Preserved at ALIWW are an original pen-and-ink poster and the printed playbill of Juan Tamban, the signature piece of dynamic playwright and video/film maker Marilou Jacob.
Juan Tamban was successfully staged in 1979 by the PETA Kalinangan Ensemble, then translated and performed by different regional groups. Theatre critic Doreen Fernandez called it “a landmark in Philippine modern theatre, because of its well-researched and realistic portrayal of contemporary social problems and its combination of both realism and non-realistic styles.” The play merited 2nd prize in the three-act play category (Filipino Division) of the 1979 Don Carlos Palanca Memorial Awards. Published in 1984, it also won the Manila Critics Circle Award in 1985.
The poster and playbill of the 1979 production of Juan Tamban are examples of “ephemeral materials” (so-called because they are often discarded and in time become rare items) that ALIWW takes pains to preserve. These materials often contain rich “behind-the-scenes” stories that are a precious part of a production’s evolution and actual staging.
In the Juan Tamban playbill, Jacob relates how the idea for the play came to her as she read an article about a boy from the slums who ate insects and rats—a boy she was moved to seek out and interview. Jacob also relates how she had found the input of PETA members an invaluable help in the preparation of the play’s final draft. She writes, “A playwright cannot work in isolation. A playwright must be in touch with the reality behind our make-believe world.”
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3/F-Rizal Library Annex
Ateneo de Manila University
Loyola Heights,1103 Q.C., Philippines
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