Theater Can Help Alleviate Social Problems
WHILE I was on sick leave in May, an important event took place in Manila of which I was unaware until recently when I happened to meet Cecile Guidote Alvarez at the DFA Philippines/American Friendship exhibit.
As president of the Philippines Centre of the International Theater Institute, which operates under UNESCO, she organized the 31st International Theater Institute World Congress which was held in Manila May 22 to May 28, with cooperative help from the NCCA, DepEd and the DFA. Manila Mayor Atienza acted as host. President Arroyo tendered a dinner for the delegates. UNESCO Director-General Koichiro Matsuura was present and addressed the delegates - who, with their performers, came from 80 countries.
The theme of the congress, the first to be held in Asia, was "From Ancestral Roots to new Artistic Routes of Expression: Mobilizing Cultural Diversity to achieve the UN Millennium Development goals.'' In addition to the government agencies involved, help for the Congress was provided by the venues held at the Manila Hotel, the Cultural Center of the Philippines, WOW Intramuros and the Emilio Aguinaldo College.
The congress affirmed the relation between theater and life by highlighting the potential of the performing arts for achieving social change. Social intervention theater illustrated that theater can be an instrument for alleviating universal social problems and making a contribution to the United Nations Millennium Development Goals, especially in relation to extreme poverty.
To acquaint the guests from abroad with Philippine culture, Cecile Alvarez presented a play, which she directed and was based on a story by Anding Roces, called "Something to Crow About'' which introduced delegates to such common aspects of Philippine life as music, singing and cockfighting. …