Tatlong Kuwento ni Lola Basyang: Storytelling Through Dance and Music

5:56 AM

Once in a child's life, there is bound to be someone who he or she will remember as a person who spun and told tales so fantastic and captivating that childhood will never be the same without those storytelling episodes. The archetypal storyteller to young children is often an old woman such as the grandmother in the house. While the English have their Mother Goose, Filipinos have Lola Basyang.

Who is Lola Basyang?

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Many would be surprised to know that Lola Basyang is actually a pen name of male Filipino writer Severino Reyes. He was the founder and editor of Liwayway, a Tagalog magazine. He first used the pen name in 1925 when he started "Mga Kuwento ni Lola Basyang". 

He wrote more than 400 of these stories that talked about magical kingdoms, enchanted places, and strange creatures. The image of a grandmother sitting on a rocking chair telling stories to children gathered around her stuck through generations in books, comics,TV shows, plays, and movies. Stories would almost always end with a moral lesson ensuring that children learn while they get entertained.

Storytelling Through Dance and Music

Image Source: aliwtheater.com.ph

In the tradition of Lola Basyang's storytelling, Ballet Manila brings back the storybook magic through 3 stories thus Tatlong Kuwento ni Lola Basyang. Its 20th Performance Season kicks off with stories that impart heart-tugging lessons on good morals and values which appeal to both children and adults. Featured are “Ang Prinsipe ng Mga Ibon,” “Ang Kapatid ng Tatlong Marya” and "Ang Mahiwagang Biyulin”.

Choreographed by Osias Barroso; set to the melodies of national artists for music as arranged by Mon Faustino, “Ang Prinsipe ng Mga Ibon” is about a princess who falls madly in love with a bird prince. Their love is put to a test when her furious father expresses disapproval over their unusual relationship. 

Ballet Manila Chief Executive Officer and Artistic Director Lisa Macuja-Elizalde choreographed “Ang Kapatid ng Tatlong Marya”. Set to the music of Joey Ayala, it tells the story a boy in search of his three sisters who were captured by a beast, as a punishment for their father's greedy streak. The boy strives to fulfill their father's dying wish by coming face to face with the monster that took his sisters.

“Ang Mahiwagang Biyulin.” was choreographed by the late Tony Fabella with music by Ryan Cayabyab. The tale is about a poor worker who was given a violin when he helped an old lady. The enchanting rhythm of the strings sends listeners in a trance bringing about an unusual change in behavior. 

"Lola Basyang is part of the Filipino our culture and heritage," explains artistic director Lisa Macuja-Elizalde. "We at Ballet Manila are honored to do our share in preserving this wonderful gift, through dance and music." 

My Say

Ballet Manila assures its audience that  watching Tatlong Kuwento ni Lola Basyang is the perfect weekend treat for the family. Based on the extensive preparations described by Lisa herself, I can only agree. My family hopes to experience this different kind of magic as Lola Basyang's stories unfold through dance and music.

“Severino Reyes’ ‘Tatlong Kuwento ni Lola Basyang’” goes onstage at Aliw 
Theater on August 21, 22, 28, and 29, at 8:00 p.m., and on August 23 & 30 at 3:00 p.m. 

Tickets are available at Ticketworld outlets, www.ticketworld.com.ph, or call 891 9999 and the Ballet Manila marketing hotline at 552 7502.

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