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‘Anak Datu’, ‘Sandosenang Sapatos’, and ‘Pingkian’ in Tanghalang Pilipino’s 37th Season

‘Anak Datu’, ‘Sandosenang Sapatos’, and ‘Pingkian’ in Tanghalang Pilipino’s 37th Season

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Tanghalang Pilipino marks its 37th season with the theme Unfilter!, a concept that aims to empower the youth by encouraging them to speak the truth without constraint, or as Associate Artistic Director Marco Viaña says, “Isang hamon sa mga manonood na walang alinlangan at patuloy na lumaban para sa katotohanan.

“From last season, dahil sa nangyari sa eleksyon, naisip namin na maging platform iyung Tanghalang Pilipino para magtawid at magkuwento ng katotohanan,” adds Viaña. Tapos targeting iyung kabataan specifically kasi lahat ng kuwentong ito tungkol sa buhay at experiences nila; na gusto natin silang matuto na gamitin iyung kapangyarihan nila para sa katotohanan.”

The season’s trio of productions begins with the rerun of the company’s 2022 production Anak Datu, a story that revolves around a son of a village chieftain in Muslim Mindanao during pre-colonial Philippines, based on National Artist Abdulmari Imao’s short story of the same name. It is succeeded by a restaging of Sandosenang Sapatos, a musical also based on a short story of the same name written by Dr. Luis Gatmaitan. It follows the journey of Susie, a child who was born without feet, but who wishes to fulfill her shoemaker father’s dream of having a ballerina for a daughter. 

The season culminates with the debut of Pingkian: Isang Musikal, an exploration of Emilio Jacinto’s life during the tail end of the Philippine revolution up to the start of the Philippine-American war.  

Antonette Go, a senior member of the Tanghalang Pilipino Actors Company, underscores the significance of these productions. “May mga bata diyan sa Anak Datu, meron tayong batang Toym Imao, na siya iyung naging boses para sa mga Mindanaoans. Sa Sandosenang Sapatos, iyung boses ni Susie, at siyempre iyung kay Emilio Jacinto, one of the youngest heroes natin. So even in the next generation, may pag-asa sa kanila. We are empowering them to unfilter what they have in their voice.”

What can we expect from the 3 productions? Director Chris Millado says that Anak Datu is in its “version 2.0.” 

“We’re addressing some of the issues not only in terms of content but also in terms of staging na naging problematic doon sa first one,” he says. “It is a much improved and hopefully even a more effective and more powerful version.” The play with music features returning cast members Carlos Dala, Antonette Go-Yadao, Mark Lorenz, Hassanain Magarang, Tex Ordeñez-De Leon, Lhorvie Nuevo-Tadioan, Vince Macapobre, Edrick Alcontado, Sarah Monay, Heart Puyong, Mitzi Comia, Arjhay Babon, and new cast members Paul Jake Paule, Gie Onida, and Ramli Abdurahim.

Anak Datu will be staged from September 29 to October 15.

For Sandosenang Sapatos, director Jonathan Tadioan says, “This is the 10th year of Sandosenang Sapatos, so siyempre, kailangan ng level up.” The show will feature a new concept and a new cast, led by Felicity Kyle Napuli and Wincess Jem Yana, who will alternate as Susie in both their Tanghalang Pilipino debuts. It will be staged from November 17 to December 3.

For Pingkian: Isang Musikal, composer Ejay Yatco says that it is predominantly a rock musical infused with different types of rock genre. Among his current music inspirations are Ben & Ben and Bamboo, among many others. “Kasi Pingkian is about youth, so we wanted something that would appeal to the next generation. Right now, we have 15 songs out of 23. It’s not completely sung-through but it’s a lot of music.” He says that a lot of Jacinto’s actual essays and writings, like The Kartilya ng Katipunan, are being turned into the songs.

Playwright Juan Ekis, who writes his first musical with Tanghalang Pilipino, says that it is challenging to create because there’s not a lot of source materials about Emilio Jacinto. “Iyung kakaunting nahanap namin, we tried to transform into a 2-act musical. Iyung isa sa mga pinakasikat na sinulat niya ay Liwanag sa Dilim, and that’s how I constructed the two acts– dilim sa act 1 and liwanag sa act 2. It’s about his dreams habang nakikipaglaban siya sa kamatayan.”

“Parang hinahabol siya ng konsensiya niya doon sa dalawa o tatlong oras na pakikipaghabulan sa mga multo ng Katipunan, multo ng kasaysayan.”

Director Jenny Jamora says that it’s a rousing mediation on what’s in the middle of the two extremes– the kind of revolution that Bonifacio sought and the kind of revolution that Rizal sought. “He kind of falls somewhere in the middle in terms of how violent or how peaceful you can go. That’s where most of us fall right? I’ve attended a few rallies but I’ve never shed any blood. But to answer the question, ‘Is what I do enough for my country?’ That’s like the main theme for what the show is about.”

“And also what is revolution these days. What does it look like? Does it have to be out in the streets or can it be inside the self?”

Vic Robinson will be playing Emilio Jacinto and Gab Pangilinan will be playing his wife, Catalina de Jesus. It will be staged from March 1 to 24, 2024.

All 3 productions will be staged at the CCP Black Box Theater. Tickets are available through Ticket2Me.

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