Blazing the flame for vigilance on stage
ESSENCE - Ligaya Rabago-Visaya (The Freeman) - April 4, 2019 - 12:00am

A document or any printed material is vital especially so when it contains information unlocking the next important step or to its eventual realization of its goal. Much more when the information that would carry out the mission should never be revealed. The information, its importance and the secrecy will all be revealed once again in the restaging of the classic stage play Ang Papeles, written by Rudy Aviles, this year's major production of the University of the Philippines Theater Arts Guild for Education (UPSTAGE).  

Forty-three years of its existence, UPSTAGE, the longest running performing group of UP Cebu, has relentlessly educated the academic community and its immediate locale by producing relevant and realistic plays. And for decades, as the artistic director and adviser, I make sure that the students, the alumni, and the community would always look forward to future productions.

After eleven years from its last staging, UPSTAGE will once again recount a story that its significance will resurface—igniting one's love for family and country.

Stage play has always been an art form which is extremely effective in inspiring and uniting communities by engaging audiences through entertaining and thought-provoking performances and dialogues. Through this provocative form of entertainment, awareness on social issues is raised and possible solutions to prevailing problems are sought.

School plays enrich the lives of our students who take an active part in it, as well as those in the school community who benefit from the productions. On either side of the footlights, those involved represent a diversity of age, culture, life experience, and a strong appreciation of the importance of the arts, and so becoming a platform for students to express their thoughts and views on issues affecting them, and the society in general. Reawakening the audience to take a stand, their collective voice remains a potent source for legislators to formulate policies that are beneficial not only for them but for other sectors of the society, much more the marginalized.

Stressing its role as a catalyst for social transformation, stage plays have been a vehicle for the formation of students' values such as love for family, respect, understanding diversity of opinions and thoughts. It also brings about a point of realization when students would critically analyze possible solutions to problems that beset them without any more waiting for others or the government to ask for their participation, and so in the manner developing their proactive involvement bringing about relevant and meaningful ideas and solutions. Such a mechanism for action mobilization is very much manifested especially when plays call for collective actions among the audience.

A forthright personal realization of leading this group is that if only we can guide and lead our young to expressing their thoughts and feelings in order to bring about positive changes then we would be producing future citizens who are selfless by offering themselves to the highest calling in whatever disciplines they may be. And for many years, UPSTAGE has produced, ironically, only few who pursue their passion in the performing arts, but many of them are now leaders in other disciplines. As what Juliano Mer Khamis, the leader of Freedom Theatre in Palestine once said, "We are not producing artists; we are creating leaders in society". 

Join us on April 5, 2019, 4:30 PM and 7:00 PM, at the UP Cebu Performing Arts Hall, Gorordo Avenue, Lahug, Cebu City. Tickets are at P75 with a P25 discount for currently enrolled UP students. For tickets and reservations, contact 0932 611 5207.

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