May 29, 2019

May 22, 2019

IT has been 15 years since the Virgin Labfest first redefined the theater scene with the staging of untried, untested and unstaged works by emerging and established playwrights.
And now it is back with fresh one-act plays brought to life by outstanding thespians and directed by upcoming and established directors.

Co-presented by the Cultural Center of the Philippines, its resident theater company Tanghalang Pilipino and the playwrights' group Writer's Bloc Inc., the annual theater festival will happen from June 19 to July 7, at various CCP venues.

Taking “Titibok-Tibok” as its theme, this year's VLF presents 12 featured one-act works, which have been selected and curated from 207 manuscripts submitted, three revisited plays from last year’s festival, and staged readings.

The “virgin” plays are divided into four sets. Set A includes: “Fangirl” written by Herlyn Alegre and directed by Charles Yee; “Huling Hiling Ni Darling” written by Raymund Barcelon and directed by Ricardo Magno; and, “Isang Gabi Ang Buwan ay Hila-Hila ng Gula-Gulanit na Ulap” written by Ryan Machado and directed by Paolo O'Hara.

For Set B, audiences can look forward to “Unreachable Star” written by Layeta Bucoy and directed by Mara Marasigan; “Anak Ka Ng” written by U Z Eliserio and directed by Maynard Manansala; and “Wanted: Male Boarders” written by Rick Patriarca and directed by George De Jesus.

Set C, meanwhile, is composed of “The Bride and The Bachelor” written by Dingdong Novenario and directed by Topper Fabregas; “Surrogare” written by Dennis Teodosio and directed by Roobak Valle; and “A Family Reunion” written by Anthony Kim Vergara and directed by Ian Segarra.

Set D completes the list with “Ang Pag-Uulyanin ni Olivia Mendoza” written by Rolin Migyuel Obina and directed by Phil Noble; “Larong Demonyo” written by Nicolas Pichay and directed by Jose Estrella; and “Wala Nang Bata Dito” written by Sari Saysay and directed by Tanya Lopez.

Three plays from last year's VLF will be revisited in Set E: Allan Lopez's “River Lethe,” directed by Chris Martinez; Carlo Vergara's “Edgar Allan Hemingway” directed by George De Jesus III; and Dustin Celestino's “Mga Eksena sa Buhay ng Kontrabida” directed by Roobak Valle.
Set A and Set B of the Staged Readings are part of a new program dubbed “Once They Were Virgins,” featuring the first works of established playwrights.
Set A is comprised of “Rated X” written by Jun Lana and directed by Dennis Marasigan, and “Freshman” written by Chris Martinez and directed by Kanakan Balintagos; while Set B includes “Pagsasarili” written by Liza Magtoto and directed by Olive Nieto and “Intermedyo” written by Chris Millado and directed by Baha Vergara.
Sets C and D of the Staged Readings are all new works. Set C offers “Ang Pagbabalik at Paglisan” written by Karl Caminade and directed by Bong Cabrera; “Multiverse” written by Juliene Mendoza and directed by Fitz Betana; and “Mula Kina Cain at Abel” written by Mikaela Regis and directed by Yong Tapang.

For Set D, “Ang Pamabasang Impyerno ng Republika ng Pilipinas” written by Andrew Estacio and directed by Sari Saysay; “Lit” written by Emmanuel Feliciano and directed by Eric Villanueva dela Cruz; “Mema” written by Joey Paras and directed by Chunchi Cabasaan.

The main play features will be staged at Tanghalang Aurelio Tolentino (CCP Little Theater), while the VLF Revisited will be performed at Tanghalang Huseng Batute (CCP Studio Theater), and the Staged Readings will be at Tanghalang Amado V. Hernandez.

The Virgin Labfest Writing Fellowship Program, a two-week mentorship program on the study and practice of dramatic writing for the stage, will also be held as part of the festival. The fellowship program aims to train young aspiring playwrights through a series of lectures, script critiquing, writing sessions and interactions with known playwrights, directors and selected actors.

On June 29, a Playwright Fair will be held at the Tanghalang Aurelio Tolentino Lobby, where the audience will be able to meet the writers and purchase their works. 

Established in 2005, the Virgin Labfest aims to provide Filipino playwrights a venue to present their unpublished, untried, untested and unstaged works to the theater-going public.

Tickets are available at the CCP Box Office and all TicketWorld outlets. For ticketing information, please call the CCP Marketing Department at +632-832-3706 or +632-832-3704 or email the Sales and Promotions Division at ccpsalesandpromo@gmail.com or visit CCP and TicketWorld.