UP Manila Dramatista Stages Filipino Musical ‘Lean’
“The struggle for freedom is the next best thing to actually being free”
27 year-old UP Diliman student and noted “iskolar ng bayan” named Leandro Alejandro was shot and killed in September 19, 1987. As the iconic student activist, Lean fought for national democracy in the university and in the nation. He is one of the unsung heroes who have sacrificed their lives during the turbulent days of the martial law. His life has defined an era of student activism and his work still inspires the youth today.
Students of the University of the Philippines, being a state-funded institution, are called “Iskolar ng Bayan” or People’s Scholars. The description gained political weight during the First Quarter Storm (FQS) in the 70s, a time of discontent by a generation of Baby Boomers. The description also carried with it the aphorism “Serve the people.”
Described as a Filipino left wing activist and nationalist, UP student leader Lean Alejandro actively fought the dictatorship in the 1980s. Lean became a member of the Youth for Nationalism and Democracy in 1980-81. In 1983, he was chosen as a President of its University Student Council (USC). After Benigno “Ninoy” Aquino Jr. – himself a fighter and hero and a great pride of the UP students– was assasinated, Lean left the University and went full time in the anti-Marcos struggle. In 1985, Lean was one of the founders of the left-wing umbrella organization BAYAN becoming it’s Secretary-General. He was arrested and detained for two months and participated in the 1986 EDSA People Power Revolt after he was released. Post-EDSA Revolution, Alejandro ran for a seat at the Philippine House of Representatives for the small district Navotas-Malabon losing to Teresa Aquino-Oreta, the sister-in-law of then president Corazon Aquino. in a controversial and disputed election.
After losing in the election, Lean returned to his previous activities as secretary-general of nationalist organization Bagong Alyansang Makabayan. Lean openly criticized the 1987 coup d’tat that killed and injured innocent civilians. On 19 September 1987, after the failed coup attempt led by Col. Gregorio Honasan, Alejandro announced plans for a major demonstration against the return to fascism. Returning by car to the headquarters of BAYAN, he was fired upon by a gunman instantly killing Alejandro. One suspected that the assassination had been in the angle of Marcos loyalists from the Philippine Army, but no one was arrested for the assassination. Up to this untimely death, Lean offered his life to people’s movement, speaking in mass demonstrations, writing articles and discussing social issues inside the campus and in urban poor communities.
Lean’s multi-roles as activist, politician, friend, husband, son and father will be recreated in the forthcoming LEAN – A FILIPINO MUSICAL produced by UP Manila Dramatista.
About the Show
LEAN – A FILIPINO MUSICAL shall also feature powerful catchy songs that breathe new life to the many different characters and personas of the 1980s. Through song and dance, the musical not only tells the story of the influential student activist but also creatively re-imagines the loud cries of the masses.
The September 1997 original production of LEAN THE FILIPINO MUSICAL was produced by the Leándro L. Alejandro Foundation and the UP Student Council in cooperation with the UP Diliman Committee for Arts and Culture. The musical featured renowned artists like Chikoy Pura, Bayang Barrios, Cookie Chua, and Noel Cabangon. In 2013, it was restaged by the University of the Philippines Repertory Company (UP Rep) with youth activists Vencer Crisostomo of Anakbayan and Third Alub of the League of Filipino Students who both played the role of Lean.
Cast and Artistic Team
The cast are as follows: Kenneth Mangurit (Lean), Frances Mendoza (Lidy), Carlo Cabahug (Ka Tanny), Carmela Reyes (Bobby), Dean Lopez (Edward), Lalaine Quinan (Jojo), Neil Suyat (Noli), Raffy Baybay (Chino) and Uriel Molina (Mr. Tim).
Don’t fail to watch this musical about the turbulent 1980s written by Gary Granada, one of the Philippines’ best composers of songs that evoke nationalism and pride in our country. In this musical play, Gary Granada remixed the tune of “UP Naming Mahal” in a contemporary rock version and gave it a new and more “nationalistic sounding” lyrics, reasserting the purpose of the Iskolar ng Bayan as a “Iskolar ng Sambayanan, Tagapaglingkod ng Taongbayan”.
The playdates are: May 12 , 7 PM and May 13, – 4 PM / 7 PM.
Venue: Adamson University Theater located at 900 San Marcelino St., Ermita Manila
For further details and tickets, please call 0906-427-3981 c/o Zoe Caballero.
For more information about what’s happening in the Manila theater scene, please view our Theater Calendar.