By Ramon Jorge Sarabosing
I have to admit this, my skin crawled as I watched the entry of Butuan City School of Arts and Trade (BCSAT) at the Indak Balangay street-dancing showdown at the festival center of this year’s 30th Balangay Festival.
The entry won the grand prize and rightly so because the performance scintillates on stage with its solid performers and powerful story-telling.
Truly a cut above the rest. It was even made more dramatic with its haunting music aided with good lighting. At seven minutes-the required entry piece-the performance glued the attention of all. A real creative harvest and the rest of the world should see it.
The entry was mounted and directed by Mae Oclarit, a young stage actress, musician and director who was once was the lead female character of the third mounting of the musical “Lawig Balanghai” performed in Manila few years ago.
“It took me nearly a month to mount it and honestly I found the cast weak so I challenged myself to transform them to sensitive performers,” shares Oclarit, who is a full time private office employee.
Assisting her are “Lawig” alumni, musician Dondon Villasica, Ray Sajulga and Richard Ferrer, a versatile movement actor.
Richard Belar, director-general of Balangay Festival who learned it was Oclarit and her team who handled it sent an FB message to her the day after the contest, “Happy for you, we need women directors and you prove your worth.”
Oclarit surely did having learned the ropes from Belar himself who was her director and mentor in the “Lawig” days. Her exposure and participation in Mindanaoan theater propelled her loyalty and fondness to indigenous expressions.
The BCSAT contingent beats 11 others with their transparent discipline and professional-like performance. The stag seem like a familiar playground: light yet serious and compelling.
In the end the winning piece is a jewel and the city is its recipient, shimmering into our cultural consciousness, a legacy to us all.
Oclarit and her team did a terrific job.
Photos courtesy of Mae Oclarit