Undersecretary of Education Tony Umali who has watched the theater piece has commended Director Tañada for his non-faltering advocacy in making use of theater as catalyst for social change, and development.
The Philippine Stagers Foundation (PSF) was founded in 2001 by multi-awarded actor, playwright, and director Atty. Vince Tañada. The company has come a long way since then, coming out with musical theater hits one after another, some of which included Mactan 1521, O’ Moises, Desaparecidos, A Filipino Musicale, Ako Si Ninoy, Cory Ng EDSA, #popepular, Joe A Filipino Rock’sical, Bonifacio, Isang Sarswela, Filipinas 1941, Katips, Ang Mga Bagong Katipunero, etc.
All these enjoyed full booking and long-running engagements in Metro Manila and in key cities and provinces nationwide.
On this note, Director Tanada announced: “The PSF is now showing its 34th musical theater offering in Metro Manila billed Supremo Redux, a postmodern re-imagination inspired by the company’s past production of the zarzuela version of Andres Bonifacio’s life.”
Postmodern? How is that? He disclosed: ” It is staged beyond the convention and aesthetics of traditional production in the way of a meta-theater, and the re-reading or re-imagining of Bonifacio’s life onstage was ubiquitously crafted at catching the flipping sensibilities of the millennials.”
One understands why Director Tañada has disclosed to the entertainment press that the musical on hand which he wrote, directed, and acted in was the most challenging, if not compelling thus far in his entire artistic career as a compleat performing artist.
In hindsight, he said, “The mix of post-structural elements of hyper-realism and liminalities of the seemingly chaotic and beyond the shopworn concept of appropriating multi-media approach in theater, albeit not ends in themselves, will stir up allegedly the short attention span of his target audience, in particular the millennials and their predecessors as well.”
Director Tañada added: “This recent musical theater will add up to PSF’s estimated total number of viewing public nationwide to around six million so far, a feat hardly replicated by any theater companies in Metro Manila.”
Thus, it can be said that the multi-awarded actor, singer, and playwright locally and abroad, Vince Tañada has come a long way since then with his touted politically-correct re-interpretation of some controversial historical blunders in Philippine history. Referring to one of PSF’s musical theaters, Broadway maven Lea Salonga once tweeted: “When the Aliw Awards recognizes a musical on Martial Law for Best Original Musical, that’s when you realize the arts is here to transform.”
The PSF is now showing its 34th musical theater offering in Metro Manila with move-over engagements in key cities and provinces nationwide billed Supremo Redux, written, acted upon, and directed by Tañada himself. A post-modern re-imagination of the past zarzuela version on Andres Bonifacio, said musical adds up to the total estimate of the unbeatable six million spectators PSF has on record behind their past productions so far.
In Supremo Redux, one is shocked with the simultaneous convergence of multiple art onstage and the various platforms of social media. This is inspired by the avant-garde movement, and the kind of theater by Brecht and Artaud that broke the so-called fourth wall. It showed how the director challenged himself to come up with versions of historical certainties in amazing sensorial delights, albeit they are not ends in themselves.
In this magnificent oeuvre, Tañada opposed headlong the traditional aesthetics that is most upsetting to the obscurant formalists, the pedagogues and teachers born to the linear and the representational kind of theater.
The director showed visually in his inter-related surfaces the fictional super-hero in the mould of Marvel being worshippped by the young boy on his tablet as point-of-view who gives fleeting attention to the historical accounts of his father who has perished unheralded in line of duty in Marawi.
The unlinearity of the pastiche elements and tweakings of Tañada, however, raised more questions than answers. Thus, even today the issue as to whether Bonifacio is a greater revolutionary than Aguinaldo continues to be debated hotly upon. In the musical, the plawright does not make a conclusive stand to his fragments of stories as truth is fluid and hyper-real in postmodernistic terms.
The playwright merely allows the child to keep on verifying truth for himself through his gaming behavior including his own take on the heroism of Bonifacio at least for the present time and perhaps even way past the age of millennials.
In the direction, it is important for teachers and their millennial students to watch the musical theater approached in meta-theater ways as aid in understanding the possibilities of new forms and structures inherent in postmodernism as a phenomenon and how it demolishes conventions that has affected to greater extent the mode of thinking and philosophy of the 21st century humans.
This with long-range implication in the re-education of the miseducated sector of Philippine society including the millennials who are far removed from their own version of local history in ferreting out the truth behind the historical blunders committed by interest groups largely against the lives of our national heroes.