IPF Dramaturgy Workshop (Bacolod City)

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Dramaturg and playwright, Ursula Werdenberg and director Yena Kim at the closing ceremonies of the IPF Dramaturgy workshop

I was inviting to join the International Playwright’s Forum (IPF) workshop on Dramaturgy with Ursula Werdenberg (of Switzerland) and Yena Gim (of Korea) that was held over the weekend here in Bacolod. I was quite excited to go because I did Dramaturgy work last year for No Filter and I had a basic idea about it because I saw them talk about a Dramaturge in the television show Smash but I didn’t really know what the exact details were of their job. When Toff de Venecia, my director for No Filter, asked me to come in as a Dramaturg, I said “yes” immediately because I wanted to work with him and I wanted to do work in theatre. I told him I didn’t know exactly what a Dramaturg was but he said he knew I could do it, gave me my responsibilities and the things I need to watch out for and do.

So I did it. And Toff seemed very happy with my work and I fell in love with the theatrical process and I was so excited to do more work, at any capacity, in the theatre.

But now I’m in Bacolod, recuperating, and there was this chance for me to take a workshop and I thought, “this is great, I’ll finally have some extra training and I’ll finally have a small window of training for the possibility of future work in this field.” Two days is not a lot, but it’s better than having to wing it all the time.

Most of the other participants had no training or experience whatsoever about Dramaturgy, and some didn’t even have any experience in theatre and so many of the activities involved basic knowledge of Dramaturgy. It was knowledge I already knew but it was great that I was able to have a grounded and academic foundation rather than just practical experience. I would have loved to have gone more in-depth but it would have just been a one-on-one that would not have been helpful to the community.

I was surrounded by college kids so the mindset had to take into account their youth but, I’m just happy to have made the connections.

Because you cannot stop learning. A refusal to learn, a refusal to grow and improve is a refusal to live well. I was happy to be a part of it, though I feel I could have gotten more out of the workshop, but this was the situation I found myself in. I tried to make the most out of it as I could.

Theatre really excites me more now than film. I love the process. I love the collaboration that’s involved in putting together a theatrical production. I like being involved. I was lucky that Toff allowed me to be involved. I discovered not all directors are not as open as Toff is and I just learned from Ursula Werdenberg that a good Dramaturg doesn’t attend every rehearsal (which I did for No Filter). That’s problematic for me, but I get it. I understand why.

I’ll just continue to read more on Dramaturgy and just keep learning. I have more opportunities here to be a part of community theatre, even though it will tougher for me (more on this in a future post) but also hoping that I can get back to Manila and do more work there.

Or who knows? Find myself abroad and work there too. Somewhere like Australia, or the United Kingdom, or America. Who knows? I’d love to give it a shot.

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