Manila, Philippines – “Mabini” means “genteel” or “gentle”, while “mandirigma” means “warrior”. Put the two together and you get a play of words that describe the magnificent anachronism that is Tanghalang Pilipino’s gender-bending steampunk musical hit play, MABINING MANDIRIGMA.
With the overwhelming success of its initial run last July 2015 at the Cultural Center of the Philippines, Tanghalang Pilipino, the resident theater company of the Cultural Center of the Philippines, with the support of the National Commission for the Culture and Arts, brings back the hit musical play, Mabining Mandirigma to cap off its 29th theatre season. Written by Dr. Nicanor Tiongson, this musical play foregrounds the legal and diplomatic heroism of Apolinario Mabini.
TP’s MABINING MANDIRIGMA is one of The Jellicle Blog’s Top 3 Musicals of 2015. Click here for the review.
Coincidentally, as the culminating production to commemorate the sesquicentennial birth of who was considered the brains of the revolution, MABINING MANDIRIGMA, once again promises audience to an exciting journey through history as it utilizes Steampunk, a subgenre of science fiction that incorporates technology and aesthetic designs inspired by 19th Century industrial steam-powered machinery, as a fitting backdrop to an already action-packed musical.
Despite that, Mabini remained a member of the minority, a character that belonged to a lesser category that can only be described as the “others”. Because of his disability, he shared the same status as that of the women during that time. And what better way to explore this “othering” than to a cast a woman to play Apolinario Mabini. For this run, Liesl Batucan owns the stage as the sublime paralytic. One of the reasons of this untraditional casting is to experience the idea of “othering” in a musical where you hear an alto amidst all the tenors and basses.
MABINING MANDIRIGMA, A Steampunk Musical runs at the Cultural Center of the Philippines’ Tanghalang Aurelio Tolentino (Little Theater) from February 19 to March 13, 2016, Fridays to Sundays, with 3:00PM (Matinee) and 8:00PM (Gala) shows.
SOURCE: Tanghalang Pilipino
PHOTOS BY: Mr. Erickson dela Cruz