For the third production of the 33rd Theater Season “Makidigma,” Tanghalang Pilipino will introduce to Filipino youth our very own epic literature through the lens and narrative of young artists, or the “fresh bloods” in the industry.

Coming from the brave tribe warriors in the North, “Lam-ang” will take the centerstage this December dressed as an ethno-epic musical starring TV, movie, and theater actor JC Santos. He will be joined by Anna Luna who is making Tanghalang Pilipino debut as Kannoyan, Lam-ang’s love interest.

Originally titled “Biag ni Lam-ang” (The Life of Lam-ang), Lam-ang tells the adventure of a son in search of his lost father and falling in love with a maiden sought by many suitors.

Staying true to the theme “Makidigma” or “To battle,” the musical would show how the protagonist will combat his lust for power.

Fernando “Nanding” Josef, artistic director of Tanghalang Pilipino, hopes that the young batch of artistic director of the musical as well as the cast will hone the musical in a way that it can cut across the younger generation.

“We’re in an era where if you’ll ask some youth of their myth or epic, they’ll probably answer it’s Percy Jackson or if it’s theater, maybe Phantom of the Opera, or anything from the Broadway or Disney,” said Josef during the press launch, Nov. 20

The veteran theater and movie actor has become worried about how today’s youth are dominated by foreign pop culture.

Josef added that at the time where literature and history are being ignored and worse, being “bastardized” by colonial teachings, it is just fitting for Tanghalang Pilipino to focus in these types of production.

He has helped produce several plays of Filipino myths such as Ibalong, Hinalawod, and Hudhud.

Meanwhile, director Fitz Edward Torres confessed it feels surreal seeing his childhood hero to be breathed to life by none other than himself.

As a native Ilocano from Abra, Ilocos Sur, where the story is believed to have originated from, Torres has memorized the story of Lam-ang.

“If most youth then and now have Superman as their hero, well, I had Lam-ang,” Torres said.

He further added that like the immortal hero, he grew up without a father, and this might be the reason he thought Lam-ang’s was the reflection of his life. In fact, it was also his undergraduate thesis at the University of Philippines-Diliman.

Different set, production

The main protagonist, meanwhile, admitted he faced a dilemma during rehearsals.

JC Santos, coming from a hiatus on theater because of projects on the big screen, , said it has been difficult to re-learn the discipline of acting on stage.

According to the actor, the most challenging part of going back to theater was that he has to move his all body unlike in TV in which he only has to give what was needed in a single frame.

“The discipline right now is far from what I used to do for a long time. I had to give my all best in here to really perform and act well,” Santos said.

Lam-ang will premiere December 6 to 15, 2019 atTanghalang Aurelio Tolentino (CCP Little Theater). # nordis.net

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