The Virgin Labfest—a festival of untried, untested, unpublished, and unstaged plays—is set to take place from June 25 to July 6 at the Cultural Center of the Philippines’ (CCP) Tanghalang Huseng Batute (Studio Theater) and the Bulwagang Amado Hernandez.
Now on its tenth year, the play fest is a joint venture of CCP, Tanghalang Pilipino, and the Writers’ Bloc, Inc. in cooperation with the National Commission for Culture and the Arts. It has earned a solid reputation for its exciting and provocative line-up of one-act plays from playwrights both young and old.
Of this feat, founding festival director Rody Vera said, “What I think the Labfest has done is, it has provided an avenue, because venues for things like this are really very rare. And para maka-every year ka, isang malaking oasis na yun for the playwrights. And masaya ako na pag dumaan sila sa Virgin Labfest, nakikilala sila, nagkakaroon sila ng venue to write for other companies, or naisasa-pelikula, or nananalo sa Palanca [Awards].”
The Virgin Labfest will feature the plays of Liza Magtoto’s Anonymous, Allan Lopez’s Sa Isang Hindi Natatanging Umaga, At Ang Mga Ulap Ay Dahan-Dahang Pumaibabaw sa Nabubulok Na Lungsod; Layeta Bucoy’s Sa Pagitan Ng Dalawang Kahong Liham, Raymund Reyes’ Ang Naghihingalo, Ricardo Novenario’s Wendy Wants To Be A Housewife, Carlo Vergara’s The Missing Peace, Joy Icayan’s Last Ten Minutes, Kevin Tabora’s Mapagbirong Haplos, Eljay Deldoc’s Ang Goldfish Ni Prof. Dimaandal, J-mee Katanyag’s Betang, Reya Laplana’s Sa Lilim as well as Maynard Manansala and U.Z. Eliserio’s Bago Ilibing.
This year’s Labfest will also restage selected plays from its 9th edition, specifically Herlyn Gail Alegre’s Imbisibol, Liza Magtoto’s Isang Daan, and Carlo Vergara’s Kung Paano Ako Naging Leading Lady.
These one-act plays are given “bare bones” staging by professional directors including Audie Gemora, Denisa Reyes, Chris Millado, Dennis N. Marasigan, Joshua Lim So, Marlon Rivera, Tami Monsod, Melvin Lee, Roobak Valle, JK Anicoche, Jenny Jamora, Ed Lacson Jr., Law Fajardo, and Chris Martinez.
According to this year’s Festival Director Tuxqs Rutaquio, the charm of the Virgin Labfest lies in its guts and boldness.
“Gusto mo siyang gawin dahil you can be as fearless as anybody,” he said. “Yung first batch namin, gawa lang kami ng gawa, without even thinking of the money involved. Even yung mga sponsors, kami hakot lang kami ng hakot, ‘Nuod kayo, sige nuod kayo.’ ’Yun yung magandang experience as an artist, parang ikaw mismo nagbebenta nung sarili mong gawa. Tapos hanggang dumami ng dumami, hanggang you see the result. Parang three years after, in droves na ’yung mga tao. Nakakatuwa!”
Meanwhile, staged readings will also be held during the 10th Virgin Labfest, such as Lagalag written by Samantha Dadofalza and directed by Emman dela Cruz, Nocturne written by Juan Ekis and directed by Emman dela Cruz, and Mga Buhay Na Apoy written by Kanakan Balintagos and directed by Rollie Inocencio. Site specific performances called Fragments will be staged by the DLSU Harlequin Theater Guild featuring Ang Transaksiyon by Jovielyn Avisado, Mannequin by Laurice Guillermo, Usapang Basket (Balls) by Lois Villar, Realism by Marc Gaba, and Barbie Girls by Em Mendez.
Tickets are priced at P300 with festival passes at P1200. For more information, visit CCP’s website at www.culturalcenter.gov.ph or visit TicketWorld Online.