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ARMM youth agency brings play about the Bangsamoro to Manila

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THEATER
Mas Mabigat Ang Liwanag Sa Kalungkitan
Presented by the UP Repertory Company and Ang Teatro ng Timog Silangang Asya
Sept. 15-17
Teatro Marikina, corner of Shoe Ave. and V. Gomez St., Barangay Sta. Elena, Marikina City

HOW DOES the conflict in the Bangsamoro shape the country’s history, and how does it affect the lives of the youth?

These are pressing questions given current conditions, and Rogelio Braga’s play, Mas Mabigat Ang Liwanag Sa Kalungkitan, seeks to help Filipinos figure out the answers for themselves, while helping them navigate the Bangsamoro’s history and their struggle for self-determination.

Liwanag revolves around Bangsamoro youth whose lives have been touched by conflict in different ways — some find love in unexpected places, some leave home in search of a better future, while some join revolutionary groups to carry on their people’s struggle.

The play, which was once staged in a limited run back in 2015, is now being brought back to the stage with the help of the Office on Bangsamoro Youth Affairs (OBYA). Members of the UP Repertory Company and Ang Teatro ng Timog Silangang Asya (ATISA) will breathe new life to Braga’s work, guided by the vision of award-winning actor and director Manuel Mesina III.

OBYA’s executive director, Amir Mawallil, says that mounting the play once again and making it available to a bigger audience has been a long time coming.

“We really believe in this story, because this is our story. It is about our own lives and struggle, and Ogie (Braga) tells it as it is. There is no agenda here other than the truth,” Mr. Mawallil said.

And Mr. Mawallil’s trust is far from misplaced. Mr. Braga has spent years doing research on the Bangsamoro and writing about what he has learned in the process. His voice has found an audience among those who seek honest and uncompromising storytelling when it comes to a narrative that is often oversimplified and misrepresented in Philippine discourse.

There will be an 8 p.m. show on Sept. 15, and 3 p.m. and 8 p.m. performances on Sept. 16 and 17. For ticket inquiries, text or call Michelle Timaan at 0916-398-1149.

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