More than 50 years since its first staging, Isagani R. Cruz’ Halimaw fortifies itself as a continuously relevant piece of theater that bravely dissects power and the force of corruption.
DLSU Harlequin Theatre Guild is set to embark on a contemporary pop-rap musical retelling of “Halimaw,” a compelling sarsuwela written by Filipino literary artist and playwright Isagani R. Cruz back in 1971. In celebration of Dr. Isagani R. Cruz and his masterful works, the production’s cast and crew aim to deliver thought-provoking socio-political themes through Halimaw’s allegorical narrative of the consuming and repressive dangers of power and corruption.
Set in a reimagined fantastical Philippines, “Halimaw” follows Alberto in his pursuit of saving the tyrannical King’s three daughters, all named Maria, who are discovered to be abducted by three monsters that mirror the issues that plague the Filipino people. In his quest, Alberto must face the enigmatic siren, Binibining Sirena. Then, he must confront the deceptive matron, Ginang Purista. Finally, Alberto must brave the devious executive, Ginoong Dragon. Accompanied by two ordinary men named Juan, Alberto is driven to gather his wits and remain steadfast to defeat the monsters and rescue the Marias.
Exploring socially conscious and timely narratives in Philippine theater artistry, DLSU-HTG teams up with Filipino talents to launch a satirical comedy production written by a Filipino author, about the Filipino, for Filipino audiences.
Performing alongside DLSU-HTG’s homegrown talents, the featured cast includes Noel Comia Jr., a former contestant in The Voice Kids Season 3 and a recipient of Cinemelaya 2017’s Best Actor Award for ‘Kiko Boksingero’, Bene Manaois, a DLSU Alumnus known for Philippine Educational Theater Association (PETA)’s ‘Walang Aray’, and Viñas Deluxe, a drag artist and singer who starred in Drag Race Philippines’ debut season.
Halimaw is produced with the artistic expertise of numerous industry mavens such as Romualdo ‘Raffy’ Tejada as Director, whose works include the original ‘Hintayan ng Langit’ at the Virgin Labfest, and DLSU-HTG’s previous productions: Ang Huling Mambabatok, Rizal Is My President, and Fish-Hair Woman.
Leading the symphonies, musical director Vince Lim relived the songs of the original piece with the new soul of contemporary pop-rap. His notable works include PETA’s critically acclaimed musical ‘Walang Aray’ as its Musical Director. The DLSU alumnus also worked in ‘Boys Lockdown’ and PETA’s ‘Charot!’.
Previously training under National Artist Ramon Obusan, Halimaw’s choreographer, Carlon Josol Matobato, is a PETA artist and choreographer who previously showcased his talent and skills for his craft as the lone Filipino cast member of Hiroshi Koike’s global production of ‘Mahabharata’.
Building the world of Halimaw onstage, production designer Leeroy New’s practice spans various industries ranging from film, theater, product design, and fashion. His work has been featured locally and globally, namely in the Singapore Biennale and music videos of actress and singer, Lady Gaga.
Visually transforming the cast, Santi Obcena heads the production’s Costumes and Makeup Design. His significant works have been featured in various fashion weeks, Project Runway Philippines Season 2, and Drag Race Philippines. Obcena is also the Head of Fashion Design for the House of Santi.
Mounting the stage, Roman Cruz oversees Halimaw’s Technical Direction, Gabo Tolentino crafts the Lighting Design, and Holland Lou Buella engineers the sound of the production.
“Halimaw” is set to run from October 4 to 7, 2023, at the Teresa Yuchengco Auditorium of De La Salle University, Manila. For ticket inquiries, interested theatergoers and patrons may contact Alexandria Castro at 0968 874 9864 or purchase online tickets via Ticket2Me.net.