24 January 2009


Did you watch Zapatista, the 2008 production by Teatro Milagro of The Miracle Theater Group in the USA? It was billed as a bilingual production. Does that mean that one performance was completely in Spanish and another completely in English? Or does it mean that, in the same performance, the actors spoke alternately in Spanish and English? In the Philippines, it is fairly common to have both types. One group will put up, say, a Shakespeare play in English, then the same cast (or a slightly changed cast) will do the same production (with the same blocking, production design, etc.) in Filipino. More common, though, are performances where the actors speak in different languages, depending on the characters they are playing. Since most audiences in the Philippines are multilingual, there is rarely a problem of being understood. (Of course, worldwide, theater tends to be multilingual. We see this all the time in international theater festivals.)

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