I watched a Dulaang UP play a few months ago entitled Teatro Porvenir. Here’s what I have to say about it…
Teatro Porvenir was instrumental to fueling the fire of revolution to fight against the Spanish colonizers. The theatre was created with the intention of furthering one another’s proficiencies, an example of which being the frequent rehearsing to better themselves as actors not just for themselves, but for the whole group. Aurelio Tolentino, the playwright, who also served as the mentor to the actors in the theatre, helped maintain a high level of quality of theatrical performances, and gave advice to Andres Bonifacio about the formation of the KKK Tolentino’s mentorship, coupled with the values of Macario Sakay, the theatre’s main comedian of sorts and of Andres Bonifacio, helped form a strong foundation for the Katipunan. The Teatro instilled a sense of brotherhood, bravery and love for country in its members, which had a great impact in their every performance, and later on in shaping the Katipunan.
Our classroom scenarios resemble the atmosphere of Aurelio Tolentino’s Teatro Porvenir because the communication in both the classroom and the Teatro is a two-way street. Everyone had a chance to speak up, provoking the thoughts of the others around them and empowering them to share their thoughts with the rest of the crowd. In the Teatro, they tried to help each other out with their acting and various other things, like when Andres Bonifacio gave Emilio Jacinto his two cents with regards to acting, or when Aurelio Tolentino gave sage-like advice to Bonifacio. They helped improve each other and consequently, the group. In our class, a similar situation occurs every meeting; the professor tries to engage us to the lesson through a myriad of activities which not only help us further our understanding of the lesson, but also of our classmates and ourselves. We are also given the freedom to speak our minds pertaining to the various subjects discussed during class, which results in healthy, value-adding discussions. Although there are some instances that get us uncomfortable (e.g., being forced to speak in front with the rest of the class staring at you), they’re activities that get us out of our comfort zone and really get their message bored into our heads. Like how the Teatro seems like your typical theatre on the outside but is actually a platform for revolution, our class might seem like a class about public speaking in a nutshell but it is actually much more than that.
I believe that we could have our very own Teatro Porvenir through the classes in the University. The reason why the Teatro was admirable was because the members of the Teatro accepted that they were going to have a mutual learning experience – no single person was going to do all the teaching or the learning. If we embrace our classes in UP as a two-way channel, both the professor and the students will be able to contribute to the lesson and might be able to pick up a thing or two. Also, the Teatro was a match that ignited the fire of revolution within people like Bonifacio. Similarly, the classroom could be used as a vehicle to instill fresh thoughts into the minds of the students – and possibly the professor that will help us deal with problems of many kinds. Like Teatro Porvenir wasn’t solely about theatre, if we open up our minds to learning not only a myriad of concepts but also a myriad of life lessons, the classroom will become an environment that is conducive for many forms of learning.