Theatre director and doctoral student Dennis G. Gupa won the 2017 $10,000 Ada Slaight Drama in Education Award by the Young People’s Theatre for his work on climate change. (Facebook)
Updated:November 1,2018, 6:00 AM
Multi-media perfomance in Vancouver on October 30
By Ted Alcuitas
A Filipino doctoral student in theatre at the University of Victoria is presenting his applied theatre project in three Canadian cities before ending in the Philippines.
Dennis G. Gupa’s multi-media production – ‘Murupuro’/ The Islands of Constellation will be presented on Tuesday, October 30 at CBC’s Atrium Studio in Vancouver.
His doctoral project centers on Philippine sea ritual, knowledge of the locals and indigenous practice of human sustenance within the incursion of climate change and colonization.
Organized by contemporary dance artist Alvin Erasga of Co. ERASGA, ’Maruporo’ is Gupa’s work-in-progress where he collaborates with artists from Manila, University of Victoria and the Bayanihan Centre, also in Victoria.
This theatre presentation explores pre-colonial cultural practices related to the environment and weather changes, particularly typhoons [such as forecasting by priestesses].
Artist-collaborators include Jon Lazam, Marie Angelica Day and Francis Matheu.
‘Muruporo’ will travel to Winnipeg from November 2-3, 2018 at the Prairie Exchange Theatre. The event is sponsored by ANAK and Migrante Manitoba.
It will have its final show in the Philippines next year on February, July and August 2019.
Gupa, who won last year’s $10,000 Ada Slaight Drama in Education Award by the Young People’s Theatre for his work on climate change.
He realizes that “pursuing doctoral work in applied theatre focused on this subject would be a necessary step not only for me to understand the effects of climate change on my home country, but also to make a contribution toward global climate justice.”
About Dennis Gupa
The storms that emanated from the oceans of the Pacific are the current metaphor and image that form Dennis’s academic inquiry and creative exploration on climate change, environmental destruction and indigenous ways of knowing.
As a theatre director, his theatrical works investigate human-ocean relationship, the onslaught of modernity to indigenous culture, and the history of human struggles and oppression to post-colonial societies.
These theatrical projects are contemporary renditions of Western dramatic texts of Aristophanes, Euripides, August Strindberg, Frank Wedekind, John Millington Synge and George Orwell as well as works of Filipino writers like Jose Rizal and Aurelio Tolentino.
He rendered his theatre works with contemporary use of multimedia and intercultural aesthetics, which were performed in The Philippines, USA, Canada, Indonesia, Malaysia and Cambodia.
He received his MA Theatre degree from University of the Philippines under the guidance of Josefina Estrella, Anton Juan, Tony Mabesa, Jina Umali, Belen Calingacion and Apo Chua.
In 2015, he finished his MFA Directing (Theatre) from University of British Columbia where he presented his thesis The Bacchae 2.1 by Charles Mee through the mentorship of Stephen Malloy.
During his time at UBC he also worked with Stephen Malloy and Tom Scholte.
He studied seni tari (traditional mask dance) at Sekolah Tenggi Seni Indonesia as a Dharmasiswa scholar of the Ministry of Education and Culture of the Government of Indonesia and for his final creative project he was mentored by Mas Rachman Sabur.
For ten years, he served as an assistant professor of theatre arts at the University of the Philippines Los Baños.
He was a theatre grantee of Asian Cultural Council in 2011 where he worked and observed contemporary theatre works in New York City for six months and was director in residence for Ma-Yi Theatre Co.
The Performance Studies international (PSi) awarded him the 2016 Dwight Conqueergood Award. Currently he is a PhD Candidate at the University of Victoria’s applied theatre program. Dennis is a Vanier scholar.