” Movies will make you famous; Television will make you rich; But theatre will make you good.”- Terrence Mann
And the “Integrated Performing Arts Guild” (IPAG) had another astounding performance that opened our eyes about the the ethereal beauty of theatre and proved how good they are at their as they present the performances of the musicale on Moro history “Datu Matu” a 1992 playwriting awardee of the Cultural Center of the Philippines by Prof. Saturnina Rodil, a faculty of the Department of English at MSU-IIT and was directed by Steven P.C Fernandez. Datu Matu is a historical fiction that runs on the incorporation of different scenarios that proved their stand against American colonialism
The play showcases a life of a brave Datu with his family, his vassals and his sovereign . The characters struggle with the American invaders that abused their rights as citizens of the country. Datu Matu decided to have a treaty with another Datu to merge their tribes by marriage ties of Datu Matu’s daughter Tarintang and the Son of Datu Awalo in order for them to triumph against the invaders they have to join forces to create a stronger and have more population of warriors. The story gets interesting when the lover slash cousin of Tarintang named Hassan. Killed an American soldier who obloquy and physically harassed him while they are constructing a road project to compromise with the government. The Americans started the wide search for Hassan, who was asked to hide with warriors who were involved at the incident. A siege overrun the place until Datu Awalo betrayed Datu Matu, he told the Americans the information regarding Hassan which led to the climax where the Datu Matu decided to fight for their rights together with their whole tribe.
Me and my buddies were very lucky to meet the characters up close after the show. I was very impressed of how they’ve managed to ride along with our persnickety requests after and hour of performing. They generously took pictures with us, graciously answered our questions and greeted us. My personal favorite character is: “Khalid” a young moro prince, son of Datu Matu, heir of the throne. The character was excellently portrayed by Cleven Garvan whom I got the chance to talk with. He’s still a High school student from Iligan City East High School (Santa Filomena) so I asked “So you’ve been doing this for quite a while now?” He answered, “Yes, but It’s my first time to perform in such a big crowd and a huge arena.” His answer clearly surprised me since it seem like he’s been doing it for ages. His dynamic aura really impressed me, considering that he is just my age, this guy is jam-packed with talent. The character touches the innocent kid inside me, It makes me think of my nostalgic golden ages as a kid. It felt like I could relate of how amazing but confusing a kid’s life can be. Being caught-up in a war in a young age is definitely not easy but on a kid’s mind, it’s just all fun, games & adventure. Khalid is like a reflection of myself when I experienced being caught-up in a war way back in 2008, a war agains the MILF and the Military. That’s basically one of the reasons why I was so attached to the play.
The actors were superb, they have built a strong connection to us and I have enjoyed the music, the beats of the traditional instruments brought goosebumps. The overall production was magnificent, kudos to the everyone who became part of such art. The play reflected on the today’s Philippine peace situation. It also made me more in love with my culture. The war has stopped decades ago but “Americanization” still dominates our interests. I am greatly moved and I realized how exocentric I have been, the struggles that my people experienced years ago still haunts me. The play’s theme is that being a leader is being wise, brave and selfless and Fighting for what is right is always worth the risk.