Yesterday, today, and tomorrow : a study of Aurelio Tolentino's articulation of nationalism and identity through theatre in the Philippines during the American colonial period
Villaraza, Lily Ann Bolo
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This dissertation centers the importance of cultural production to the process of creating a coherent national identity and a unified political state in the Philippines. More specifically, I will examine role of theatre in relation to the general development of the nation and the state through Aurelio Tolentino's plays Luhang Tagalog and Kahapon, Ngayon, at Bukas. The Philippines and Filipino people pose a unique case study in the formation of both a specific and coherent national identity and an independent political state space because of geography, varied cultural influences, linguistic diversity, and colonial past. Because of these factors, it is a wonder that a coherent Philippine state exists, much less the generally accepted notion of a Filipino national identity. I argue that cultural production, particularly theatre, actively championed the broader acceptance of a singular Filipino national identity and individual belonging to a collective state at one of the most critical moment in Philippine history; the exit of Spanish colonial rule, the entrance of American imperial rule, and active assertion of political independence of the Philippine Islands by and for the Filipino people. The knowledge formation and critical dialogue occurring through theatre nurtured the notion of a Filipino national identity and buoyed the possibility of a Philippine state across the diverse linguistic and geographic terrain of the archipelago in opposition to the emerging American empire.