People Power sheds light on Filipino-Canadians' collective memory
Today, Filipino history is Canadian history. As contemporary Canadian history is increasingly shaped by experiences of diaspora communities from around the world, the revolutionary protests in the Philippines that have shaped the Filipino political experience and power imbalances in past decades are now part of Canada's collective memory. A People Power revolution in 1986, which overthrew the U.S.-backed Marcos dictatorship, represented not only a key moment in Filipino contemporary history and world history, but the reality that a non-violent revolution against oppression could be successful. That story is being presented in theatre for the first time in Montreal, also marking the 30th season of Teesri Duniya Theatre.
Directed by Torontonian Nina Lee Aquino, People Power brings to stage the Filipino-Canadian collective memory of the 1986 mass protests that caught world attention. Images of urban poor and peasants standing down military tanks on the streets of downtown Manila is the stuff of legend in contemporary Filipino political culture.
"It is important that we honour the collective memory of Filipino-Canadians; the 1986 People Power revolution is certainly an event that every single Filipino in Canada and around the world remembers, a milestone moment in Filipino history," explains director Aquino.
Filipino families from Vancouver to Winnipeg to Montreal moved to Canada in the face of growing political repression and economic injustice in the Philippines under the military
People Power conveys a theatrical narrative built on the memories of second-generation Filipino-Canadians recounting family memories and personal experiences during the 1986 People Power revolution - a narrative commonly shared only as oral history. This theatrical expression of national cultural memory incorporates music, movement, percussion and voice to reflect a political culture of the streets via the arts.
"At Teesri Duniya we thought that it was important to have the Filipino-Canadian culture represented on stage," says Rahul Varma, director of the theatre company. "It is a Canadian play in the sense that it is focuses on the perspectives of second generation Filipinos, on the memories from their parents who protested peacefully in the Philippines and also in Canadian cities against the dictatorship in Manila, reflecting the evolving nature of Canadian society, as the Filipino experience is also a Canadian experience."
At Studio Hydro-Québec, Monument-National (1182 St-Laurent Blvd.), Sept. 16 to Oct. 2