Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Tito Rollie's Life before Teatro Pilipino

Born: March 5, 1937, Gagalangin, Tondo, Manila
Died: July 7, 1997, Quezon City

Tinio was born in Gagalangin, Tondo, Manila but has roots in Nueva Ecija, from where came his parents Dominador Tinio and Marciana Santos. Tinio married actor Ella Luansing, and they have two children, one of whom, Victoria, is also an actor. He finished primary education at the Lakandula Elementary School in Tondo, 1948, and secondary school at the Letran High School, 1951. He obtained a bachelor of philosophy degree at the University of Santo Tomas in 1955 and a master in fine arts degree in creative writing from the State University of Iowa in 1958. He finished a non-degree course in theater arts through a British Council scholarship grant at Bristol University in 1968. He taught English, Filipino, and theater arts courses at the Ateneo de Manila University, 1958-1975, where he headed the English Department, and later the Department of Filipino.

He first wrote poetry in English, but after his return from the United States, returned to the language of his roots, the Tagalog in which are written his three collections: Sitsit sa Kulilig (Whistling at Cicadas), 1972; Dunung-dunungan (Pedantry), 1975; Kristal na Uniberso (Crystal Universe), 1989; and Trick of Mirrors, 1993.

Tinio's achievement in drama includes masterful translations into Tagalog of major works of the Western theater, starting with Laruang Kristal (Tennessee Williams' The Glass Menagerie) and Pahimakas sa Isang Ahente (Arthur Miller's Death of a Salesman), 1966; and Paghihintay Kay Godo (Samuel Beckett's Waiting for Godot) and August Strindberg's Miss Julie, 1967. The first two significantly influenced the return of Philippine theater to the vernacular.

He is remembered as an innovative and imaginative director. He first attracted attention with his experimental productions, such as Oedipus Rex, 1960; the Oresteia, 1962; Macbeth, 1963. Murder in the Cathedral, 1966; and the first revival of Precioso Palma 's Sarswela, Paglipas ng Dilim (After the Darkness), 1969, all with Ateneo student actors. Tinio went on to direct traditional and modem plays and operas like: Dularawan: Salakot na Ginto (Image Play: The Golden Salakot), 1969, which inaugurated the Cultural Center of the Philippines (CCP); The Merry Widow, 1969; The Onyx Wolf, which inaugurated the CCP Little Theater (now Tanghalang Aurelio V. Tolentino), 1971; Prinsipe Baldovino (Prince Baldwin), 1971; Ang Kiri (The Flirt), 1974; Bayan-bayanan (Little Country), 1975 and 1976.

Who is Divina Cavestany?

Divina Cavestany was considered to be Maam Ella's heiress apparent in many roles because of her stunning similarity to the dame - the classic looks, the acting style. She played many memorable roles for Teatro, including Antigone (by Jean Annouilh), Laura (in The Glass Menagerie/Mga Laruang Kristal), and Regina in Ghosts/Mga Multo (Henrik Ibsen).

Trivia on Teatro Pilipino

Teatro Pilipino is the only Philippine Theater Company that was able to experiment with three theater seasons within a year; each season featuring three full length plays presented both in English and in Pilipino translation.

Teatro Pilipino was also known for its varied readings of plays based on various literary genre, theories and movements. Most unforgetable was Rolando Tinio's deconstruction of Shakespeare's Makbet, his reframing of Ikalabindalawang Gabi, and his four versions of Laruang Kristal that were alternately presented during its entire run.