Culture Hit List: Salvador Bernal Designs The Stage
DLS-CSB'S "BADONG: SALVADOR BERNAL DESIGNS THE STAGE"
WHEN TO GO: Ongoing until December 17; 12th floor gallery at the School of Design and Arts Campus, De La Salle-College of Saint Benilde, 950 Ocampo Street, Malate, Manila.
WHAT YOU SHOULD KNOW: In partnership with the Cultural Center of the Philippines, the De La Salle-College of Saint Benilde bridges the gap between generations in the latest installment of “Badong: Salvador Bernal Designs the Stage.” The retrospective exhibition, featuring scale models, costumes, digital images, and archives of the ‘Father of Theater Design in the Philippines’, juxtaposes works by costume design students from the college’s Production Design Program.
Grounded in the National Artist’s various design projects in ballet, opera, theater, and film from the 1970s to 2011, the display highlights how pioneering and significant Bernal was in the fortification and professionalization of theater and design. For instance, he helped institute and led (from 1987 to 1994) the Production Design Center of the CCP, a three-story facility that houses design facilities for sets, props, and costumes; and also founded the Kapisanan sa Pilipinas ng mga Production Designer, now known as the Philippine Association of Theater Designers and Technicians (PATDAT).
WHAT TO CHECK OUT: The Production Design Program of De La Salle-College of Saint Benilde, the only one of its kind offered in the country, was launched in 1995. It has collaborated with the country’s premier institutions, academics and practitioners in the field to provide a well-rounded curriculum that focuses on both the art and science of the discipline. Their faculty includes the mentor for the exhibiting students, Eric Pineda, who was awarded with the Broadway World Philippines Award for Best Costume Design in 2012 (Atlantis’ production of Disney’s Little Mermaid); was nominated for the Philstage Gawad Buhay Award also in 2012 (Reportory Philippines’ The Joy Luck Club); and was also a founding member of PATDAT. Pineda himself was a pupil of Bernal, proving the persistent and undeniable legacy in tutelage, skill, and aesthetics.
Design, be it in sets, props or costumes, carry the weight of establishing the mood, time, place and the flow of the narrative, as well as the heightening of the performance itself. Needless to say, it remains to be a vital element in the entire theater experience.
Some of the costume designs from Salvador Bernal's works
Creations by students Chelsea Boncodin; details by Charlene Catindig; and Edwardian dress by Jasmine Sadsad