Nurturing talents and values through theater

Brother Matthias Rugel SJ, a firm believer in the transformative power of stage performances, embarked on a journey with young actors from the Dalēpaan in APC to nurture talents, unveil hidden skills, and instill meaningful values through the art of theater.

“I always love directing short dramas, because the actors can develop a lot of skills and discover some talents. For me, this is a good way to get young actors excited about meaningful activity and to convey values.”

The Dalēpaan youth, under Brother Matthias’ direction, staged a play during the Sunday mass on 11 February at the community church in Bendum, inspired by the biblical story of Naaman’s healing from leprosy (2 Kings 5:1-19). The performance delivered a message of healing, humility, and faith, and was well-received.

The play was delivered using two languages that provided depth and inclusivity to the performance. While Brother Matthias narrated in English, the actors spoke in Pinulangiyēn, bridging language barriers with the help of a community teacher from APC.

Brother Matthias also set a challenge for APC staff that involved transforming a 14-year-old youth from Dalēpaan into the likeness of an ancient army commander. With creativity and resourcefulness, the Dalēpaan youth worked on a project to develop a convincing warrior costume that was used in the play.

A reflective discussion with the young actors followed the play where their experiences were shared – from the initial apprehension to a newfound confidence on stage. Lessons on humility, empathy, and the power of storytelling were shared, as well as the impact that theater can have on one’s personal growth and self-discovery.

Brother Matthias Rugel SJ is from the Central European Province and joined the tertianship program of the Jesuit Conference of Asia Pacific in the Philippines. He studied mathematics and theology and holds a doctorate in philosophy. Before joining the Society of Jesus in 2012, he worked as a software developer in business, as a research assistant at the Munich School of Philosophy, and as a lecturer at the Heinrich Pesch Haus in Ludwigshafen. Brother Matthias stayed at APC in Bendum, Bukidnon briefly from 1 to 21 February 2024.

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