THE VERY first production to be presented in the newly restored Metropolitan Theater since it closed in 1996 will be a musical about Lapulapu and the First Around the World.
Lapulapu, Ang Datu ng Mactan airs online on October 24 at 6 p.m.
A production of the National Commission for Culture and the Arts (NCCA), the musical is part of the five-year commemorations in the Philippines and National Indigenous Peoples Month.
“The Met is once again ready to continue its mission as a structure that will bring together artists, cultural workers and people to experience Filipino culture and arts,” said Marichu G. Tellano, executive director of the ‘OCI-NCCA, at an online press conference. conference on October 12.
“As a contribution to the national celebration of the quinquennium of the 500e year of the first world tour and the battle of Mactan, we proposed the Met as the venue for this production, âshe added.
The production had been postponed twice – initially scheduled for April 28 this year with the opening of the theater, and then August 30 alongside the celebration of National Heroes Day. Both times the show didn’t take place because the COVID-19 pandemic got in the way.
With a libretto written by award-winning poet and lawyer Nicolas B. Pichay set to music by Krina Cayabyab, Lapulapu, the Datu of Mactan is headed by Dexter M. Santos (Ang Huling El Bimbo; Orosman to Zafira) with choreography by Stephen ViÃ±as and Kenneth Torres. NCCA President Arsenio “Nick” Lizaso is the artistic director of the production.
âIn this piece, we look back and clarify how Lapulapu became an instrument of our independence. It is also the story of our people that is not written in the history books, âsaid Mr. Pichay.
The play unpacks the many events commemorated this year, including Mactan’s victory in 1521, told from the perspective of the mysterious Lapulapu; around the world, told from the perspective of travel writer Juan Sebastian Elcano; and the arrival of Christianity in the Philippines, seen by Reyna Juana.
The musical explores how history – and what people choose to take from it – contributes to the cultural identity and strength of any nation.
“In writing the play, I included elements of history, myths and mysterious elements of the time,” Pichay said, adding that the story includes themes of courage and unity.
âI hope the coin will help us unite as a steadfast nation and a courageous people,â he said.
The main cast is theater actor Arman Ferrer, who plays Lapulapu, with Andre Tiangco as Ferdinand Magellan, Red Nuestro as Rajah Humabon, Cara Barredo as Reyna Juana, Natasha Cabrera as Babaylan, Paw Castillo as Enrique de Malacca, Robert Barbers as Juan Sebastian de Elcano, Al Gatmaitan as Antonio Pigafetta and Ivan Niccolo Nery as Pope Alexander XI and Padre Pedro de Valderrama.
The production team includes Adriana Agcaoili as Creative Director, Gino Gonzales as Production Designer, Dennis Marasigan as Lighting Director and GA Fallarme as Video Designer.
In addition to the main theater with 990 seats (compared to 1,600 seats), the recently restored Metropolitan Theater includes a cinema with a Dolby Atmos sound system. The Met’s opening is now slated for December 10 (www.bworldonline.com/a-long-awaited-revival/).
Lapulapu, Ang Datu ng Mactan will air simultaneously on the official Facebook pages of the Metropolitan Theater, NCCA, Radio Television MalacaÃ±ang, Presidential Communications Operations Office, National Historical Commission of the Philippines and National Quincentennial Committee on October 24 at 6 p.m. Platform release dates ktx.ph, TFC and iWantTV will be announced at a later date. – Michelle Anne P. Soliman