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‘Spirit of the Glass’ Play Delves Into the Dangers of Red-Tagging

‘Spirit of the Glass’ Play Delves Into the Dangers of Red-Tagging

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The Tag-ani Performing Arts Society, a non-governmental and nonprofit organization, will be staging Bonifacio Ilagan’s new play entitled Spirit of the Glass for a limited run this March.

The production follows Vivian and Balé, college instructors who are Red-tagged by the very government agency that has previously approved their book manuscripts for publication and circulation. Consequently harassed and threatened by state security forces, they are forced to seek refuge in a friend’s ancestral house where they find themselves embroiled with the spirits of the victims of similar human rights violations in past and recent history and eventually embolden them to face up to the chilling reality of their – our – times.

Ilagan, who has written the scripts for Pagsambang Bayan, Katipunan, and Bisperas ng Kasaysayan, among others, is joined by Joel Lamangan, who directs the production, and Ohm David, who serves as production designer.

The play was ignited by an incident in August 2022, where the Komisyon ng Wikang Filipino (KWF), a national government agency, withdrew its imprimatur for the publication and circulation of five books in its inventory that it had previously approved for being “subversive and anti-government,” citing the controversial Anti-Terror Law and effectively Red-tagging its authors for being “complicit in terroristic or subversive” activities with the enemies of the state. 

The academe and human rights community were one in raising a howl; the public condemnation and protests were quick. In the following month, the KWF rescinded the Red-tagging, with no less than its chair denying that he had taken a part in the gag order of the majority of its board of trustees.

The Tag-ani Performing Arts Society says, “Taking off from this unprecedented act of censorship reminiscent of the Marcos martial law regime, [the group has developed] a play that delves not only into the grim implications of Red-tagging on the personal lives of the victims but also in our much-vaunted democratic society and the deeper realm of human rights, the integrity of governance, indeed, the very fiber of our body politic.”

The cast features Barbara Miguel, Carlos Dala, Elora Españo, Edward Allen Solon, Angellie Sanoy, Nanding Josef, Edna Mae Landicho, and Edru Abraham.

Spirit of the Glass will run from March 8 to 10, 2:30pm and 7pm, at the IBG-KAL Theater of UP Diliman.

Tickets are available through bit.ly/TagAniSOTG2024.


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