Photo Coverage: Monique Wilson, Arman Ferrer Lead MABINING MANDIRIGMA; Show Closes Sept. 1

Photo Coverage: Monique Wilson, Arman Ferrer Lead MABINING MANDIRIGMA; Show Closes Sept. 1Manila, Philippines--Probing the fusion of eclectic steampunk music elements, flip-top rap, and musical theater (Joed Balsamo, composer; Ejay Yatco, music director), side by side a rather traditional libretto in heavy Tagalog (Nicanor Tiongson, librettist) can be refreshing yet jarring. But Tanghalang Pilipino's original musical "Mabining Mandirigma" is our story--a period of frustration and struggle that can't be ignored. It tells the Philippines' history (1898-1903), which, sadly, keeps repeating itself until today--unless we embrace change and move forward.

"A nation will perish, not because of evil men, but, because of good men who just watched and did nothing." - Apolinario Mabini

"Mabining Mandirigma" places the spotlight on Mabini, played by cross-gender actors Monique Wilson ("Miss Saigon," "Fun Home") and Hazel Maranan ("Peter Pan," "Orosman at Zafira'). There are many reasons why Mabini, a Filipino revolutionary leader and the first Prime Minister of the Philippines, is the "Philippine hero par excellence for the Philippines today," which Tiongson firmly believes. Although a paralytic--he moves around using a wheelchair or a portable hammock, Mabini was revered as the "soul and light of the revolution," "the brain of the revolution." A staunch nationalist, he was also the chief advisor to General Emilio Aguinaldo, the first President of the Philippines, alternately played by Arman Ferrer ("Side Show," "Binondo The Musical") and David Ezra ("Side Show," "Ang Huling El Bimbo") in this fourth staging of the musical, directed by Chris Millado ("August Osage County," "American Hwanggap").

"The problems he [Mabini] encountered in 1898-1899 where he was a leading member of the Aguinaldo government are exactly the same as the problems our country faces today: feudal patronage, which privileges the underlings who are pawns of those in power, soldiers whose loyalty is to the leader not as a commander in chief but as a personal strongman, the use of violence against officials and citizens who are perceived as threats to the ruling power, men in legislature who pass laws that will consolidate their class and assure them of easy access to government coffers, leaders who would compromise the territorial and political integrity of the nation," Tionson writes in his program notes.

Photo Coverage: Monique Wilson, Arman Ferrer Lead MABINING MANDIRIGMA; Show Closes Sept. 1In July 2015, "Mabining Mandirigma" had its world premiere, where the titular role was played by Delphine Buencamino. Marketed as a "steampunk musical," the show was last staged three years ago. It won 12 Philstage Gawad Buhay Awards including Outstanding Original Musical, Outstanding Original Libretto, Outstanding Original Musical Composition, Outstanding Musical Direction, Outstanding Stage Direction for a Musical, Outstanding Costume Design, and Outstanding Choreography, among others.

Its current cast includes Monique Wilson (Mabini), Hazel Maranan (Mabini), David Ezra (Aguinaldo), Arman Ferrer (Aguinaldo), Paw Castillo (Pepe), Phi Palmos (Pule), Mia Bolanos (Dionisia), Lian Silverio (Felipe Calderon/Padre Malabanan), Meynard Penalosa (Benito Legarda/Mark Twain), Kristofer Kliatchko (Antonio Luna), Anthony Peralta (Gregorio Araneta), Ian Hermogenes (Del Pilar), Juancho Gabriel (Noriel), Joshua Tayco (Ricarte), Jasper Cabra (Trias), Sigrid Balbas (Gen. James Franklin Bell), Maia Dapul (Douglas MacArthur), Roxy Aldiosa (Ensemble), Mikee Baskinas (Ensemble), Blanche Buhia (Ensemble), Remus Villanueva (Pedro Janolino/Dancer), Kul Dela Torre (Paco Roman/Dancer), Joel Eugenio (Eduardo Rusca/Dancer), Jonathan Tadioan (Felipe Buencamino), JV Ibesate (Pedro Paterno), Eunice Pacia (Gen. William Howard Taft), and Lhorve Nuevo (Ensemble).

Rounding out its creative team are TJ Ramos, sound engineer; Manny Pambid, dramaturg, Denisa Reyes, choreographer; Toym Imao, set designer; James Reyes, costume designer; Katsch Catoy, lighting designer; GA Fallarme, video production designer; Barbara Tan-Tiongson, set consultant; KC Kane, assistant music director; Kristofer Kliatchko, dance master; Paw Castillo, dance master, and Lhorve Nuevo, dance master.

"Mabining Mandirigma" runs now until Sunday, September 1, 2019, at the Cultural Center of the Philippines (CCP) Tanghalang Aurelio Tolentino.

Get tickets from our event ticketing partner, Ticket2Me.net.

