How does one go about using theatrical plays as a tool for evangelization? Harvest stories from “within” says a playwright-priest during the concurrent break out sessions of the 3rd National Media Convention’s Day 2 held in Lahug, Cebu’s Betania Retreat House last August 15, 2017.
“Everyone has a story to tell, kaya nga ‘Storya ta’!” says Archdiocese of Cebu’s Social Communications Ministry Director Msgr. Agustin V. Ancajas, PC, pertaining to the Convention’s theme in line with his talk Reviving Community Theatre For Evangelization.
He taught everyone how to revive theatrical plays as a tool for evangelization through his own experiences in setting up Il Signore Theatre Company, a theatre organization in Cebu. He focused on the nuances of acting–the simple details that can heighten one’s experience of watching a play–that can be achieved by the actor whenever he or she taps into his or her inner self.
“Cry without crying,” he emphasized, “instead let your audience continue to do the crying for you.”
He reminded participants to let lose what is inside them so as to begin to tell our stories relevant to the Gospel.
“A good actor provides his audience an opportunity to experience the profound in a play,” he added. “A good play, having a good script, and spirtually-rooted, treats its audience to an experience that is deep and profound.”
Thus, he also reminded those present that a playwright should be open to critiquing and be willing to go through the process of developing the script for a very good play.
He then gave a crash course on the basics of becoming a playwright, on how to come up with a good story and script, and on direct one’s own play. He also focused on the different elements of a play, such as the actors, the director, the stage, and the audience. He emphasized the importance of a good plot, a good character, a good playwright, and a discerning director for the success of the play.
“Let us develop an audience that has a deep love for intimate plays–where the nuances of acting–where they are swept by the very emotions conveyed by the actor’s subtle gestures,” he urged.
In addition, Msgr. Ancajas gave a bird’s eyeview of how plays began in the Country from the time of the Spanish occupation to how it rose to be one of the most popular forms of entertainment and until its demise.
He turned tables during his talk when he asked the participants to come up with a monologue and to have a fellow participant present it on stage during the talk”s workshop. He gently critiqued the participants on how to develop the delivery of their lines on stage.
“We are all story tellers. Storya ta!” He ended.
The 3rd National Media Convention, hosted this year by the Archdiocese of Cebu, is an annual event spearheaded by the Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines Episcopal Commission on Social Communications. (~Glenn Velasco)