THE Virgin Labfest braves a new front and adjusts to new realities as the playwrights, directors and actors take a further leap of faith to bring the annual festival of untried, untested and unstaged works on a virtual stage. In response to the COVID 19 crisis, the theater festival will have its lockdown edition, slated on June 10 to 28, 2020.
Dubbed “VLF 2020 KAPIT: Lab in the Time of Covid (A Virtual Labfest Lockdown Edition),” the 16th edition will feature nine new works, three revisited works, and six staged readings.
The nine main performances are: “Doggy” by Dustin Celestino, directed by Roobak Valle; “Pilot Episode” by Floyd Scott Tiogangco, directed by Giancarlo Abrahan; “Dapithapon” by Jay Crisostomo IV, directed by Sigmund Roy Pecho; “Papaano Turuan ang Babae Humawak ng Baril” by Daryl Pasion, directed by Erika Estacio; “BlackPink” by Tyron Casumpang, directed by Jethro Tenorio; “Multiverse” by Juliene Mendoza, directed by Fitz Edward Bitana; “Titser Kit” by Jobert Grey Landeza, directed by Adrienne Vergara; “Mayang Bubot sa Tag-araw” by Mark Norma Boquiren, directed by Mark Mirando; and, “Gin Bilog” by Luisito Nario, directed by James Harvey Estrada.
In “Doggy,” a man’s fiancee’s sexual peculiarity becomes his source of repressed anger. Frustrations surface after a game of “Never Ever Have I Ever,” when he learns that his fiancee was more sexually adventurous with her previous lovers.
“Pilot Episode” shows a young gay man who just quit his job through a text message, and how his parents attempt to de-escalate his extreme manic-depressive episode.
“Dapithapon” follows the story of three boys in their senior high school years who have to confront their greatest fears in a single day: flunking out of school, impossible parental expectations, and an unhealthy infatuation with a teacher. They fervently cling to one another and try fruitlessly to preserve their friendship before they are forever parted by circumstance.
Returning home from an encounter against the NPA, a man reunites with his pregnant wife in “Papaano Turuan ang Babae Humawak ng Baril.” The sweet homecoming turns out to be the complete opposite when the wife is confronted with her husband’s impossible request.
In “BlackPink,” a father discovers that his youngest son who is a staunch fan of Blackpink was prohibited by his school principal to dance “Kill This Love” in their Family Day talent contest, and the only way for him to join the competition is if he finds other male students to dance with him. Will he be able to join the Family Day? and dance the BlackPInk hit song?
“Multiverse” reunites two estranged brothers – a writer and a recovering alcoholic. The two reconnect through their mutual love of comic books. As they discuss the concept of alternate realities and dimensions prevalent in most comic book stories, they imagine how much better their relationship would have been in another reality. What if a different reality slowly reveals itself to the two estranged siblings?
When a young student gets into trouble in his new school and becomes what punishment the Principal might sanction him with, he hides inside a dilapidated storage room. He feels safe until “Titser Kit” finds him there.
“Mayang Bubot sa Tag-araw” is a painful tale of two Ayta children whose friendship is tested as they choose different paths. One follows her mother as she seeks the American dream, never thinking of who is hurt along the way. The other remains with their people, working always against oppression.
In “Gin Bilog,” old issues are rehashed in a drinking session of family and friends.
The Revisited Plays include: “Fangirl” by Herlyn Alegre, directed by Charles Yee; “Anak Ka Ng” by U Z Eliserio, directed by Maynard Manansala; and “Wanted: Male Boarders” by Rick Patriarca, directed by George De Jesus III.
Also catch the Staged Readings: “Jenny Li” by Buch Dacanay, directed by Nour Hooshmand; “Dominador Gonzales – National Artist” by Dingdong Novenario, directed by Joel Bunny Cadag; “LadyMasters” by Rouchelle Dinglasan, directed by Joy Cerro; “Matira ang Matibay” by Bernice Dacara, directed by Alon Segara; “Bagahe” by Nicko de Guzman, directed by Joel Saracho; “Mongoloida’s Casa de Pun” by Claro delos Reyes, directed by Guelan Luarca.
There will be a VLF Playwright’s Fair, one of the components of the theater festival. A collaboration of the CCP Intertextual Division, the VLF Team and The Writers’ Bloc’s Rody Vera, the fair features Filipino writers. There will be online discussion and digital marketing platform for the expertise, services, publications and other products of writers of theatrical productions.
The VLF Playwrights Fair is free and open to public. It will be held online every 7:00 p.m. during the VLF 2020. Check the FB page of VLF 2020 for the complete line up of speakers and activities.
“The Virgin Labfest is here, and it remains strong and able to adjust to new realities. The festival has a firm fan base which has filled the CCP theaters year in and year out. Let’s continue to tell our stories on the virtual stage,” said festival director JK Anicoche.
Established in 2005, the Virgin Labfest is co-presented by the Cultural Center of the Philippines, its resident theater company Tanghalang Pilipino and the playwrights’ group Writer’s Bloc Inc.
For more details, visit the CCP website and official social media accounts, and the VLF Facebook account.