Last February 14, 2017, Mariano Marcos State University collaborated with the National Commission for Culture and the Arts (NCCA) in giving life and color to the one of Ilocos Norte’s pride and patriots- General Antonio Luna through a spectacular theater performance titled Taga-Ilog: Heneral Luna.
The theater play featured homegrown talents from the university. Among the roster of these talented artists is Sam Cadiente from the College of Teacher Education (CTE) who plays the title role. According to him, he was more than proud playing General Luna. Furthermore, he shared that there were struggles that he encountered during the preparations for the said play, “I always practice in our house despite the fact that a lot of our neighbors are starting to get irritated. When they call for practice, I would always urge myself to go since every rehearsal would feel incomplete without me. For the trailer, we started on December 27 but for the full production, we started four weeks before this actual performance.”
The play was initiated by the Guidance Counselor of the College of Arts and Sciences (CAS), Mr. Rodel Reyes. He confessed that this was a project that took two years in the making. “If I’m not mistaken, it was May of 2014 when the project was started when I called a certain group of artists in CAS. The group of that time is Miriam E. Pascua (former President of the University together with the Assistant Secretary of DOST. They gathered the group. The first idea is for teachers together with the student but given the situation that we have, it was decided that the play will only feature students. So after that, we have a continuous communication unitl they signed the MOA on September 8, 2016 and I told them there is a problem with the transition that we have June to August and they give us the extension of the project. Then finally, it has been launched today.”
Director Edward Perez from the Artists Incorporated of the Research Training Institute was one of the persons who helped Mr. Rodel Reyes in the success of conducting the play. Furthermore, Mr. Reyes stressed that the primary purpose of this theater play is to revive and celebrate the memory of Antonio Luna’s 150th Birthday which falls every 29th of October.
The show was visited by one of the representatives of the NCCA, Jason Septimo. He shared that it was actually the National Committee of Dramatic Arts that chose MMSU as the venue to stage the play. The admission of the play was free since it was funded by the government, “We would like to reach out to more students and more Ilocanos, so they would know the story of General Antonio Luna,” Septimo added.
The theatrical production was under developed and organized by the musical director of the show, Ms. Maybelline Sta. Maria from CTE. She was proud enough to share that the songs used in the play were original compositions and that the students were helpful since they were all interested and inclined to music. Overall, she was satisfied with the performance of the students during the first run, “For amateurs like them? Definitely? I can see that we still have a lot of things to work on especially the props. Hopefully if there is a sustainable budget then we can instantly improve and change things.”
The show ended flawlessly as people applauded with appreciation. Evaluation forms were distributed after the play asking the audience to rate the theatrical production in terms of the venue, props, performance and other aspects. The theatrical production is rumored to continue in UP Los Baños this March. MMSU has once again proven that it isn’t only home of globally-competitive individuals, but also it is home to countless talented students.
DISCLAIMER: ALL PHOTOS WERE TAKEN BY CHARMAINE PAGUIO (c)