Mabining Mandirigma: A Steampunk Musical

Photo Credits: Tanghalang Pilipino
Mabining Mandirigma tells the story of Apolinario Mabini and how he fought the colonizers and even fellow Filipinos whom he believes were in favor of the former. Despite his disease, he still managed to fight for what is just and right for the people. This clearly showed how Mabini was tagged as the brain and conscience of the revolution.

First of, I’d like to commend Sir Toym Imao, the great mind behind the beautiful set design. The gears on stage, however, kind of reminded me of Wicked and the three guys moving the set around reminded me of the gargoyles in Beauty and the Beast Musical. 

Of all the actors, Arman Ferrer, the guy who played Aguinaldo, is the stand out for me. Although it seemed like he had overpowered some of the casts, for me, he was effective in portraying a leader that is strong yet still has a soft side when it comes to his friend and confidant, Mabini. Of course, I’d also like to compliment Delphine Buencamino, the fine lady who played Mabini. Taking a lead role, especially that is of the opposite gender, is very challenging and she still managed to keep up with the rest. My favorite scene is the confrontration of Aguinaldo and Mabini. When Mabini decided to quit his post and can’t stand to see his friend, Aguinaldo, slowly getting influenced by the Ilustrados. Their acting is intense. Gives me chills. It is heartbreaking to see two good friends part ways just because of Mabinis' principles and Aguinaldo’s unwanted decisions brought about by the oppressors that are the rich and powerful.

On the other hand, the addition of modern trends in a, supposed to be, serious matter being told surely lightened the approach which made it more interesting and less boring. Imagine the illustrados doing a flip top battle that represented a debate during the formulation of the Malolos Constitution and a selfie stick being used in a gathering. Weird right? But, hey, it worked! It definitely added fun to the refreshing take of such a significant story that is now part of our history. It did remind me of that funny viral post where our heroes are shown having conversation and arguments in Facebook. 

Now, for the interesting part of the show. Why was Mabini portrayed by a lady? It is not explicitly mentioned but that conversation of Mabini with her mother gave the clue. Being the conscience of the revolution, Mabini had a lot of things in mind, but due to his disease, he can only do so much. During that time, women are treated as such. 

The cast and production staff of Mabining Mandirigma during their last show.

Another interesting fact in the story is that what happened during their time is still prevalent today. The illustrados, who were once part of the congress, did nothing but to protect their own interests. I am not generalizing but with all the scandals unfolded during the present administration, it does sound familiar right? There are even more “blind items” thrown to the audience towards the end of the show and some were just hard to guess. I just hope there are still Mabinis in our government today. Mabinis who’d voice out the sentiments of the poor and the oppressed. Mabinis who are ready to unfold anomalies regardless of the possible consequences they might face for doing so. Mabinis who are there to fight for the people no matter what.

Mabining Mandirigma is very timely as the elections are just around the corner and, hopefully, the people behind it can reach out to those who doesn’t have access to such an inspirational and eye-opening entertainment.
Edward Santos

EDnything is a lifestyle and entertainment blog featuring great deals and happenings in the Philippines. It also features food reviews, gadgets, showbiz, movies and theater plays, and more!

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