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ARTIST INTERVIEW: Tuxqs Rutaquio [English Translation]
Published December 2, 2020

Translation by: Kirby Vicente

The following text is the english translation of Tuxqs Rutaquio‘s Teru Teru! Performance Interview which originally premiered on the website on December 2, 2020, 8:30 PM. The interview focuses on Tuxqs Rutaquio’s experiences as a theatre director, designer, and educator. It highlights his collaboration with Japanese actors AKIMOTO Yuki, NAGATE Taiki, NISHIMURA Yuka and Filipino actor Delphine Buencamino. TERU TERU (Shine! Shine!) Draw from myths and characters associated with rain, a culture shared by Japan and the Philippines. The story was created from an “inspiration board” covered by the actors with materials such as illustrations and past memories. Interspersed with elements of haiku, which each member also tried their hand at during the creative process, the piece presents a spectacle of a teru teru bozu (handmade dolls made from white paper or cloth for good weather) — a symbol of hope — shining bright. The seed piece was originally performed in Tokyo Metropolitan Theater, Japan 2016 at the Asian Performing Arts Festival now known as Asian Performing Arts Farm (APAF). 

Hi my name is Tuxqs Rutaquio today is November 7, I’m in Manila, Philippines

Question: Tell us where you’re coming from.

I was actually an accidental theatre maker. Because when I entered college I was actually more in to the Fine Arts. So I entered the University of the Philippines in Diliman as a fine arts student. But then I was already involved in the theatre. Because one time I was there, I didn’t know it was the spot of theatre artists and one of the theatre students asked me if I would like to help them with their props. I went to the theatre to help them and then from then on I became part of the production. It was by Dulaang UP, the premiere theatre organization of UP. From then on I became part of Dulaang UP’s productions. On my third year in Fine Arts, I was flunking my classes so I shifted to theatre after my third year. I was a technical major but focusing more on design because they saw my portfolio and I was in to illustrations and paintings. That was a great move for me because I was able to hone the design aspect of theatre which are costume design and set design. On my last few years I didn’t take any performance aspect of theatre and directing so I have a few electives left and I took one for acting and another one for directing. I wanted to get Professor Tony Mabesa as a teacher because I haven’t experienced him as a teacher because I was terrified of him. From that class, my directing class. We were 8 at the beginning and in the middle of the semester, I was the only one left because my other classmates dropped the class. I thought that I was great because I was the only one left. He gave me a low grade still, I didn’t get a 1 in his class but he believed in me. He saw something in what I did in the scene studies I did. There was a thesis play then he was assigned to direct and then he offered it to me. That play was No Exit by Jean Paul Sartre. That was my first forey to absurd plays. That’s why I started having an inclination towards the absurd play, because the first time I read it, it was a different form of writing and philosophies. So after that, I got numerous invitations to direct thesis plays. It was sort of an exercise for me so I said yes to those invitations until I did my own thesis. My own thesis play was Edward Albee’s Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf which is also an absurd drama but more contemporary. After graduation, Professor Mabesa told me to take my Masters and I thought I had enough practical exercises during my undergraduate studies which I needed to reinforce with these theories. It’s different when you’re familiar with the theories per period. So it was a very traditional approach on my journey as an artist because of the academic education I had which was very western. It was very rare for me to be invited for Filipino Plays because for me I can practice on it later on or I can dwell on the Filipino drama. I focused on western dramas first. After I graduated my Masters, it took me two years straight without taking too much productions. I think I was given a production once a year by Professor Mabesa because he wanted me to finish immediately. After graduation, I went out of the Dulaang UP and university set-up and that was a game changer for me because I’ve never been outside of the university theatre set-up. When I went out I went to PETA and I tried every Manila-centric theatre companies just to have a grand outlook of what it looks like outside of the university. That’s where I saw the sense of professionalism, different cultures and practices. I adapted all of those but I was still practicing for both directing and theatre. And then Virgin Lab Fest came along.

Click here to read the full transcript.