Myth, Memory, and History Intertwine in Tanghalang Pilipino’s ‘Anak Datu’

MANILA, Philippines—Premier theater production company Tanghalang Pilipino’s post-pandemic outing “Anak Datu” brings a modern day take on the short story of National Artist for Visual Arts Abdulmari Imao, adapted for the stage by Rody Vera and directed by Chris Millado.

The play follows the story of a lost boy, the journey of a Muslim artist and the recollection of a massacre survivor merge in a theatrical spectacle that uses “found” text, documentary material, and devised physical theater to tell the tale of the country’s difficult path to peace. 

The production inaugurates CCP’s new Black Box Theater also known as the Tanghalang Ignacio Gimenez and is put together by the team of the award winning “Mabining Mandirigma” and “Aurelio Sedisyoso” for the 36th season of Tanghalang Pilipino.

Images courtesy of Tanghalang Pilipino

Playing the young Abdulmari is TP Associate Artistic Director Marco Viaña. TP Artistic Director Fernando “Nanding” Josef plays Jibin Arula. Other major roles are played by TP Actors Company senior members Antonette Go (Imao’s wife Grace de Leon), Lhorvie Nuevo (Putli Loling); TP guest artists Tex Ordoñez-de Leon (Putli Loling), Carlos Dala (Binatang Karim/Toym Imao), and Sining Kambayoka’s Hassanain Magarang (Datu Karim). 

For their debut performance with Tanghalang Pilipino for live theater, playing various roles are TP Actors Company scholars Edrick Alcontado, Arjhay Babon, Mitzi Comia, Judie Dimayuga, Earle Figuracion, Vince Macapobre, Aggy Mago, Sarah Monay, Heart Puyong, and Mark Lorenz. 

Chris Millado, director. Image courtesy of Tanghalang Pilipino.

Rody Vera, playwright. Image courtesy of Tanghalang Pilipino.

Joining Millado and Vera in the creative team: set design by Toym Leon Imao; original music & composition by Josefino Chino Toledo; costume design by Carlo Villafuerte Pagunaling; lighting design by Katsch Catoy; projection design by GA Fallarme; arrangement, sound design and engineering by TJ Ramos; pangalay and martial arts choreography by Hassanain Magarang, and the PWU Indayog Gong Ensemble.

“Anak Datu” is also the maiden production of the newly-built Tanghalang Ignacio Gimenez at the Cultural Center of the Philippines from September 16 to October 9.

For tickets, go to and stay tuned to the Tanghalang Pilipino Facebook Page for promos and discounts. For showbuyer inquiries, please contact 09156072275 or email