A musical production set to mark a milestone in the country’s theater scene is the staging of “Lapulapu Ang Datu ng Mactan” written by Nicolas B. Pichay (ACC 2009, Ma-Yi Theater Company), with set and costume design by Gino Gonzales (ACC 1998-2000).
The stage production is a fitting tribute to the victory of local hero Lapulapu (La/pù la/pù) against Colonial Spain’s “attempts to subjugate a number of the tribes then living in the islands in 1521.” The National Historical Institute of the Philippines leads the celebration that also coincides with the 500th year anniversary of the circumnavigation of the globe.
Nic shares, “I wrote the play not only as a story about the victory of a local Datu over an adventurer, but also as a commentary on the need of humans to discover new worlds for themselves and for some kind of higher calling (religion, maybe. Or economic gain.) In the process, I had to say something about colonialism, globalization, and how in contemporary times, the pandemic could make heroes of us all. Some of these ideas percolated with me while I was doing my ACC Fellowship.”
Coincidentally, the play is made more significant as the chosen show to reopen the newly refurbished major architectural structure in the heart of Manila. The Metropolitan Theatre built in 1931, has been closed since the 1980's and recently undergone incredible restoration work back to “its former gleaming self.”
Following lockdown restrictions, instead of a live audience, the production team filmed the live performance under strict compliance to health protocols. The show, starring Arman Ferrer and directed by Dexter Santos, will be streamed at 6pm (Manila Time) via FB.com/METPHOFFICIAL.
Photos courtesy of Nic Pichay
Clockwise-show poster, production stills, playwright Nic Pichay by the entrance of The Metropolitan Theater