THEATER and drama may not anymore be considered “cool” by the younger generation, but Teatro Tomasino continues to uphold the theater tradition in UST. The theater company in fact is marking its 30th anniversary this year with the theme, “Teatro Tomasino at 30: Celebrating the Grace of Excellence, Striving for a Higher Quest, and Fulfilling the Dream.”

“It is a special accomplishment for Teatro Tomasino to achieve 30 years of producing outstanding plays and molding thespians,” Teatro Tomasino president Niña Belle Gavan told the Varsitarian.

It was in March 1977 when Professor Myrna Hilario, along with 25 other students, formed a group that sought to hone the stage and acting talents of young people.

As a new organization, Teatro Tomasino encountered the usual birth pangs of any new theater group.

“The group’s workplace used to be in a ‘pigeon hall’ inside the Office of Student Affairs in the Main Building,” said Jose Victor Torres, an award-winning playwright and historian and now one of the advisers of the Teatro Tomasino.

The company later transferred to the Albertus Magnus building. During its first productions, Teatro Tomasino used to perform in the Albertus Magnus (Education) Auditorium. Since then, Teatro has performed in other venues on campus, such as the High School Auditorium. Outside of UST, Teatro has performed at the Metropolitan Theater and in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.

Later, during the rectorship of Fr. Roland de la Rosa, OP (1991-1998), Teatro was housed at the back of the UST Grandstand. It was later moved behind the Central Seminary.

It is now housed at the Tan Yan Kee Building.

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“Receiving our own office was a great improvement, because before we always have to worry about our storage place,” Torres said.

But the company still has to worry about where to stage its productions.

“Reserving a place where Teatro Tomasino could perform inside the University is still a hassle,” said Torres. “It’s always been my dream as an adviser of Teatro Tomasino to have our own theatre venue.”

Curtain raisers

The past three decades has seen Teatro Tomasino mounting 105 productions. Its first production was Orlando Nadres’ “Ang Awit Na Hindi Matapos-tapos,” which was directed by Maryo J. Delos Reyes, who was just then emerging as a film director of note. The play is a tragicomedy about two goddesses controlling the fate of men.

During Teatro Tomasino’s second year, stage director and film comedian Soxy Topacio directed Nonilon Queaño’s “Ang Magsasaka,” which had won the second prize in the Cultural Center of the Philippines Play Writing Contest. The story tells about the repressive life of a family living in a farm.

In 1987, on its 10th anniversary, Teatro Tomasino witnessed its most prolific year as it staged five productions in one season. The productions included “Lamat” by Joey Reyes, the twin-bill production “Dalawa: Hoy Bata Huwag Diyan” by Luna Cathoy, “Sitio” by Torres, and “Batang Pro” by Bienvenido Noriega.

“Since Teatro Tomasino had a large number of members in 1987, we were able to produce five plays in one season,” Torres said.

More recent productions included the two one-act productions, Buy 1 Take 1, which featured Walang Kawala and Lipad Narda, Lipad, directed by Martin Gertes and Tanya Alda, respectively.

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Walang Kawala was a production based on Rogelio Sicat’s Tagalog adaptation of No Exit, the existentialist play by French philosopher Jean Paul Sartre, while Lipad, Narda, Lipad was about a young Darna komiks fanatic.

Last year, Teatro Tomasino staged another twin-bill production called Pasakalye, about unrequited love and mixed motives. Trabaho Soliloquies, written by Ned Trespeces and directed by Gervin Paulo Macion, was about four job applicants vying for a managerial position, while Kuwan, directed by Zoelle Cate Damag and written by Rodolfo Lana, was about a gay who falls in love with his best friend, a female.

Aside from productions, Teatro Tomasino has also organized theater seminars and workshops, handled mostly by the leading lights of the Philippines Education Theater Association and by Spanky Manikan from the Cultural Center of the Philippines.

“The point of the organization has always been geared towards producing quality plays written by well-known playwrights also,” said Torres.

Stellar cast

Teatro Tomasino has produced well-known thespians and artists in the country.

Several early members went into broadcasting such as Louie Andrada, who is the business unit head of The Buzz and Home Boy, Roxy Liquigan, who is a Star Cinema executive, Rams David, who is production manager of Pasan Ko ang Daigdig, the new GMA soap opera, and Buboy Favor, who is the executive producer of SIS.

Multi-awarded actor and matinee idol Piolo Pascual is also a Teatro Tomasino alumnus.

For its anniversary, Teatro Tomasino will mount its history exhibit, Sept. 25 to 28, and hold a grand alumni homecoming event.

“While most of our alumni could barely keep in touch with Teatro Tomasino, due to their busy work schedules, they make it a point to attend the events organized by the theater guild,” Gavan said.

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With Torres, John Lapuz and Marc Eric Reyes as their advisers, Teatro Tomasino aims to scale greater heights.

“Our aim for this anniversary is to surpass what the past batches have achieved,” Gavan said. S. R. P. Medenilla and M. A. F. Mon


    • teka, pakitanong mo na lng kay JVic Torres kung bakit ganun pagkakatawag nya dun para mas maliwanagan ka…hindi naman pwede iimbento yung quote e, konting common sense ha


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