Photos: Oliver Oliveros

Photo Coverage: Monique Wilson, Arman Ferrer Lead MABINING MANDIRIGMA; Show Closes Sept. 1Arman Ferrer

Photo Coverage: Monique Wilson, Arman Ferrer Lead MABINING MANDIRIGMA; Show Closes Sept. 1Arman Ferrer, Monique Wilson

Photo Coverage: Monique Wilson, Arman Ferrer Lead MABINING MANDIRIGMA; Show Closes Sept. 1Jonathan Tadioan, Arman Ferrer, Monique Wilson

Photo Coverage: Monique Wilson, Arman Ferrer Lead MABINING MANDIRIGMA; Show Closes Sept. 1Mia Bolanos, Phi Palmos

Photo Coverage: Monique Wilson, Arman Ferrer Lead MABINING MANDIRIGMA; Show Closes Sept. 1Monique Wilson

Photo Coverage: Monique Wilson, Arman Ferrer Lead MABINING MANDIRIGMA; Show Closes Sept. 1Monique Wilson

Photo Coverage: Monique Wilson, Arman Ferrer Lead MABINING MANDIRIGMA; Show Closes Sept. 1The Company

Photo Coverage: Monique Wilson, Arman Ferrer Lead MABINING MANDIRIGMA; Show Closes Sept. 1The Company

Photo Coverage: Monique Wilson, Arman Ferrer Lead MABINING MANDIRIGMA; Show Closes Sept. 1Monique Wilson

Photo Coverage: Monique Wilson, Arman Ferrer Lead MABINING MANDIRIGMA; Show Closes Sept. 1The Company

Photo Coverage: Monique Wilson, Arman Ferrer Lead MABINING MANDIRIGMA; Show Closes Sept. 1The Company

Photo Coverage: Monique Wilson, Arman Ferrer Lead MABINING MANDIRIGMA; Show Closes Sept. 1Monique Wilson, Paw Castillo

Photo Coverage: Monique Wilson, Arman Ferrer Lead MABINING MANDIRIGMA; Show Closes Sept. 1The Company

Photo Coverage: Monique Wilson, Arman Ferrer Lead MABINING MANDIRIGMA; Show Closes Sept. 1The Company

Photo Coverage: Monique Wilson, Arman Ferrer Lead MABINING MANDIRIGMA; Show Closes Sept. 1The Company

Photo Coverage: Monique Wilson, Arman Ferrer Lead MABINING MANDIRIGMA; Show Closes Sept. 1The Company

Photo Coverage: Monique Wilson, Arman Ferrer Lead MABINING MANDIRIGMA; Show Closes Sept. 1Arman Ferrrer

Photo Coverage: Monique Wilson, Arman Ferrer Lead MABINING MANDIRIGMA; Show Closes Sept. 1The Company

Photo Coverage: Monique Wilson, Arman Ferrer Lead MABINING MANDIRIGMA; Show Closes Sept. 1The Company

Photo Coverage: Monique Wilson, Arman Ferrer Lead MABINING MANDIRIGMA; Show Closes Sept. 1The Company

Photo Coverage: Monique Wilson, Arman Ferrer Lead MABINING MANDIRIGMA; Show Closes Sept. 1Monique Wilson

Photo Coverage: Monique Wilson, Arman Ferrer Lead MABINING MANDIRIGMA; Show Closes Sept. 1Monique Wilson

Photo Coverage: Monique Wilson, Arman Ferrer Lead MABINING MANDIRIGMA; Show Closes Sept. 1Monique Wilson, Paw Castillo

Photo Coverage: Monique Wilson, Arman Ferrer Lead MABINING MANDIRIGMA; Show Closes Sept. 1Arman Ferrer, Monique Wilson

Photo Coverage: Monique Wilson, Arman Ferrer Lead MABINING MANDIRIGMA; Show Closes Sept. 1Monique Wilson

Photo Coverage: Monique Wilson, Arman Ferrer Lead MABINING MANDIRIGMA; Show Closes Sept. 1Phi Palmos, Monique Wilson

Photo Coverage: Monique Wilson, Arman Ferrer Lead MABINING MANDIRIGMA; Show Closes Sept. 1Mia Bolanos, Monique Wilson

Photo Coverage: Monique Wilson, Arman Ferrer Lead MABINING MANDIRIGMA; Show Closes Sept. 1The Company

Photo Coverage: Monique Wilson, Arman Ferrer Lead MABINING MANDIRIGMA; Show Closes Sept. 1Monique Wilson

Photo Coverage: Monique Wilson, Arman Ferrer Lead MABINING MANDIRIGMA; Show Closes Sept. 1Anthony Peralta, Monique Wilson, Paw Castillo, Juancho Gabriel

Photo Coverage: Monique Wilson, Arman Ferrer Lead MABINING MANDIRIGMA; Show Closes Sept. 1Juancho Gabriel, Monique Wilson

Photo Coverage: Monique Wilson, Arman Ferrer Lead MABINING MANDIRIGMA; Show Closes Sept. 1Phi Palmos, Mia Bolanos

Photo Coverage: Monique Wilson, Arman Ferrer Lead MABINING MANDIRIGMA; Show Closes Sept. 1Monique Wilson

Photo Coverage: Monique Wilson, Arman Ferrer Lead MABINING MANDIRIGMA; Show Closes Sept. 1Paw Castillo

Photo Coverage: Monique Wilson, Arman Ferrer Lead MABINING MANDIRIGMA; Show Closes Sept. 1Arman Ferrer

Photo Coverage: Monique Wilson, Arman Ferrer Lead MABINING MANDIRIGMA; Show Closes Sept. 1Arman Ferrer

Photo Coverage: Monique Wilson, Arman Ferrer Lead MABINING MANDIRIGMA; Show Closes Sept. 1Arman Ferrer, Monique Wilson

Photo Coverage: Monique Wilson, Arman Ferrer Lead MABINING MANDIRIGMA; Show Closes Sept. 1Mia Bolanos, Monique Wilson, Phi Palmos

Photo Coverage: Monique Wilson, Arman Ferrer Lead MABINING MANDIRIGMA; Show Closes Sept. 1JV Ibesate, Monique Wilson

Photo Coverage: Monique Wilson, Arman Ferrer Lead MABINING MANDIRIGMA; Show Closes Sept. 1Monique Wilson



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