International shed light on the significant effects of Martial Law and the EDSA Revolution on the Filipino nation with two dramatic readings titled Princess Lili and Duyan ka ng Magiting.

During an open forum, the performers stated that to this day, people still need to “continue reading and learning about our country’s history and do everything in (their) power to avoid those moments in history from happening again.” The directors also stressed that our nation is a strong and powerful one and we must continue to fight for it in the generations to come.

3. Breaking out in Bukanegan

Photo by KATHLEEN MAE I. GUERRERO
Photo by KATHLEEN MAE I. GUERRERO

GUMIL Filipinas, also known as the Ilocano Writers Association of the Philippines, magnified the significance of artful debate through the enduring Ilocano tongue. Dressed in barongs, the Bukanegan was performed by Ilocano writers Elise Contillo, Vilmer Viloria, and Remy Albano to showcase the mechanics of the traditional discussion.

The Ilocano form of oration via poetic devices pays homage to the Father of Ilocano literature, Pedro Bukaneg. The Bukanegan reverberated Ilocano roots and attracted young and old writers by using a timeless language to express opinions and establish advocacies in the society. Various Ilocanos travelled all the way to CCP to explore the counterpart of the Tagalogs’ Balagtasan.

4. Elegy 5: Wake by Nerisa Del Carmen Guevera

Photo by KATHLEEN MAE I. GUERRERO
Photo by KATHLEEN MAE I. GUERRERO

People were guided by the sweet chirping of birds to Thomasian artist and esteemed Faculty of Arts and Letters professor Nerisa Guevera’s intriguing four-hour performance at the CCP Atrium.

Barefoot and clad in white, she stepped outside while clutching a rattan bag containing bird feed. The audience watched her inside an enclosure where platforms were placed on all four sides. She ambled through the space, stopping at each flank for a brief moment of thought. At the center of the space, bird feed formed a perfect mount. Above the knoll of bird feed, a cut of glass was suspended in the air by wires. Later on, she carefully combed through the mound and lay on the surface as if she was contemplating on the sky.

The audience also took part in her performance as she placed bird feed in their palms and pushed it against their chest. Another part of the performance involved the audience who took turns in outlining the bodies of spectators and artists against the glass dividers of the venue.

Her solemn performance explored distinct emotions of grief, love, lost and yearning. Through the performance, a bond was created among the audience and the artist by letting them explore the impressions of an elegy.

5. Forum on Rights of Young Writers

Photo by JANINE C. PEREA
Photo by JANINE C. PEREA

On the last day of Performatura, writers sat in a forum and discussed their rights when it comes to the autonomy in their works. Engr. Luwin dela Concha, operations management officer of the Intellectual Property Office of the Philippines, said that “copyright exists at the moment of creation.”

Also tackled in the forum are different issues such as fan fiction, contest piece and unauthorized biography. Atty. Nick Pichay, a lawyer and a playwright, discussed the repercussions of these matters. He said that contest pieces are under the copyright of the author; fan fictions are allowed although the original publisher or the author carries the copyright; and unauthorized biographies are subject to libel.

Manix Abrera and Adam David, who are known in the field of writing and arts, highlighted the importance of being clever when signing a contract, “Bago ka pumirma ng kontrata, pag hindi mo maintindihan, ipa-explain mo talaga sa kanila hanggang ma-gets mo,” he advised.

Festival director and Thomasian Vim Nadera highlighted the importance of knowing one’s rights as a writer: “[B]ilang awtor, hindi dapat tayo nahihiya na kumita sa pagiging malikhain.” He also added that copyright is the essential protection of the writers to distinguish their works from the others. F AARON THOMAS L. DE GUIA, ALISHA DANIELLE M. GREGORIO and JULIENNE MAUI C. MANGAWANG

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