“Walang kapayapaan dahil walang kalayaan,” Rogelio Braga reminds the audience in his play “Ang Mga Mananahi.”
The Office on Bangsamoro Youth Affairs (OBYA) in partnership with the UP Repertory Company and Atisa bring Braga’s play to Cotabato City as part of this year’s Bangsamoro Week of Peace. “Ang Mga Mananahi” will be staged in three venues in Cotabato City and nearby Maguindanao from March 17-18.
Set in an ‘unnamed’ place in Sulu in the heydays of the Philippine government’s war against the Bangsamoro freedom fighters, “Ang Mga Mananahi” is a story of how four Muslim women bonded together to perform an act of bravery with their bare hands as their community’s best ‘mananahi.’
“Braga is a playwright whose work speaks of the Bangsamoro struggle with an awareness and understanding that is rare these days,” OBYA Executive Director Amir Mawallil said. “It is our hope that bringing ‘Ang Mga Mananahi’ to the ARMM will spur greater interest among the youth when it comes to our people’s history,” he added.
The three shows this weekend will also serve as a call for Bangsamoro theater performers and enthusiasts who are interested in forming a homegrown theater group in the region. The said theater group is expected to stage “Mas Mabigat Ang Liwanag Sa Kalungkutan,” a play which tells the story of Bangsamoro youth who lived through conflict, also written by Braga.
“We are really looking forward to staging a play about the Bangsamoro with an all-Bangsamoro cast and crew,” Mawallil said.
“We feel that it is important for the story of the Bangsamoro to be read and retold by Bangsamoros themselves, and using art to tell our stories can help us reach a wider audience,” he added. (Office of the Bangsamoro Youth Affairs)