The Virgin Labfest—an annual festival of unstaged, untried, untested works by playwrights, directors and actors—launches its fourth season this Wednesday, June 25. Eighteen new works shall be showcased in staged readings, a book launch, and audience talk back sessions. Now on its fourth year, the Virgin Labfest has earned a reputation for its exciting and provocative lineup of so-called "virgin" plays from playwrights, both young and old.
As part of its objective to train young writers and to
discover new talents and works, the Virgin Labfest 4 will have as a new
component called the Labfest Lab. In this program, secondary school students
who are interested in theater and playwriting will be mentored throughout the
festival by a member of the Writer's Bloc. As part of their training, they will
be given complimentary tickets to all the Labfest performances and will have
workshops sessions on playwriting with director and playwright Niel de Mesa. At
the end of the period, a reading of their works will be featured as a separate
Each participant will be at the CCP from June 25 to 29, 2008. On Saturday, July 5, a workshop session will be held to critique their works. At this session, members of the Writers Bloc will join the students for further mentoring. The Labfest Lab will culminate in a staged reading of their works on Sunday, July 6, at the CCP Tanghalang Aurelio Tolentino (Little Theater).
Rody Vera, the artistic director of the Virgin Labfest 4, says, "This year, there will be five sets of one-act trilogies, each dealing with a central topic or unifying theme ranging from comedies to political commentaries to gender issues to ghost stories, and a program consisting of three productions from Virgin Labfest 3." One of these is a program especially geared for children, consisting of plays commissioned by the Philippine Board on Books for Young People, based on published children's stories.
There will also be a contest for owners of blogs (web logs or online journals). The Labfest Blogfest offers active bloggers the chance to win prizes. All they have to do is attend the first weekend performances and write a web blog or online journal within 48 hours after watching the program they saw. Winners will be chosen for each set of Labfest plays and receive gift certificates and other merchandise.
Staged readings of six other "virgin" plays will also be presented every night from June 25 to 29. On July 3, there will be a reading of selected excerpts from Ma-Yi Theater Company's anthology Savage Stage, most of which have been performed by the company.
National Artist for Literature F. Sionil Jose will share his thoughts with Howie Severino in a forum titled "From Page to Stage: The Novelist in Front of the Footlights" on July 5.
The Virgin Labfest 4 runs from June 25 to July 6 and is presented by the Writers Bloc and Tanghalang Pilipino with the Cultural Center of the Philippines, and the National Commission for Culture and the Arts. For schedule and ticket inquiries, please call the CCP Box Office at 832-3704 or Ticketworld at National Bookstore branches at 891-9999.
For the full schedule of the 4th Virgin Labfest, visit www.virginlabfest.com