His play has remained relevant for the past 46 years, and continues to reverberate daring responses to issues of the times. “Pagsambang Bayan” has become one of the most restaged shows in the Philippines today.
The playright is Boni Ilagan, whose works as scriptwriter and librettist for theater, film, television, and radio, have been multi-awarded by various highly recognized bodies.
Now, he will be launching his coffee table, which compiles for the first time, the scripts of his most compelling plays and films. To be published by Erehwon Center for the Arts, the publication, simply titled “Sa Ating Panonood,” promises to be a valuable guide to film and theater producers and directors, as well as teachers and students of film and theater. Photos and illustrations provide interesting look backs into the past, from a defiant theater icon Behn Cervantes who directed “Pagsambang Bayan” daringly during martial law, to a dressed-down Gloria Diaz who starred in “Katipunan: Sigaw ng Bayan,” to a young Orestes Ojeda as the priest in “Pagsambang Bayan.” Boni’s characters challenge popular actors to imbibe new dimensions, turning them as well into advocates of human rights, justice, and freedom.
He writes, “…ang sining at panitikan ay may mahalagang papel sa mga usaping panlipunan at pampulitika. At sapagkat ang artista, una sa lahat, ay mamamayan ng kanyang sariling bayan at ng buong daigdig, nararapat siyang makialam sa mga isyu na hindi lamang pansarili.”
The Cultural Center of the Philippines regards Boni Ilagan as a master playright. Major award giving bodies that have recognized Boni’s work over the years include the Catholic Mass Media Awards, the Cultural Center of the Philippines Centennial Honors for the Arts, the Don Carlos Palanca Memorial Awards for Literature, the Filipino Academy of Movie Arts and Sciences awards, the Film Academy of the Philippines’ Luna Award, the Gawad Balagtas, the Gawad Plaridel, the Palihang Aurelio V. Tolentino, and the Philippine Movie Press Club Star Awards for Television.