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Final days of Bonifacio recalled in musical play.

The towering musical play by composer Jerry A. Dadap, 'Andres Bonifacio ang Dakilang Anak Pawis,' was first performed at the Cultural Center of the Philippines in 1979 with a cast of 200.

Bonifacio was played by the late great baritone Elmo Makil, with Jay Valencia-Glorioso as his wife Oryang. Tommy Abuel was the narrator, with libretto by Dionisio Salazar and the poet Rogelio Mangahas.

Since then, the five-act musical has been staged several times although seldom in its entirety.

Now, key excerpts from the play will be performed by the Andres Bonifacio Concert Choir (ABCC) directed by Dadap July 26 at the University of the Philippines School of Economics in Diliman, Quezon City. Proceeds will benefit the indigenous Aeta children under the aegis of the Philippine Katutubo Foundation.

Tenor William Serrano plays the Supremo, and soprano Bettina Dadap is his wife. One of the lyrical highlights of the play is the love duet between Andres and Oryang, 'ikaw lang-at bayan-ang aking iniibig...'

Seriocomic song-and-dance

The Katipunan is betrayed by Teodoro Patino (played by Johnrey Nervaja), to the delight of Padre Gil (Manny Garcia) who launches into a seriocomic song-and-dance number: 'Siempre bida na ako, ay salamat sa mana estupidong indio.'

Final days of Bonifacio recalled in musical play

Katipuneros at arms, a scene from the play

The secret society exposed, Bonifacio and his followers tear their cedulas and launch the revolution. The rivalry between Aguinaldo and Bonifacio turns violent. Aguinaldo's hitmen capture the Supremo, and Oryang is raped. Bonifacio is tried by a kangaroo court, defended by a fake lawyer (Xzylo dela Cruz), and convicted of treason.

In the hills of Maragondon, Cavite, comandante Makapagal (Ronnie Ocampo) reads the death sentence. Procopio Bonifacio (Gio Gabriel Paningbatan) panics, runs away and is slain. The distraught Andres pleads that his brother be given a decent burial but instead is mowed down and slashed to death.

At this point, departing from the original ending, Dadap employs magic realism. The Supremo comes back to life and sings the emotional 'Katapusang Hibik ni Bonifacio,' from a poem by Mangahas. Then all the choir members, including the villains in the story, sing the mighty paean to love of country, 'Pag-ibig sa Tinubuang Lupa.'

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Publication:Philippines Daily Inquirer (Makati City, Philippines)
Date:Jul 13, 2019
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