Naty Crame-Rogers

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To read this article in Filipino, see Naty Crame-Rogers.

Natividad “Naty” Crame-Rogers (23 December 1922- 1 February 2021) was a Filipina actress, drama teacher, writer, producer, and researcher. She was best known for her role as Paula Marasigan in the 1965 film adaptation of the play, A Portrait of the Artist as a Filipino. She was among the founding leaders of Philippine Drama Company, Aming Tahanan Sala Theater, St. Scholastica’s Children and Teachers’ Theater, Arena Theater, and the University of Santo Tomas (UST) Graduate School of Academic Theater. She was also the Founding Chairman of the Philippine Normal University (PNU) Drama-Speech & Theater Department.

Early Life and Education

She was born on 23 December 1922 and raised in Manila. She was the eldest of five daughters of Ramon Crame, a nephew of General Rafael Crame, after whom Camp Crame was named. Ramon was a debonair and a jazz musician who played the violin and piano, and was a “rebellious Catholic.” Naty’s mother, Espectacion Cabezas, was anticlerical and inclined toward the Aglipayans.

Her interest in theater and the performing arts started early on. She was apparently directing school plays at age 11. While torn between conflicting Christian religions, Naty embraced Roman Catholicism as the one true Church. Her faith deepened at St. Scholastica’s College Manila. In 1939, at the age of 17, Naty enrolled at the University of the Philippines (UP). She recalled that even if students from UP were considered very bright, the experience then was easier as compared to what she had to go through in St. Scholastica, which was then under the German nuns.

She completed a master’s degree in Speech and Drama Education on a Fulbright Scholarship. She also took further graduate courses on Children’s Theater and Television at the University of California in Los Angeles.

Career

Naty had a brief stint as a flight attendant for Philippine Airlines, as one of the first international stewardesses at that time. There, she met pilot Joe Rogers, whom she eventually married.

She was made famous for playing the role of Leonor Rivera Severino Montano’s The Love of Leonor Rivera, and of Paula in Nick Joaquin’s A Portrait of the Artist as Filipino. She was also able to work with four National Artists: Montano, Lamberto V. Avellana, Daisy Avellana, and Rolando Tinio.

She was thoroughly a theater actress and later director. She worked with multiple theater groups such as UP Repertory Company, the Metropolitan Theater, and Tanghalang Pilipino.

Her only film role was in Avellana’s A Portrait…, a performance for which she earned a best supporting actress nomination at the FAMAS Awards.

She also enjoyed her stint with Teatro Pilipino at the Cultural Center of the Philippines (CCP). She was one of the hermanas in CCP’s screen adaptation of Noli me Tangere.

She underwent the school of hard knocks in the theater with Montano and his Arena Theater, which broke the new ground in the 1950s along with Avellana’s Barangay Theater Guild. Montano was known as an authoritarian director.

Naty also took pride in being a teacher. She pioneered drama in education and introduced various speech and theater programs in schools including the Philippine Normal University (PNU) and St. Scholastica’s College.

Awards and Recognition

  • 1994, Cultural Center of the Philippines Gawad Award in Theater
  • 1999, 100 Outstanding Filipinos in the 20th Century in the field of Theater
  • 2005, The National Commission of Culture & Arts (NCCA) Centennial Award for Women
  • 2008, UP Centennial Lifetime Achievement Award
  • 2009, The Lifetime Achievement ALIW Award
  • 2011, The Living Legend Philippine Theater Award of the International University Theater Association
  • 2013, Natatanging Gawad Buhay OR Philstage’s Lifetime Achievement Award
  • CCP’s Best 100 Filipino artists
  • Nominated twice for the National Artist Award

Death

Crame-Rogers passed away on 1 February 2021 due to old age. She was 98. Her biography was the subject of Amadis Ma. Guerrero’s book Naty Crame Rogers: A Life in Theater.

References

Citation

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