#TheaterPH - Tanghalang Pilipino stages National Artist Abdulmari Imao’s ‘Anak Datu’ this September!

The musical theater "Anak Datu" weaves together tensions from a folktale, a sharp social realism, and a family drama to promote peace in a multiverse post-pandemic setting. Before the birth of his first child Abdulmari Jr., who is now an artist in his own right and goes by the name Toym Imao, Imao wrote the narrative in 1968.

Photo by Paw Castillo for Tanghalang Pilipino

The story of "Anak Datu," which was adapted for the stage by renowned veteran playwright Rody Vera and is being directed by former CCP Vice President and Artistic Director Chris Millado, is about the son of a local chieftain in the Sulu Archipelago during pre-colonial Philippines.

The hamlet is raided by pirates before he is born, and his mother gives birth while being held captive. As a result, he develops the belief that his father was once a pirate. The son learns the truth about his real father when the old guy passes away. Alongside other events in Mindanao's history and the family life of Abdulmari Imao, this short narrative gave birth to Vera's theatrical adaption.

Playing the young Abdulmari is TP Associate Artistic Director Marco Viaña. TP Artistic Director Fernando “Nanding” Josef plays Jibin Arula. Other major roles are played by TP Actors Company senior members Antonette Go (Imao’s wife Grace de Leon), Lhorvie Nuevo (Putli Loling); TP guest artists Tex Ordoñez-de Leon (Putli Loling), Carlos Dala (Binatang Karim/Toym Imao), and Sining Kambayoka’s Hassanain Magarang (Datu Karim), who also choreographs the show.

As their debut performance with Tanghalang Pilipino for live theater, playing various roles are TP Actors Company scholars Edrick Alcontado, Arjhay Babon, Mitzi Comia, Judie Dimayuga, Earle Figuracion, Vince Macapobre, Aggy Mago, Sarah Monay, Heart Puyong, and Mark Lorenz.

Joining the artistic tandem of Millado and Vera are Composer and Musical Director Chino Toledo; Choreographer Magarang; Set Designer Imao; Costume Designer John Carlo Pagunaling; Sound Designer and Engineer TJ Ramos; Lighting Designer Katsch Catoy and Projection Designer GA Fallarme.

“Anak Datu” is also the maiden production of the newly built Tanghalang Ignacio Gimenez at the Cultural Center of the Philippines from September 16 to October 9. For tickets, go to bit.ly/AnakDatuTickets and stay tuned to the Tanghalang Pilipino Facebook Page for promos and discounts. For showbuyer inquiries, please contact 09156072275 or email tanghalangpilipinomarketing@gmail.com

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