Filipino playwright, director, present play in Winnipeg premier

Winnipeg, Manitoba

Alunsina’s Love by Christopher Gozum premieres on November 29 and runs through December 3, 2023

Teodoro ‘Ted’ Alcuitas

Two Filipino theatre artists teamed up to create and share their heritage in an exploration of ‘race and inequities’.

Philippine-based playwright and filmmaker Christopher Gozum was commissioned by the University of Winnipeg’s Department of Theatre and Film and worked with new faculty member Dennis Gupa as director. Gupa specializes in intercultural theatre work, and is a long-time artistic collaborator with Gozum.

Dennis Gupa. (Facebook)

The resulting play, Alunsina’s Love, “brings to the forefront forgotten migration stories in Canada’s history in a critical dialogue about how we respectfully bridge cultures,” says the university.
“The play beautifully weaves together a Philippine creation story with 1970s Winnipeg garment industries, where many Filipinas found work as sewers. In the play, the factory workers’ demand for better working conditions amidst a declining economy and the rise of the global civil rights movement is juxtaposed with the traditional story of Alunsina, who fled the upper world controlled by her husband Tungkung Langit, as she too struggles to find her own emancipation. The non-linear storytelling incorporates masks, projection, and movement”.

Christopher Gozum (Facebook)

“This is my ethical act of recentering our marginalized communities by infusing or translating our stories on stage,” says Gupa.
“This play is about our beauty and how we encounter the world through our stories. Hopefully, the audience can interact with this beauty that reflects a shared love we all aspire to achieve as people of the world. We should add this love and these stories to the discourse.”
Admission is free, but reservations are recommended.
Reserve tickets here!

The award-winning Gupa is a graduate of the University of Victoria where he obtained his doctorate degrees in theatre and his Masters at the University of British Columbia.
Gupa recently directed the play ‘Buto/buto: Bones’ which was premiered in Vancouver last July. The play is about….Set in fictional Barangay San Diego, buto/buto : bones are seeds is a collection of vignettes dramatizing the stories of the first Filipinos who came to Canada in the 19th-century.

The task of staging a Visayan story of creation outside the Philippine land and water weaves the shared efforts of transnational communities. The playwright, Christopher Gozum, articulates the diasporic symbolism of this creation story in his text by re-imagining the deities as mortals who figuratively inhabit Canada in the 1970s. Omnipresent beings that can both occupy various time-space convergences and continua, the deities left their cosmic abode to find love and forgiveness within a declensional human society. It is not anachronistic for deities to transport their bodies into the material world. In this new play, the playwright connects some fragments of local Manitoba migration history with the Tungkung Langit and Alunsina story woven from the epics of the Panay people in the Visayan Island of the Philippines. Special shout out to A Razel Bidaure-Limoso Ramirez (University of the Philippines Visayas) and Ma Rosalie Zerrudo (Queensland University of Technology) and Dr. Carlos Tatel (Department of Anthropology, University of the Philippines).

Alunsina’s Love runs November 29 through December 3 at 7:30 pm each evening at the Asper Centre for Theatre and Film, 400 Colony Street (enter from Balmoral Street .

According to the university, the ensemble cast, made up of the Acting IV: Honours students, face head-on the challenge of contemporary performance creation.  “Led by the director’s vision to bring together his own cultural practice with his new Winnipeg community, the cast of eight underwent a week-long process learning about Philippine mythology, migration, race and justice, and ancient tattooing through discussions with esteemed artists from the Philippines, across Canada, and from within our own university and city, assembled by Gupa, with the intention of creating a theatrical project that connects institutions and communities through intercultural dialogues while also teaching students theatre as an engaged global practice of performance making. “
Adam Parboosingh, Associate Professor of Design, has powerfully represented the two worlds in his scenography. Costume Designer Kate George is a recent graduate of the program. Current 4th year production student Lovissa Wiens creates the projection design, and Filipina Canadian Winnipeg-based theatre actor, director, and producer Hazel Venzon extends her expertise as a historical and cultural consultant. Multiple production students support bringing the production to the stage.

Hazel Venzon. (Facebook)

Trigger Warning: Use of a gun and depiction of death; suggestions of domestic violence and sexual assault.
Please note:  Audience members must wear masks while attending a performance in the ACTF Theatre.
For tickets order ONLINE or call our Reservations line at 204-786-9152

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