National Artist SALVADOR BERNAL , gone at 66

N E W S F L A S H : National Artist for Theatre and Film Salvador Bernal passed away Wednesday afternoon, according to representatives from the National Commission for Culture and the Arts (NCCA) and the Cultural Center of the Philippines (CCP). He was 66 years old. CCP Vice President and Artistic Director Chris Millado also confirmed Salvador’s passing. Bernal was named a National Artist in 2003 for his work in over 300 productions since 1969.
He was best known for using inexpensive local materials such as bamboo, abaca fiber, hemp twine, rattan chain links, and gauze cacha in his productions.

The national artist created the CCP Production Design Center. His last work for Tanghalang Pilipino, the CCP’s theatre company, was “Banaag at Sikat,” Millado said.

This year, Bernal was scheduled to work on the Philippine Educational Theater Association’s production of “King Lear” with Nonon Padilla, according to Millado.

Inspiring teacher

Aside from his film and theatre work, Bernal was also a teacher at the University of the Philippines and the Ateneo de Manila University.

He was born on January 7, 1945 in Dagupan City, according to “Equinox: an anthology of new writing from the Philippines, Volume 1,” a book published when he was only a student.

Bernal was supposed to teach two classes next semester under the Ateneo’s Interdisciplinary Studies department, according to a tweet from The GUIDON, the university’s official student publication.

He holds the distinction of being one of the Ateneo Philosophy department’s first awardees in 1966.

In July this year, Bernal worked with Tanghalang Ateneo for the costume and set design of “Sintang Dalisay,” Rolando Tinio’s translation of Shakespeare’s “Romeo and Juliet.”

He also designed the set and costumes of the university’s “Walang Sugat” production last year.

“It has always been an honor to be able to wear his design. If [Salvador Bernal] designs for a production, alam mong big time yun,” said Vannah Pacis, one of the lead actors in “Sintang Dalisay.”

Pauline Gaerlan, one of Bernal’s production design students, had only good things to say about Bernal. “He taught me to not be content with my work… he wanted his students to improve and in turn, give the theatre only what it deserves, which is our best work,” she told GMA News Online.

“His passing is shocking and sad, but I hope it inspires his former students and all theater practitioners to give no less than 100 percent to their work,” she said.

By eklavumer Posted in OBIT

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