Mindanao, Women, and a New Ramayana: Transcreating the Epic in MSU-IIT IPAG’s Sita: The Ramayana Revisited
This paper examines the manner the MSU-IIT IPAG re-reads the character of Sita of the Indian epic in the process of a two-level transcreation. Through the transcreated play Sita, the position of women and the image of Mindanao in the 21st century are investigated. This paper unpacks how Sita lays bare the political and ideological realities in Mindanao by presenting indigenous nuances such as maratabat (sense of pride, sense of shame, sense of honor) and buddi (culture of reciprocity through debt of gratitude) that play important parts in the peace building efforts in the island. Also, transcreating Sita forwards the feminist cause by confronting society’s expectations of women today. Sita, who represents women, shows the importance of women in their role of conflict mediation and peace advocacy. Furthermore, as a product of a university theater from the Southern Philippines, Sita shows that drama is inextricably interwoven with the Mindanao peoples’ fight for the elusive genuine peace and national liberation. By dissecting the play Sita, the paper offers a closer view of the peoples of Mindanao who have long endured generations of unsolved conflicts brought about by cultural misunderstanding and social inequalities.