By Bryan Edulzura
In Manila recently I saw “Charot!”, a riot of a theater production of the Philippine Educational Theater Association (Peta) on Federalism. I never thought a stage play can be so much fun yet educational and entertaining than listening to politicians who hardly understand the dynamics and strength of Federalism that is hardly passed on to the local constituents.
But Peta’s Charot here does not necessarily mean “just kidding” when translated in English. “Charot” we all know is a verbal invention as a gayspeak that adds color in this already colorful world.
“Charot” here means charter of togetherness and it becomes a theater experience not to be missed-at least for us from Butuan who had lost the magic of theater because theater artists supposed -to be come and passed so quickly-“we need to earn money first!” as they proclaimed.
And that is why community theater in Butuan is dead.
Just too bad considering Butuan was once been known as a “theater society” where artists from all over once came here and held the Mindanao theater Festival or Harvest of Mindanaon plays in the mid-80s.
We can only wish “Charot!” will be brought here in Butuan and Caraga Region so that the general public and elected officials can understand the essence and spirit of Federalism as it may indeed bring us to a better life. Besides, “Charot!” is intelligent and unforgettable entertainment that we all need and a refreshing change.
But while theater in Butuan has become a vanished history, it should be known that it has its share of golden years or decade. The Butuan musical, “Lawig Balanghai” started it all. After its production and tours, a community of theater artists and cultural workers sprouted.
Independent but lesser productions came with other ventures like “Trapo!”, an anti-traditional political musical written by Ramon Jorge Sarabosing and directed by the late Melvin Lamanilao and toured in Caraga. It has several remountings and retitled “Trapohan!” directed by Titing Trinquite.
All the cast had fun remembering it because even at rehearsals, tickled them. One of the cast who is in her forties now says “Trapo” was fun and thought-provoking. It’s time we bring back good theater with a meaningful difference.
Maybe civil societies and the academe can help resurrect this wonderful campaign with fun, laughters and truth.
Photo courtesy of whats happening ph