This Free-to-Stream Children's Play Hopes to Teach Us About Martial Law

There is a special online screening on February 26.

martial law
PHOTO BY Adarna House, Shutterstock ILLUSTRATION War Espejo

( Learning history is important, but human rights violations, famine, and corruption during the Martial Law period under former President Ferdinand Marcos may be too morbid to explain in detail to the young ones. How exactly can you narrate to an eight-year-old that Russian roulette is not a game but one of the types of torture that people underwent during the dictatorship? But truth must prevail and history needs to be passed on from one generation to the next in order to avoid committing the same mistakes.

With this in mind, The Raya School in partnership with Active Vista, Dakila, and Dokyo Power, is scheduled to stream a recording of the musical Isang Harding Papel on February 26 at 4 p.m. through Dakila's Facebook page. You can also join the talk-back session through Zoom on

Also read:
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isang harding papel
PHOTO BY Facebook/Augie Rivera

Isang Harding Papel is a children's musical adapted from Augie Rivera's children's book of the same name published in 2014. It was first staged in 2016 at Miriam College, then restaged a year later at the AFP Theater.

The story follows Jenny, who patiently waits for her mother to come home while making flowers from paper. Set in the time of Martial Law in the Philippines, the story also reminds people of certain common, but questionable things from that period, such as the nutribun, a supposedly nutritious bread made with ingredients donated by the U.S. usually given to public school children.

isang harding papel
Isang Harding Papel was published in 2014 by Adarna House.
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The play features an all-kids cast—yes, that includes preschool students dressed up as flowers and trees; songs that young ones can enjoy; and facts and insights that deserve to be known by Filipinos of all ages. It is written for the stage by award-winning writer Nanoy Rafael with original music by Thea Tolentino and directed by Abner Delina Jr.

Isang Harding Papel: A Martial Law Play streams on February 26, 4 p.m. through Dakila's Facebook page.

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