²BAYANI is a two-act rock opera on the last days of Andres Bonifacio, his arrest in April 1897 to his assassination a month later. Memories of the main events that led him to prison comprise the bulk of the musical.
It is a tribute, a celebration, and a call. It is a tribute to a hero who rallied us for the first time as one nation and one people—not katutubo, indio, or mestizo, but as Filipinos. It is a celebration of defiance from a man who, despite incredible odds—betrayed, imprisoned, hounded, and treated as a footnote to the revolution—pursued his desire to establish to free us from colonial rule. It is also a call, a rock call, to re-imagine ourselves as a nation as we confront the threats that divide and make us small. Rock with us!
SYNOPSIS OF THE PLAY
The old Aguinaldo speaks from another time as he writes his memoirs of Bonifacio, the Katipunan, and the revolution. He has a strong urge to tell his side of the story.
Soldiers loyal to Aguinaldo swoop down Bonifacio’s camp and arrest him and his brother Procopio for, supposedly, malversation of funds. The arrest turns violent as Bonifacio gets shot and hacked. Soldiers drag Bonifacio to jail, there to languish in pain, until the court sentences him. His spouse, Oryang, and friend, Santiago Alvarez, offer constant support.
Bonifacio looks back at the events that brought him to prison from his cell. His mind drifts to the time he organized the Katipunan, held secret meetings in Mt. Banahaw, suffered betrayals, and in a dream, spent a happy day with fellow Katipuneros. He recalls traveling to Cavite to prevent the Magdalos from setting up a revolutionary government and merging with the Magdiwangs as a united force against Spain. Such a move would spell the demise of the Katipunan and undermine his authority as Supremo. But advisers and, in particular, Don Mariano Alvarez, persuades him to consolidate forces and join a convention that will elect the new government leaders.
The old Aguinaldo reappears to deny any involvement in the Tejeros Convention that elected him President of the Revolutionary Government.
The Magdalos undermine Bonifacio’s candidacy, leading Bonifacio to lose the presidency to Aguinaldo. Bonifacio refuses, however, to recognize the election and decides to set up a force in Batangas. The Aguinaldo government heard his plan and served as the genuine basis for his arrest, detention, and later death.
Back to reality, Bonfacio receives news that the revolutionary government leaders turned down Aguinaldo’s proposal to send him to exile and insisted on a death sentence. Bonifacio weeps but continually asserts his leadership as the head of the Katipunan. He remembers the events that led to the founding of the Katipunan, the plans made to regroup in Batangas, Oryang’s visit to Aguinaldo to plead for his life, and in a dream, a happy afternoon spent with his fellow Katipuneros and their families. The arrival of soldiers ends his reverie.
Under the pretext of transferring him to another prison, Aguinaldo’s soldiers escort Bonifacio and his brother, Procopio, to Mt. Buntis in Maragondon, Cavite. Both are shot, and Bonifacio, who tried to escape, was hacked several times. Soon after, Oryang and Santiago look in vain for his body in the mountains. In the finale, Inangbayan joins the chorus in a hymn to praise Bonifacio and his legacy.
The old Aguinaldo resurfaces in an epilogue. He appears confused as he tries to read his written memoirs, their pages drenched by the rain.
Director: Ricardo Abad
Cast: Bullet Dumas, Alyana Cabral, Larissa Buendia, Ali Figueroa, MC Dela Cruz, Greg Abelardo de Leon, Angelo Galang, Matt Gador, Gabo Tolentino, Pat Libao, Norvin De los Santos, Michael D. Fernandez, Meyanne Plamenio, Jam Binay, Nashvie Magracia, Lance Soliman, Pio Bagnol, Austin Gonzales, Tara Jamora Oppen, Jamie Papa, Nanding Josef