The Possibilities and Problems of Entanglement in Contemporary Manila Theater: Pista as Model, Rizal X as Exemplar

Sir Anril P. Tiatco


In this essay, entanglement is proposed as a conceptual idiom for the understanding of contemporary Manila theater where pista (fiesta) is used as model and Rizal X as example. Contemporary Manila theater via Rizal X is argued to be part of an intricate entanglement: representations, shared histories, relationships and genres, which are all activated during a pista. Rizal X is used as an example because it strategically puts entanglement in an affirmative position. More specifically, Rizal X is treated as a microcosm of the pista because it has entangled representations, histories, relationships, and genres in the same way that the pista performs such entanglement. Nonetheless, the idea of entanglement often carries a negative connotation. Despite the promise of entanglement as a possible idiom towards the identification of an ontology of contemporary Manila theater, entanglement has its own limitations, especially since many artists unintentionally overuse entanglement (i.e., pastiche, fragments) in their theater. Because of such complication, there is a tendency for theater works to unintentionally editorialize their chosen subjects. In conducting a close reading of Rizal X, it is envisioned to illustrate the limitations of entanglement as a discursive concept for the understanding of contemporary Manila theater.

Keywords: Theater and the city, theatre studies, Dulaang UP, Jose Rizal, contemporary performance practice, social drama

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ISSN: 2012-0788