“Bangaw Mindanao” drama musicale goes to Manila

DAVAO CITY (MindaNews / 05 November) – “Bangaw Mindanao,” a drama musicale depicting the present plight of the peoples in Mindanao – the Lumads (Indigenous Peoples), Muslims and Christians, will be staged in Manila on November 9 to 14 and in Tubod, Lanao del Norte on November 30, during the Mindanao Week of Peace.

“Bangaw Mindanao” (“bangaw” means grand feast or rainbow),is the updated musical version of “Maranatha” which was performed by the Kolambugan Dance Theater in 1974 and 1975. “Maranatha” which had been described as having used “an old Lanao tale about a big, black, predatory bird, to expose corruption of politicians and the growing militarization in Mindanao,” made over 135 performances in its nationwide tour.

The English version of “Bangaw Mindanaw” will be performed by the Hiyasalim Theatre (Arts for Healing) on November 9, 10 and 11 at the St. Paul University Manila’s Fleur de Liz Theater. It will also be staged for students and faculty of the Immaculate Heart of Mary College in Quezon City on November 13 and at Santa Isabel College on November 14.

The Cebuano version will be performed in Maranding, Lala, Lanao del Norte on November 21 and Tubod, Lanao del Norte on November 30.

Galenzoga, a Catholic priest who initiated the production of “Maranatha” wrote the script and directed “Bangaw Mindanao,” with music and direction by Prof. Frank A. Englis, choreography by Dionesin A. Buhawie, Jr.

He and the Kahigalaan ni Hesus (KH) founded Dapit-Alim in Lanao del Norte, described to be “a place for prayer, contemplation, meditation, and for retreats,” for the tired and weary, for those seeking answers to faith questions, and for those with a passion for inter-faith dialogue   with Muslim and Lumad brothers and sisters.

Galenzoga once headed the Interreligious Dialogue ministry of the Diocese of Iligan, and has been spreading the message of peace and brotherhood between Muslims and Christians through dance and drama.

“We’re trying to bring together Christians and Muslims together here to promote harmony between different faiths, which is a task that lasts a lifetime,” Galenzoga was quoted in an Asianews article in 2009, titled “Theatre and dance in dialogue between Christians and Muslims in Mindanao.”

“Bangaw” in Cebuano has a double meaning – grand feast or rainbow.

As feast, “we believe that Mindanao as our Promised Land is given us by God for all the inhabitants to enjoy fullness of life, that Scriptural Shalom, Salam, Pax, Peace, Kalinaw. God wants us to live in abundance not in poverty and misery,” the synopsis of “Bangaw Mindanao” said.

As rainbow, the musicale “reminds us of the multi-culture, multi-religious peoples among the Lumads, Muslims and Christians in Mindanao.”

“Biblically, the rainbow was given as a sign to Noah of God’s Covenant never to destroy life in all its form. May this modest stage production move us all to renew our covenant with God, to be faithful defenders and joyful promoters of the beauty, sanctity and interconnectedness of all human and cosmic life,” it added.

“Maranatha” was also toured by performing MSU-CSO (Mindanao State University-Catholic Students Organization) students in the early 1990s in the cities of Zamboanga, Cotabato and Jolo with a mixed cast of Muslims and Christians. The dance-drama was re-titled “Kalilintad Anda Ka” (Peace Where Are You?).

The newly-founded community theater at KH Dapit-Alim brought “Maranatha” to some towns and cities of the Visayas and Mindanao in the early 2000s.

This fourth musical version depicts the present plight of the peoples in Mindanao: the Lumads, Muslims and Christian settlers, their dreams and struggles for justice and peace.

According to the synopsis, the musicale tells of a kingdom beset by a mysterious black bird of prey, a kingdom ruled by a ruthless king who has a beautiful, compassionate daughter.

“Many efforts to kill the black bird of death proved futile. One day the victim of this black bird was no less than the princess of the Land. She fell into a deep coma. All efforts of the healers of the kingdom and the valiant warriors proved futile to the despair of the king and the people. At that time of this great crisis, a stranger was washed ashore to the kingdom. He happened to be the long awaited savior who alone could subdue the black bird. Together with the warriors they conquered the black bird of death. The princess lived. The Kingdom rejoiced. But not the king, for he was afraid that the people would make the stranger king. Thus the king had the stranger banished from the kingdom. But before the stranger left, he predicted tribulations and wars in the kingdom. As a sign, he threw his left sandal to the lake. And not until the sandal is found, no peace would ever come to the kingdom.”

These days, natural calamities and wars are taking place in Mindanao “for the missing sandal is not yet recovered and the black bird of greed, hatred, and injustice still reign in the structures of our societies. For there is a ruthless king and a black bird in all of us. But, there is also a princess and a stranger in every human heart longing for justice, beauty, love and peace.”

“Like the princess’ realization in the dance-drama, the missing sandal is nowhere to be found in the lake. The missing sandal of justice, beauty, love and peace can only be found in the depths of the human heart,” it said.

“Bangaw Mindanao” hopes to “move us all to renew our covenant with God, to be faithful defenders and joyful promoters of the beauty, sanctity and interconnectedness of all human and cosmic life. Kalinaw Kauban ug Higala. Peace Companions and Friends,” Galenzoga said.

The English version of “Bangaw Mindanao” had three performances in Cagayan de Oro while the Cebuano version was staged in Magsaysay and Kolambugan towns in Lanao del Norte. (MindaNews)