Tanghalang Pilipino’s Lam-ang, with a new book written by Eljay Deldoc and music and lyrics by Jen Darlene Torres, is set to open at the CCP Little Theater on December 6.
Artistic Director Nanding Josef says that staging this production is part of their mission of promoting Filipino epics that have been lost through time. “Lam-ang is one of our epics, pero hindi gaanong alam ng ating mga kabataan.”
“This is one of the important epics na pwedeng makasabi sa atin kung sino tayo bilang Pilipino– tungkol sa kabayanihan ng mga pre-hispanic epic heroes natin at values na sa palagay ko ay nakakalimutan na nating lahat.
Marco Viaña, who co-directs the production with Fitz Bitana, shares that they first encountered this material when he and the rest of the Tanghalang Pilipino Actor’s Company went to UP to watch the thesis version of the musical in 2018.
“Nagustuhan namin iyung kanilang staging. Nakita namin ang potential ng kanilang binuong dula.” Jen Darlene Torres served as the playwright, composer, and musical director for that thesis play, while Bitana served as the director
JC Santos stars as Lam-ang, which marks his first lead role in a musical. He shares that he has dreamt of performing with the company at the CCP ever since he was an 18-year old student performing in Dulaang UP.
“Aksyon na aksyon siya,” JC Santos shares, when asked about the choreography in the show. “Kailangan naming ipakita iyung journey ni Lam-ang eh. Epic siya so ang dami niyang pinuntahan. Ang dami niyang nasakop. At makikita iyung mga nakalaban niya. Kailangan aksyon na aksyon iyun, with fighting scenes, choreography, and great, risky, death-defying stunts.
Viaña adds, “Kasi known na si Lam-ang ay isang warrior so iyun iyung isang pinakaimportanteng aspect na maipakita natin sa kanya, kung ano iyung physical abilities ni Lam-ang.”
Anna Luna, who also makes her debut with the company, will be playing Ines Kannoyan, Lam-ang’s great love. Tex Ordoñez-de Leon will be playing the role of Baglan/narrator.
Also in the cast are Ybes Bagadiong as Tangguob, Lance Reblando as Taraok, Jonathan Tadioan as Gibuan, Alvin Maghanoy as Batang Lam-ang, Hazel Maranan as Namongan, Remus Villanueva as Lokan, Raflesia Bravo as Saridandan, Joshua Cabiladas as Gumakas, Paw Castillo as Sumarang, and Karenina Ng as Unnayan.
The ensemble members include Francis Gatmaytan, Rapah Manalo, VJ Cortel, Gabo Tolentino, Gry Gimena, Miah Canton, Alys Serdenia, JV Ibesate, Lhorvie Nuevo, and Antonette Go.
Jen Darlene Torres, an indie artist whose discipline stems from the underground music industry, writes the music and lyrics for the production. She says that audiences can expect elements of chanting and indigenous instruments, with a pop and alternative rock sound.
Joining Viaña (who also serves as set designer), Bitana, Deldoc (who also serves as co-lyricist), and Torres are TJ Ramos (musical director and sound designer), JM Cabling (choreographer), Bonsai Cielo (costume designer), and Meliton Roxas Jr. (lighting designer).
The show will run from December 6-15 at the CCP Little Theater. You can watch excerpt performances by the cast in the video below.