Starting them young in theater

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Monday, May 12, 2014

DO YOU want to arouse your child’s curiosity? Get them to imagine the unimaginable? Fire up their artistic passions? Take them to the theater!

The summer Kiddie Theater Workshop of the Negros Museum culminated in a production of F. Tipon II's "Si Kan Laon, ang Sota kag ang Pito ka Ulo nga Dragon."

This Kiddie Theater Workshop is the first-ever by the Negros Museum, says museum executive director Tanya Lopez.


Inspired by the legend of Mount Kanlaon, the children’s play showcased the impressive acting prowess of 20 children aged five to 12.

Director, playwright, and actor Fundador “Mytor” Tipon II always felt a penchant for working creatively with children and youth.

Having had extensive training and experience in theater for 20 years, he now feels it is time to give back, and there is no better way to do it than through a kiddie theater workshop.

The workshop is a practical approach to the fundamentals of Children’s Theater for ages five to12 with focus on Acting, Speech, Movement, Creative Writing, and Stage Discipline.

For 12 days of summer, the children did theater exercises through games, songs and music, children’s literature, creative reading and writing, storytelling, role-playing, and animations.

All these fun, interactive exercises are designed to develop creativity, individual and group processes, stage presence, and performance techniques and values.

Theater is fun make-believe where children create and develop characters. Portraying the role of Princess Talinis in the play was 11-year old Nicole Sazon. Like many children, Sazon had always wanted to be a princess, but not everyone gets to play the part.

“I was very happy to get the role; then I realized it is hard, but I did my best,” Nicole says.

The big role of evil witch Amlang was bagged by Iya Taño, 12, who wanted the part so badly even if in real life, she knows she shouldn’t be toying with dark wizardry. “It was very challenging to portray her,” she says. “And it’s just make-believe.”

Both girls admit to getting nervous before the performance, but they turned to the lessons they learned from the workshop. “Our teachers were very good and taught us a lot of things,” Nicole adds. And they also prayed.

But there was one kid who clearly felt at home on stage. Seven-year-old Jael Tipon, the director’s daughter, has been performing since she was four. Displaying a confidence and talent beyond her years, she might as well be a theater prodigy.

Not only did she already have the most lines in the play, but the night before the show, she was given the script for the play’s last 40 words. Mind you, it was in Hiligaynon. Her delivery was pure mastery and her portrayal of the mystical being Sota was enchanting.

Workshop instructor Kim Chauven Villaluna, himself a young performance artist, felt quite overwhelmed by how much the children have grown in trust and self-confidence.

“When I first met these kids on Day 1 of the workshop, they were shy and stiff. I would never have imagined them able to break free from their shells and perform so well. I am happy to do my share in bringing the kids to push themselves, give everything they have and be the best. I am so proud of all of them,” Kim says.

For her part, Iya says, “I don’t know why, but I just love acting and theater. When I am onstage, I feel alive and happy.”

Tipon sentimentally recounts that the 20 kids who signed up for the workshop came for a variety of reasons but in the end, all of them just fell in love with theater.

The truth is, it is not just about loving theater; it is about children discovering their own gifts and childhood passions. Nicole, Iya, and Jael reveal that they dream of one day becoming an actor, be it onstage or on film. There is nothing else they would rather do.

It seems to be a conviction made stronger because of the able mentorship of self-confessed Director-with-a-Passion, Tipon and his assistant Villaluna. It comes about because parents and family members support their children’s exploration into art.

And from the wealth of talent found in this community, surely much more is to be expected so that our children’s creativity and imagination may be valued and nurtured.

Published in the Sun.Star Bacolod newspaper on May 12, 2014.


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