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Communities of ImaginationContemporary Southeast Asian Theatres$
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Catherine Diamond

Print publication date: 2012

Print ISBN-13: 9780824835842

Published to Hawaii Scholarship Online: November 2016

DOI: 10.21313/hawaii/9780824835842.001.0001

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The Philippine Theatre’s Quest for a Hero(ine)

The Philippine Theatre’s Quest for a Hero(ine)

(p.215) Chapter 7 The Philippine Theatre’s Quest for a Hero(ine)
Communities of Imagination

Catherine Diamond

University of Hawai'i Press

This chapter discusses how Philippine theatre does not follow a typical postcolonial model in which dramatists must choose between an indigenous but antiquated tradition and a modern but foreign implantation. The absence of a precolonial court tradition is a major reason why Western theatre scholars have taken little interest in the Philippines' unique developments. Nicanor Tiongson, former director of the Cultural Center of the Philippines (CCP), dismissed the compliment that Filipino actors are so versatile that they can perform all over the world; instead, he admitted to envying Indonesian performers. Everything the Indonesians came in contact with became identifiably their own, in contrast to the chameleon mutability of the Philippine performer. This talent for mimicry was a dilemma for Filipino actors, whose lack of a distinct national character stemmed from the culture's lack of an indigenous core tradition.

Keywords:   Philippine theatre, Filipino actors, Nicanor Tiongson, indigenous core tradition, Indonesian performers, chameleon mutability

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