USA Little Theater Joins EU Virtual Festival

Emy Rose G. Gallego

Thriving amid the pandemic, the University of San Agustin Little Theater (USALT) was selected as the first and only group from Western Visayas to participate in Teatro Europa, a virtual theater festival by the European Union (EU) Delegation to the Philippines, August to September 2021.

Sixteen theater companies around the country showcased European plays, with the USALT performing the Polish theater play “Śnieg” (Snow) by Stanisław Przybyszewski last August 14.

“At the start of the pandemic, live theater has been closed to the public. But performing in the midst of the pandemic goes to say that the show must go on. Likewise, art has always been a creature of its own time I guess we were able to maneuver the tides of the new normal and come up with our own forms not only to become alive, not only to survive but more importantly to thrive,” said USALT Director Eric Divinagracia.

As the USALT shifted from stage to screen, Divinagracia talked about the company’s journey of transferring a show to a virtual scene.

“What you actually miss is the live action and reaction between actor and audience,” shared Divinagracia.

“It’s just a matter of changing your perspective and embracing your platform and your form so that you can always transform your performance to affect your audience.”

To bring the 1903 piece up to date, the theater group integrated contemporary elements into the play.

“We did a lot of discussions and meetings. We further discussed on how we adopt this play into modern and into our own Like LT [Little Theater] touch. So, we decided to make the play into something modern and a little bit localized. You can see that we used a lot of Hiligaynon jargons,” said Performance Coordinator Anthea Dulfo.

Renz Isaiah Inquit, USALT’s Project Lead emphasized the friendship between the Philippines and the EU through the featured plays: “Theater is very important diplomatic tool because we get to share ideas, different cultural perspective between the Philippines and different European Countries. We learned Poland through the making of Snow and at the same way we try to incorporate a touch of Filipino values, settings, [and] nuances into the Polish play.”

A series of webinars with prominent theatre directors was also held during the Teatro Europa season to explore the connections between Philippine Theater and European Theater.

“As the online world is brought to theater, this event wants to introduce diverse European stages into the Filipino stages,” said Ambassador of the French Republic to the Philippines Michele Boccoz on the event’s Press Conference.

USALT’S Snow full video performance can be streamed on Teatro Europa’s official Facebook Page.

Published: April 25, 2022