Nic Feliciano and Bryan Palac in “Ensayo (Rehearsal)” by Juan Ekis.

Bindlestiff presents ‘Tagalog 2019,’ one-act plays with live English subtitles   

WITH the Filipino American community gaining greater exposure in spite of ongoing challenges, Bindlestiff Studio — the only black-box theater in the nation dedicated to showcasing Pilipino/Pilipino-American performing arts — is proud to present the mainstage production of “Tagalog 2019,” a collection of one-act plays written and performed in Tagalog, with live English translation creatively woven throughout the evening.   The production opened last October 17 and will run until November 2, 2019.

Bindlestiff Studio is the primary performing arts venue of the SOMA Pilipinas Cultural District.

“The same moment we were producing the first ‘Tagalog’ was when the community was galvanizing to establish SOMA Pilipinas,” said Lorna Velasco, co-producer and former Bindlestiff Artistic Director.  “Bern Sy of Bayanihan Community Center and many community leaders have been fighting for over 15 years to have a Filipino Heritage District, as a way to fight the onslaught of displacement and gentrification that has been happening in the South of Market since the 1990’s after the first dot com boom.  To have ‘Tagalog’ at Bindlestiff in the heart of SOMA Pilipinas, year after year, is our way of saying, ‘We are still here. And we aren’t going anywhere.’”

Three stories of love, human experiences and friendship

Three new playwrights from the prestigious Virgin Labfest of the Cultural Center of the Philippines will make their U.S. debut in the heart of the SOMA Pilipinas Cultural District:

Ensayo (Rehearsal)” by Juan Ekis. Lolo (grandpa) Peds anxiously waits for his acting partner, Lola (grandma) Tisha. As the amateur actors work through a scene for the first time in their lives, they discover that they are in for a little more than just a rehearsal. (Directed by Joe Cascasan.)

Faye Lacanilao, Russelle Anne and Nix Guirre in “Labor Room” by Ma. Cecilia Maki Culvera de la Rosa.

Labor Room” by Ma. Cecilia Maki Culvera de la Rosa. Three women meet in a busy delivery room. As expectant mothers come and go, they build a short and sweet friendship. Amid want, loss, and grim possibilities, these women give birth to hope. (Directed by Aureen Almario and Laura Priscilla Paule.)

Kathlyn Cabrera, Sunshine Roque and JC Quimpo in “Bata sa Selda 43 (The Kids in Cell 43)” by Rolin Migyuel Cadallo Obina.

Mga Bata sa Selda 43 (The Kids In Cell 43)” by Rolin Migyuel Cadallo Obina. Philip and his younger brother, Ino, are playful children from the slums, who were kidnapped by aliens…so they thought. But their dreams of escaping to reunite with their mother shatter when they meet Ed. (Directed by A. Samson Manalo.)

“Tagalog 2019” features Akiko Aspillaga, Kathlyn Cabrera, Nic Feliciano, Nix Guirre, Faye Lacanilao, Russelle Anne, Bryan Palac, JC Quimpo, Sunshine Roque, and Tina Shauf-Bajar.

Kathlyn Cabrera and Sunshine Roque in “Bata sa Selda 43 (The Kids in Cell 43)” by Rolin Migyuel Cadallo Obina. Photos by Robert Suguitan

“A production like Tagalog in today’s world is absolutely necessary to welcome home those who once felt embarrassed or alienated because of our native tongue or accents,” actress, Nic Feliciano explains the show’s personal resonance.

“But probably above all, it’s clear that globalization is here. If we can find a way to bridge the gap between here and home, I think we can start to imagine a world where we can share the talents we learned here to benefit the home we left as well. Tagalog is a great start towards that or at least a good reminder of why that’s important.”

Catch the last week of “Tagalog 2019” at Bindlestiff Studio, 185 Sixth Street, San Francisco until November 2, Thursday to Saturday at 8 p.m.  Tickets are $20 (general) and $15 (students) and are available online: https://tagalog2019.bpt.me.

*”Tagalog 2019” is sponsored by the SF Arts Commission and SF Grants for the Arts.

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