How well do you know our local hero Apolinario Mabini aside from him being the great and wise paralytic? Mabini was a silent hero. He may be the less popular one but his works and writings were his lasting legacy to a troubled nation we still have today.
One of theatre’s active productions, Dulaang UP recently held a press conference to promote their latest gem, Ang Huling Lagda ni Apolinario Mabini based on the book and libretto by one of my theatre idols, Floy Quintos. Original music by Krina Cayabyab. Direction and choreography by Dexter M. Santos.
Ang Huling Lagda ni Apolinario Mabini is a one-act play that begins in April 1901, one late afternoon on a beach in Guam. The exiled Apolinario Mabini and his brother Prudencio receive bitter news from fellow exile, General Artemio Ricarte. Emilio Aguinaldo has signed the oath of allegiance to the United States. The news brings back memories of the Revolution to which Mabini devoted so much of his life. The man known as the most consistent opponent of American sovereignty must now contemplate his own signing of the oath of allegiance.
In 1903, on board the SS Thomas, Mabini, Ricarte and Prudencio take in their first glimpse of Manila since their exile. Yet in order to disembark as free men, they must first pledge allegiance to the US. General William Taft appears and makes his condition very clear. In the process almost breaking Mabini. A Filipina nurse, Salud, ministers to Mabini. Their encounter changes Salud forever as it does the homesick Mabini.
The cast and ensemble rendered three out of seven songs: “Hindi Ito Ang Bayan Ko”, “Maikling Kasaysayan” and Sapat Na Ito”.
After hearing all three powerful pieces, I was eager and excited to listen to the rest! Among the main cast present were Roeder Camañag, Al Gatmaitan, Leo Rialp and Ms.Banaue Maclit, who were unanimous in saying they are all having a smooth flow of rehearsals and practices under Santos and Quintos. Very notable is for the music to be available a month before actual rehearsals.
“Hopefully, this musical reflects that very stoic and selfless character that has made Mabini the most underappreciated of our Revolutionary heroes.” notes Quintos/
For stage director Dexter Santos, this project is his gift to mentor-professor and veteran director Tony Mabesa. “This is a very exciting work for me, in terms of effort. I am blessed and it is very nice to be working with these talented group of people. I get to collaborate with them and they welcome change.”
Speaking of mentors, Santos was also the professor in movement class of Krina Cayabyab, yes you guessed it right, she’s the daughter of maestro Mr. C aka Ryan Cayabyab and this production is her debut musical. “I am excited, there was a lot of work and a lot of research that had been done, but I enjoyed every minute. And I’m very thankful.” shared Krina.
“We wanted a musical that would reflect Mabini’s character, his introspection, his statesmanship,” says Quintos. “It is easy to see why a work dedicated to Mabini is a rarity, even during the celebration of his sesquicentennial. To the public mind, there are no great bravura moments, no dramatic battles or acts of extreme heroism that can be associated with Mabini.”
The rest of the cast is topbilled by Poppert Bernadas, Jean Judith Javier and Nazer Salcedo. An ensemble of promising actors comprise the supporting cast: Ralph Oliva, Chase Salazar, Adrian Reyes, Arion Sanchez, Bym Buhain, Edmundo Abad, Jr., Ralph Perez, Ross Pesigan, Roco Sanchez, Rence Aviles, Jon Abella and Vincent Pajara.
He can be seen in teleseryes, mainstream and even indie movies aside from his theatre stints. Mr. Leo Rialp is all praise to stage actors of today. “The actors here at Dulaang UP have very good training. It’s nice working with them. And it’s a good time to be in theatre!”
The artistic staff is courtesy of Ohm David for set design, John Batalla for lights design, Darwin Desoacido on costumes, assistant choreography by Stephen Viñas, technical direction by Melton Roxas, Jr, dramaturgy by Marvin Olaes, Miggy Panganiban, Fatimy Ivy Baggao and Krystynne Vargas while poster design and photography by Dino Dimar.
Ang Huling Lagda ni Apolinario Mabini runs from October 1-19, 2014 at the Wilfrido Ma. Guerrero Theater, 2nd floor Palma Hall, University of the Philippines, Diliman. Weekday shows of Wednesday to Fridays are at 7PM while one can catch the weekend plays at 10AM and 3PM.
“We wanted a musical that would reflect Mabini’s character, his introspection, his statesmanship,” says Quintos. “It is easy to see why a work dedicated to Mabini is a rarity, even during the celebration of his sesquicentennial. To the public mind, there are no great bravura moments, no dramatic battles or acts of extreme heroism that can be associated with Mabini. Hopefully, this musical reflects that very stoic and selfless character that has made Mabini the most underappreciated of our Revolutionary heroes.”
Ang Huling Lagda also instills a new pride and importance in his greatest work – the True Decalogue. The musical also allows audiences to be more familiar with the value of Mabini’s greatest opus and hopefully strengthens their sense of duty to their country.
“If there is one thing that we really hope this musical can do,” continues Quintos, “it is to awaken interest in Mabini’s True Decalogue, which is no longer taught in schools. His greatest work was designed to be a code of personhood for the Filipinos of the revolution. Reading it again, I could not help but think this was the very moral compass that young Filipinos so lack in these times.”
Tickets are priced at P350.00. For shows and ticket inquiries you may contact Samantha Clarin or Camile Guevara at 926-1349, 433-7840, 981-8500 local 2449 or email [email protected].