Tanghalang Pilipino goes experimental in their upcoming production of Malou Jacob’s “Batang Mujahideen,” a play about interactions of Muslims and Christians in Mindanao and how it affects the young.

“Batang Mujahideen” taps artist, playwright and Tanghalang Ateneo’s Artistic Director Guelan Luarca to helm this play.

“This play hopes to be catalysts of empathy and social action,” said Guelan, who shares staging credits with the members of the Tanghalang Pilipino Actors Company (AC). “This production also features AC, not only as actors and artists, but as ethical, engaged researchers and citizens.”

Through “Batang Mujahideen,” Guelan, who is also the Artistic Director of Tanghalang Ateneo, hopes to highlight the inevitable connection between art and politics.

BATANG - Peace play about Muslims and Christians

‘Batang Mujahideen’

Sharing his vision about the play, Guelan shared, “’Batang Mujahideen’ will use experimental, non-traditional modes of theater production – documentary theater, devised theater, multimedia; movement and dance, traditional, experimental, and postmodern forms, research performance, metatheater, among others.”

He emphasized that the point is to always, constantly obviate that this is a mediated narrative, filtered through the sense-impressions of Manila-based artists, and by way of the imagination of Malou.

“With the guidance of a Moro dramaturg and consultants from Mindanao, we offer this play as a mere representation of a reality in Mindanao which is far richer, far more human, far more complex than we can yearn to portray,” clarified Guelan. “The audience will always be uncomfortably aware that this is a play, a performance, an interpretation of a reality we are honored to portray.”

Guelan promised to exhaust the entire production’s training as artists and performance makers to tell Malou’s important historical fiction about a part of our nation which we, in the capital, all too often ignore.

“Batang Mujahideen” features the multi-awarded members of the Actors Company (AC) , who reaped awards for critically-acclaimed productions of “Der Kaufmann (Merchant of Venice),” “Ang Pag-uusig (The Crucible),” and recently headlined the hit show “Katsuri (Of Mice and Men).

Members of the AC are Jonathan Tadioan, Marco Viaña, Doray Dayao, JV Ibesate, Lhorvie Nuevo, Antonette Go, Ybes Bagadiong, Manok Nellas, and Eunice Pacia.

“Batang Muhahideen” goes onstage at the Little Theater of the Cultural Center of the Philippines from Feb. 21 to March 8.

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