May 14, 2020


May 14, 2020

THE Cultural Center of the Philippines presents ten new works, three revisited works, and six staged readings in the 16th edition of Virgin Labfest, billed as “VLF 2020 KAPIT: Lab in the Time of Covid (A Virtual Labfest Lockdown Edition),” which goes online for the first time from June 10 to 28, 2020 on CCP’s Facebook and YouTube pages.

In view of the COVID-19 crisis, CCP braves a new front and adjusts to new realities as the Virgin Labfest playwrights, directors and actors take steps to bring the annual festival of untried, untested and unstaged works to a virtual stage.  

The three-week festival features ten featured works; “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 Norman Boquiren, directed by Mark Mirando;  “Gin Bilog” by Luisito Nario, directed by James Harvey Estrada and Anthony Kim Vergara’s “The Boyboy and Friends Channel” directed by Joshua Tayco.

All these plays will be premiere with live performances at the CCP’s Youtube channel and Facebook page.  From June 14 to 28, they will be streamed on IWANTv.

“Doggy” (live on June 10, 3pm and June 26, 2pm) is about a man's fiancee’s sexual peculiarity that becomes his source of repressed anger.  

“Pilot Episode” (live on June 13, 5pm and June 24, 8pm) 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” (live on June 14, 3pm and June 27, 5pm) 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.   

“Papaano Turuan ang Babae Humawak ng Baril” (live on June 13, 3pm and June 24, 2pm) shows what happens when a man reunites with his pregnant wife upon returning home from an encounter against the NPA.

“BlackPink” (live on June 11, 5pm and June 28, 8pm) tells of a father‘s discovery 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.   

“Multiverse” (live on June 14, 8pm and June 26, 8pm) reunites two estranged brothers - a writer and a recovering alcoholic.  The two reconnect through their mutual love of comic books. 

“Titser Kit” (live on June 11, 3pm and June 27, 2pm) tells of a young student who gets into trouble in his new school and hides inside a dilapidated storage room, afraid of what punishment the Principal might sanction him with.  He feels safe until “Titser Kit” finds him there.

“Mayang Bubot sa Tag-araw” (live on June 12, 5pm and June 23, 2pm) is a painful tale of two Ayta children whose friendship is tested as they choose different paths.  

“Gin Bilog” (live on June 12, 3pm and June 25, 2pm) focuses on old issues that are rehashed in a drinking session of family and friends.

“Boyboy and Friends Channel” (live on June 12, 8 pm and June 23, 8 pm) was written by Anthony Kim Vergara and is directed by Joshua Tayco.  It tells the tale of friends who lost their jobs as production crew members after the timely untimely shutdown of their TV network and find successful making a new career as Youtubers.  Now, Boy-boy with his buddies make a decision that forever changes their friendship.

The Revisited Plays include: “Fangirl” by Herlyn Alegre, directed by Charles Yee (June 14, 5pm and June 25, 8pm); “Anak Ka Ng” by U Z Eliserio, directed by Maynard Manansala (June 10, 8pm and June 23, 5pm); and “Wanted: Male Boarders” by Rick Patriarca, directed by George De Jesus III (June 10, 5pm and June 27, 8pm).

Catch the Staged Readings: “Jenny Li” by Buch Dacanay, directed by Nour Hooshmand (June 20, 5pm); “Dominador Gonzales - National Artist” by Dingdong Novenario, directed by Bunny Cadag (June 19, 5pm), “LadyMasters” by Rouchelle Dinglasan, directed by Joy Cerro (June 25, 5pm); “Matira ang Matibay” by Bernice Dacara, directed by Alon Segara (June 26, 5pm); “Bagahe” by Nicko de Guzman, directed by Joel Saracho (June 18, 5pm); and “Mongoloida’s Casa de Pun” by Claro delos Reyes, directed by Guelan Luarca (June 24, 5pm).

The VLF Playwright's Fair, one of the components of the theater festival, will be held online on June 11-14, 17-20, 25-27 at 8pm.  A collaboration of the CCP Intertextual Division, the VLF Team and The Writers’ Bloc’s Rody Vera, the fair features Filipino writers.   Other events include online discussion (June 18-21) and digital marketing platform for the expertise, services, publications and other products of writers of theatrical productions. Check out the FB page of VLF 2020 for the complete line up of speakers and activities.

The Virgin Labfest 2020 Writing Fellowship Program will take place on June 16–28, 2020.  It is a two week mentorship program for young aspiring playwrights on the study and practice of dramatic writing for the stage. Participants will learn from lectures, script critiquing, writing sessions and interactions with known playwrights, directors and actors.  The Fellowship Program will culminate in an online staged reading of the fellows’ works on June 28 at 2 and 5pm.

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.