Sunset cypHER’ celebrates Filipino folklore for Fringe

2 minute read
Sunset cypHER is a story that's over the rainbow and close to heart. (Photo courtesy of Ani Gavino)
Sunset cypHER is a story that's over the rainbow and close to heart. (Photo courtesy of Ani Gavino)

Ani Gavino in collaboration with percussionist LaTreice Branson and director Jasmine Lynea present Sunset cypHER, an improvisational performance between the sunset, dance, drums, and viewers at Bartram’s Garden on Saturday, September 21 from 7-8pm. In their performance, Gavino, Branson, and company bring to life the Tagalog folktale of the rainbow’s origin. The tale begins with Bighari, the goddess of flowers. Her love of earth, its people, and its natural beauty causes her to lose her way back to the heavens and when she weeps in despair, the light refracts off her tears to create the rainbow. At the end of their performance the audience is invited to join in a community dance, which allows Bighari to communicate with her sister goddesses and the sun god.

Community and Culture

The creative team have crafted the performance with meticulous attention to detail, while still leaving room for the audience to join in shaping their shared experience. Gavino’s work has strong roots in community, and she drew heavily upon her cultural background in designing this experience. “I’m always trying to go back to ancestral roots, like how my ancestors would have gathered in the past,” she explains. “It’s pretty European to have a proscenium have a show. As a Filipina, and Patrice as a Black artist, we know it’s always a communal circle, it’s sharing.”

A Story of Multifaceted Identity

This story is also one close to her heart; to her, it is at once a tale of love and playfulness as well as of beauty blossoming from pain, something she can relate to. “We always have multiple identities and that’s also how I feel about being an immigrant. Being Filipino [means] a lot of cross cultural lingering from history and embracing this identity to me is like a metaphor of the rainbow. I could be upset about my history or my colonial past, but accepting my identity now as a rainbow . . . there is power in that, in listening to nature, and there’s always a goddess in each of us.”

What, When, Where:

Sunset cypHER is a 50 minute performance and takes place at Bartram’s Garden Community Boathouse, 5400 Lindbergh Boulevard, Philadelphia, on September 21 from 7-8pm near the waterfront. Tickets are available online for $10. There is parking near the garden entrance at 51st Street and Botanic Avenue. The venue is wheelchair accessible and transcripts will be available.

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