Msgr. Ancajas reveals his hidden treasures

A woman sighs in helplessness, another slumps in guilt, and a high-pitched verbal exchange ensues. Someone enters the room, a small woman, and tries to tower over the volume of the cross-fire happening in the small space. Behind their turmoil are several plastic chairs and a table, but these things are unnecessary. The three women, with their distinct intonations, their tensed wild gestures, their calculated movements, their apt facial expressions, have brought life to the limited geography they are given. Their stage throbbed with reality.

In a packed gathering at Ayala Center Cebu, the three actors successfully performed the characters of Linda, Corina, and Leah in Lukas 10:41, a one-act play by Msgr. Agustin “Ting” V. Ancajas. This is just one of the many plays that he wrote in the course of 25 years of being engaged and committed to theater.

He made an impalpable impact in this field, which he considers as “a potent medium for the strengthening of the Catholic faith through deepened evangelization,” that the Ramon Aboitiz Foundation Inc. (RAFI) through its Culture & Heritage unit decided to peruse his works and put 10 of them in one book.

Two monologues (Sa Imong Lawas ug Dugo and Dolores), seven one-act plays (Paklay Para sa Canta Misa, Ringtone, Kabilin, Sila nga Mitaliwan na, Paghurnal sa Panahon sa Tingpugas, Lukas 10:41, and Todos Los Santos), and one full-length play (Melchizedek) are featured in Msgr. Ancajas’s book titled Mga Tinagoang Bahandi (Hidden Treasures) that was launched on March 8.

“As a playwright, though unworthy of such a noble title, the publication of my works in the book, Mga Tinagoang Bahandi (Hidden Treasures), is an affirmation of my 25 years of journey as a writer searching for a canon that would allow my works to be accepted by people in the theater,” Msgr. Ancajas said. 

Within these 25 years, apart from theater activities in the seminary and despite the demands of parish work and the programs and projects at the Office of the Commission on Social Communications in the archdiocese, he trained formally under different mentors, including Cris Millado at the Ateneo de Manila University, teachers at the Royal Central School of Speech and Drama at the University of London, and playwright Linda Faigao-Hall. He eventually created his own theater group, Il Signor Theater Company 2021.

“The present collection of plays by Fr. Ting highlights the set of stage plays which were mostly performed before an international audience for the 2016 International Eucharistic Congress in Cebu. As such, the 10 plays included are far being devotional in tone. They are not hesitant to address even the dark realities of the Faith connected with the brokenness of the fallen condition of the its agenst and institutions,”wrote Msgr. Joseph C. Tan, San Carlose Seminary College Dean of Studies and media liaison officer for the Archdiocese of Cebu, in the introduction of Msgr. Ancajas’s book.

For Cebu Archbishop Jose S. Palma, the plays give us, readers and play goers, the opportunity to see who we have been and what we have become. “We become an audience to our very selves,” he wrote in the foreword.

You can get your copy of the book Tinagoang Bahandi from Casa Gorordo Museum. #


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