June 04, 2020


June 4, 2020

THE 16th edition of the Virgin Labfest features a Playwright's Fair to be held online on June 11-14, 17-20, 25-27, 2020 at 8pm. The event is one of the components of the said festival.

A collaboration of the Cultural Center of the Philippines’ Intertextual Division, the Virgin Labfest Team and The Writers’ Bloc, the fair features Filipino playwrights. 

Participating in the event as panelists are playwrights Allan Lopez, Liza Magtoto, Layeta Bucoy, Maynard Manansala, Chuckberry Pascual, U Z. Eliserio, Dustin Celestino, Eljay Castro Deldoc, Guelan Luarca, Vlad Gonzales, and Nicolas Pichay.  Other writers Dingdong Novenario, Luna Sicat Cleto, and Visconde Carlo Vergara will do solo talks while Sari Saysay will render an online reading.

Liza Magtoto is a playwright and freelance scriptwriter, a member of The Writer’s Bloc and the Philippine Educational Theater Association (PETA).

Layeta P. Bucoy is an Associate Professor at the University of the Philippines Los Baños.  She is a five-time winner of the Don Carlos Palanca Memorial Awards for Literature.

Maynard Manansala is the Bienvenido N. Santos Creative Writing Center’s Writing Fellow for Drama this academic year, 2019-2020.  He has six Virgin Labfest entries including his directorial debut in 2019 for U Z. Eliserio’s Anak Ka Ng, which was also selected for the Revisited Set.

Chuckberry J. Pascual is a Resident Fellow at the UST Center for Creative Writing and Literary Studies and Research Fellow at the UST Research Center for Culture, Arts and Humanities.

U Z. Eliserio teaches in the Department of Filipino and Literature at UP Diliman.  He is a critic and translator.

Dustin Celestino is a film director, a composer, and a multi-awarded fiction writer, screenwriter, and playwright.

Eljay Deldoc is a writer, translator, actor, director, and educator.  For six consecutive years since 2013, Eljay has also been part of The Virgin Labfest.

Vlad Gonzales is an Assistant Professor at the University of the Philippines, Diliman, where he teaches creative writing, literature, and popular culture.

Dingdong Novenario is a playwright, IT consultant, fitness instructor, theater actor, and all around nice guy, in that order.  Writing remains to be one of his passions, landing him productions in Virgin Labfest for Kafatiran, Daddy’s Girl, and last year’s The Bride And The Bachelor.  Writing Ang Huling El Bimbo The Musical was a dream come true and hopes to make more dreams (his own and others) come true.

Allan Lopez juggles working a full-time corporate day job and trying to write for the theater, his early love.  A fellow for drama in the 38th and the 45th UP National Writers Workshop, Lopez has won a number of citations for his stage plays. His work has been staged in various venues and a number were adapted to film.

Sari Saysay is an artist, activist and resident playwright at Sining Banwa, an independent theater company based in the Bicol region.  His plays 'Ang Bata sa Bus Stop', 'Ang mga Propesyunal', and 'Wala Nang Bata Dito' were featured in VLF 2017 to 2019. Over the last decade, he has written more than thirty Bikol and Tagalog plays, usually narrating social issues and people’s struggles.  He published his book of plays 'Rarom, Rayo' in 2018.

Carlo Vergara is the two-time National Book Award-winning creator of the LGBT superhero Zsazsa Zaturnnah.  He's had five of his plays included in the Virgin Labfest main line-up, with three of them being selected for Revisited sets (Kung Paano Ako Naging Leading Lady, Mula sa Kulimliman, Edgar Allan Hemingway).  He is a currently a freelance writer, illustrator, designer, and teacher.

Nicolas Pichay is a poet, playwright, and lawyer.  He has been a recipient of various scholarship grants from the Asian Cultural Council spent with the Ma-Yi Theatre Company in New York; and the Hubert H. Humphrey Fellowship Program which he completed at the Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs at Syracuse University in New York.  He has also been inducted to the Palanca Hall of Fame.  He works at the Philippine Senate.

Guelan Luarca is a translator, playwright, and director who occasionally acts.  He teaches Filipino and Shakespeare at the Ateneo and a class in playwriting at UP. He says he wouldn’t do VLF this year, but he couldn’t help it.

Schedules for the fair, including participating playwright and topic title, are as follows:

June 11 - Dingdong Novenario (Solo Talk) - ’How a Science High School Prepared Me for a Life in Theater’

June 13 - Allan Lopez - ’Binyag: Samu’t Saring mga Karanasan’

June 14 - Liza Magtoto - "Mensahe, WoeMensahe, WOMENsahe"

Women Playwrights and Their Advocacies

June 16 - Layeta Bucoy - ’Writing and Collaborating for Online Monologues’

June 17 - Maynard Manansala, Chuckberry Pascual, U Z. Eliserio - ’Collaboration in Playwriting’

June 18 - Luna Sicat Cleto (Panel) - ‘Pagsulat sa Panahon ng Pandemic at Paggamit ng Bagong Platform’

June 19 - Dustin Celestino - "Adaptation: From the Stage to the Screen"

June 20 – Eljay Deldoc - ’Online Collaboration for a Theatrical Rework featuring "Lumang Tugtugin" from Njel de Mesa's "Old Apologies" rework by Eljay Castro Deldoc redirection by Katreen dela Cruz’

June 21 – Guelan Luarca - "Life Games: Playmaking for Playwrights WITH Non-Playwrights"

June 24 - Vlad Gonzales - ’Casa Sampaguita: Bahaginan at mga Piling Eksena’

June 25 - Nicolas Pichay - ’The Category is... GRIT... EXPLORE... WRITE PLAY!’

June 26 - Sari Saysay (Online reading of an unstaged play) - MULA SA MGA BITUKA NG LANSANGAN

Paano Tinatawid ng 'PedXing Kolab Series' ang Dulaan sa Bikol

June 27 - Visconde Carlo Vergara (Solo Talk) - "Kung Paano Ako Lumikha ng Dula."

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. 

Now on its 16th year, the Virgin Labfest goes online for the first time from June 10 to 28, 2020 on CCP’s Facebook and YouTube pages.

The VLF Playwrights Fair is free and open to public. An online ’Tambayan’ (Hangout place) is available at Facebook (https://www.facebook.com/groups/VLFTambayan/) for conversation or interaction with the VLF artists and staff.

Check out the FB page of VLF 2020 for the complete line up of speakers and activities.