|Wilfrido Ma. Guerrero|
As director of the UP Dramatic Club and the UP Mobile Theater, and as one of the most outstanding Filipino playwrights in English, Wilfrido Ma. Guerrero is one of the pillars of Philippine drama and theater.
- Antonio Mabesa
Wilfrido Ma. Guerrero was
born in Ermita, Manila. He studied at the Ateneo de Manila University, at the
University of the Philippines, and briefly, at Columbia University. He
wrote his first play at age 14, and his play in Spanish, "No Todo Es
Risa", was produced at the Ateneo when he was 15.
He was later a reporter
and proofreader for La Vanguardia, and drama critic for the Manila
Tribune. He worked for some time in Philippine Films (1939) as a
scriptwriter. He organized and was the director of the Filipino Players
In 9147 the late
Bienvenido Gonzalez, president of the University of the Philippines,
appointed Guerrero, despite his lack of a degree, assistant professor of
dramatics. He became director of the UP Dramatic Club for which he
produced and directed over 120 plays. He wrote and directed for radio
for one whole year (1950-1951) for Purico's "Dulaan ng Buhay".
In 1959 he adapted six of his plays and directed them for TV's Caltex
In 1962 he organized and
directed the UP Mobile Theater, with over 1880 performances so far, that
goes on the road all over the Philippines. The UP Mobile Theater has
been the recipient of two awards: The Citizen's Council for Mass Media
trophy (1966) and the Balagtas Award (1969).
Guerrero has extensively
observed the theater and drama schools in the US (on a UP scholarship,
1956-57) and in England (on a British Council scholarship, 1965).
Several Guerrero plays
have been translated into and produced in Chinese, Italian, Spanish,
Tagalog, Visayan, Ilocano and Waray. Six of his plays have been produced
abroad: "Half an Hour in a Convent" at the Pasadena Playhouse,
California; "Three Rats" at the University of Kansas;
"Condemned" in Oahu, Hawaii; "One, Two, Three"
(premiere performance) at the University of Washington, Seattle;
"Three Rats and "Wanted: A Chaperon" at the University of
Hawaii; and "Conflict" in Sydney, Australia.
Twelve of his works are
included in 23 college and high school textbooks and anthologies, and
are also included in the Russian Encyclopedia. His plays have been the
subject so far of seven Master of Arts theses in English literature.
Guerrero has been the
recipient of three national awards: the Rizal Pro-Patria Award (1961),
the Araw ng Maynila Award (1969), and the Republic Cultural Heritage
Guerrero has the unique
distinction of being the first Filipino who has had a theater named
after him in his own lifetime: The Wilfrido Ma. Guerrero Theater of the
University of the Philippines, Diliman.
Upon his death in May
1995, his colleagues in the theater and the academe drafted a resolution
declaring him National
Artist. Two years later, the national government officialy proclaimed
Guerrero as "National Artist for Theater" .