VISITING ARTIST

Dr. William John Summers lectures about the performance history of professional Tagalog theatre companies during the years 1848-1898

Held at the College Museum of Instruments last October 10, 2014, Dr. William John Summers from Darmouth College said that even there were great destructions during the war in Manila, some daily newspapers survived, and the first advertisement for a Tagalog theatre performance was carried by La Estrella on August 1, 1848. The title of the play was written in Spanish Doncella De Missolonghi (Maid of Missolonghi). He mentioned briefly the local and touring Circus troupes; presence of the Bull Fights (Tagalog women matadoras); seven regimental wind bands stationed in Manila (one was the Cavite wind band); and the Teatro de Tondo, a Tagalog Theater in W. E. Retana (1905). The following are the accounts from his newspaper database:
 
1) at least 290 Tagalog theatre performances were advertised in the papers;
2) at least 100 different titles in Spanish were given;
3) 25 works appear that held on stage for 10 or more years in repeat performances particularly by Francisco Baltazar;
4) Tagalog theatre season took place from the months of October to March, and longer season took place in 1859, 1860, and 1865;
5) loss of documentation of theatre traditions in 1860, no papers survived;
6) diverse mix of genres were comedias, tragedias, gran comedias, program with ballets (1870), and inserts of vocal experts from famous operas, placed between acts;
7) ticket prices for Tagalog theatre were lower than Spanish language performances.