mabining mandirigma: a steampunk musical, once more!!! (on february 19 at the ccp)…


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Manila, Philippines 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.
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.
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.
Apolinario Mabini
1898, as President Emilio Aguinaldo’s Adviser, Cabinet President, and first Foreign Minister, Mabini
displayed a warrior’s spirit that belied his paralytic body and a principled character that could not
be compromised by considerations of personal aggrandizement or political expediency. Without
fear, he fought the ilustrado-cacique clique in the Malolos Government that issued government
bonds that would allow them full control of the new government’s finances and activities. When
Aguinaldo replaced Mabini with the political chameleon Paterno as cabinet president, Mabini, now
much weakened by sickness, continued to support the masses fighting the American invaders, even
long after Aguinaldo and his generals had capitulated to the new conquerors. To cut him off from
the revolutionists, the Americans exiled Mabini to Guam. In 1902, his captors shipped him back to
the Islands because he promised to finally take his oath of allegiance to the United States of
America. But as soon as he landed in Manila, he pursued his revolutionary activities until his demise
by cholera in 1903. Apolinario Mabini’s life is as testimony that there exists a politician who can forge
and sharpen the sword of his integrity in the smithy of even the dirtiest kind of politics and still
emerge unbroken, pure, and unblemished.
vhris millado: director
chris millado: director
liesl batucan as mabini
liesl batucan as mabini
arman ferrer as aguinaldo
arman ferrer as aguinaldo
david ezra alternates as aguinaldo
david ezra alternates as aguinaldo
Mabining Mandirigma
Directed by the Cultural Center of the Philippines’ Vice President and Artistic Director Chris Millado
and written by Dr. Nicanor Tiongson, the stellar cast is led by Leisl Batucan essaying the role of
Apolinario Mabini; promising young 2 tenors Arman Ferrer and David Ezra alternate as Emilio
Aguinaldo, while Carol Bello plays Mabini’s Mother, Dionisia. They are joined by the promising talents
from the Tanghalang Pilipino Actors Company. The powerhouse Artistic Staff is comprised by Jed
Balsamo for Music, Denisa Reyes for Choreography, Toym Imao for Set Design, Katsch Catoy for
Lighting Design, GA Fallarme for Projection Design, James Reyes for Costume Design, Barbie Tan-
Tiongco for Technical Direction and TJ Ramos for Sound Design.
 Mabini” means “genteel” or “gentle”, while “mandirigma” means “warrior”.
You 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, Mabin ing 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,
 Written by Dr. Nicanor Tiongson, this musical
play foregrounds the legal and diplomatic heroism of Apolinario Mabini. Coincidentally, as the
culminating production to commemorate the sesquicentennial birth of who was considered the
brains of the revolution, Mabining Mandi rigma, once again promises audience to an exciting
journey through history as it utilizes Steampun k, 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.
The musical off in 1898, as President Emilio Aguinaldo’s Adviser, Cabinet President, and first Foreign
Minister, Mabini displayed a warrior’s spirit that belied his paralytic body and a principled character
that could not be compromised by considerations of personal aggrandizement or political
expediency. Without fear, he fought the ilustrado-cacique clique in the Malolos Government that
issued government bonds that would allow them full control of the new government’s finances and
activities. When Aguinaldo replaced Mabini with the political chameleon Paterno as cabinet
president, Mabini, now much weakened by sickness, continued to support the masses fighting the
American invaders, even long after Aguinaldo and his generals had capitulated to the new
conquerors. To cut him off from the revolutionists, the Americans exiled Mabini to Guam. In 1902, his
captors shipped him back to the Islands because he promised to finally take his oath of allegiance
to the United States of America. But as soon as he landed in Manila, he pursued his revolutionary
activities until his demise by cholera in 1903. Apolinario Mabini’s life is as testimony that there exists a
politician who can forge and sharpen the sword of his integrity in the smithy of even the dirtiest kind
of politics and still emerge unbroken, pure, and unblemished.
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.
jv ibesate
jv ibesate
(WRITERS: JV Ibesate is part of the Tanghalang Pilipino Actors Company and last appeared in
Tanghalang Pilipino’s prod uction of Kanakan-BalintagosMga Buhay na Apoy. He graduated with a
degree in Broadcast Communication, cum laude, from the University of the Philippines, Diliman. JV
essays the role of political tur ncoat Pedro Paterno in this production.
Christine Penserga is currentl y the Marketing Manager of the Tanghalang Pilipino. She graduated
from Philippinie High School for the Arts, majoring in Theater Arts).

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