MANILA—Internationally-recognized theater and film director Anton Juan has transformed the classic play of celebrated playwright Bienvenido Noriega, Jr. into a refreshing new musical billed as Bayan Bayanan. This will be staged at the CCP Tanghalang Nicanor Abelardo on July 15, 16, 2022 (7pm shows) and July 17, 2022 (matinee).
The play portrays the heart-warming and, sometimes, heartbreaking stories of Filipinos trying to carve a better life for themselves abroad.
Making up the cast are well-known theater actors as well as first-time stage performers. Professional theater actress and singer Banaue Miclat-Janssen portrays the central character, “Manang.” Banaue has performed in various spaces and films in the Philippines and abroad. She is an Aliw Awards Foundation Hall of Fame for Best Performer awardee.
Ava Olivia Santos, a singer, recording artist, and an actor in theater, film and television, portrays a Filipino nurse, struggling to carve a better life for herself abroad, seeking a fairy tale love.
Noriega wrote himself into the story as Dino, a scholar sent to study abroad on an international scholarship, much as Boy Noriega was, when he was inspired to write the play. Dino is portrayed by theater actor and classically trained singer Carlo Mañalac, who is remembered for having played several roles in different presentations of “Kanser,” a theatrical adaptation of Rizal’s “Noli Me Tangere.”
Roxy Aldiosa, a soprano who is both a theater actress and musical director, teams up with tenor Carlo Angelo Falcis, who is a singer, actor, and voice coach, to portray a comically annoying couple, status seekers who believe that any life abroad, even hardship posts, are better than life in the Philippines. Jacinta Remulla, who is known for her acting in “Suntok sa Buwan,” has been cast as the couple’s sultry and flirtatious niece, “Connie.”
Richard Macaroyo is Pol, the TNT, the illegal migrant, luckless in so many ways. Greg de Leon, who portrayed “Elias” in Noli Me Tangere: The Opera, is the perennially homesick Ginoong Luz, whose loneliness can only be lifted by the melodious singing of his wife. Opera singer Jane Wee is Ginang Luz.
Completing the Bayan Bayanan cast are Christine Angelica Evangelista, Carlo Mañalac, Timothy Carlo Racho, Kendrick Tamayo, Abigail Sulit, Jane Florence Wee, Matteo Teehankee, Karina Macaspac, and Adrian de Ubago. All with golden voices, and engaging acting talents. Watch the show and be moved by their refreshing performances.
“I have directed this play many times before in Europe, and each time there is always something new. It grows like a pearl, takes shape in the memory and hearts of those who perform it and those who watch it: why? Because it is real. It is grounded on real characters we can identify with, in all their beauty and vulnerability, in all their strengths and their weaknesses,” says Anton Juan.
“BUT ALWAYS we are grounded in that HOPING, in that FAITH — by which the Filipino nation is known for. There may be floods, martial laws, oppressions, interventions, and schisms in our history. But we always remember two things: 1. To laugh at ourselves and forgive – be it ourselves, others, or nature (sometimes to a fault, those who are greedy and malevolent to us and our people); and, 2. To pray, and to hope and have faith — without which there is no salvation.”
“I dedicate my direction of this play to all the migrant workers and migrant friends who “homed” me, “nationed” me in my times of study and work abroad, who “cradled” me as they cradled each other in times of crisis and personal rollercoaster times of highs and lows; to the entire cast and the production for taking special time to share their talent and their esteemed careers, countless dearest friends who helped, and our audiences — who are ALL part of the play because this play is about them, us, a nation outside their country.”
For more information, visit the CCP website (www.culturalcenter.gov.ph).