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Award-winning director returns to SU with Hindu epic adaptation

by Nathaniel E. Carampatana | November 3, 2022

After shutting down its roadshow for 32 months due to COVID-19, Steven Fernandez, co-founder of the Integrated Performing Arts Guild (IPAG), returned to Silliman University to kickstart a nationwide tour of one of his authored works, “Sita: The Ramayana Revisited.”

“Sita: The Ramayana Revisited” started on Oct. 21 at the Claire Isabel McGill Luce Auditorium and ended on Oct. 22.

For the tour, the show was first performed in the Philippines at Silliman University, making the university its stepping stone for future success.

During the past years, the show was performed in cities and states like Singapore, New Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata, New York, California, and Ayodhya.

Some of its audiences included Dr. Saroja Vaidyanathan, Bharatanatyam guru, Narendra Modi, Prime Minister of India, H.E. Tesso Sisowath, Prince of Cambodia, and Anita Bose, Ramayana scholar.

In an interview with tWS, Fernandez said that 90 percent of his plays focus on women empowerment, and “Sita: The Ramayana Revisited” is one of the most notable stories that fit his advocacy.

He explained that his version of the Ramayana focuses on the importance of how modern-day women present themselves. According to Fernandez, modern-day women are independent, do not offer blind obedience and loyalty, and can make decisions similar to those of men. 

But he said that it is up to the audience’s interpretation of the play. “I will not dictate what they’re [the show] supposed to mean,” Fernandez said.

Moreover, Xela Ubalde, the actress of Sita, said that her role portrayed the difficulty of women having no choice in choosing their identity, but, despite this burden, bearing a powerful role in society.

“Sita is showing that even though we, women, are stereotypically seen as submissive, we have the power to give love, faithfulness, and loyalty to the people we value,” she said.

After the show’s final day at the Luce Auditorium, Fernandez and his crew headed back to Iligan City. They performed “Sita: The Ramayana Revisited” to its local audiences on Oct. 27 and 28.

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