The Virgin LabFest 2020 meets head-on the stark realities of the Covid19 pandemic, which is wreaking havoc globally, infecting at least 2 million people, and killing about 150,000 worldwide.
The Covid19 pandemic is not stopping the VLF 2020, now on its 16th year, from happening.
The annual festival of “untried, untested, and unstaged work” goes on a “virtual stage” from June 10 to 28, 2020.
Organizers call it the “lockdown edition,” but its official title is “VLF 2020 Kapit: Lab in the Time of Covid (A Virtual Labfest Lockdown Edition).” It features nine new works, three revisited works, and six staged readings.
The nine main performances are: “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 Norma Boquiren, directed by Mark Mirando; and “Gin Bilog” by Luisito Nario, directed by James Harvey Estrada.
In “Doggy,” a fiancee’s sexual desires becomes his source of repressed anger. Frustrations surface after a game of “Never Ever Have I Ever,” when he learns that his fiancee was more sexually adventurous with her previous lovers.
“Pilot Episode” 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” 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. They fervently cling to one another and try to preserve their friendship before circumstance separates them forever.
Returning home after a gun battle with the New People’s Army, a man reunites with his pregnant wife in “Papaano Turuan ang Babae Humawak ng Baril.” The homecoming is complicated by the husband’s impossible request to his wife.
In “BlackPink,” a father discovers that his youngest son, a staunch fan of Blackpink, was prohibited by his school principal to dance “Kill This Love” in their Family Day talent contest. The only way for the son to join the competition is if he finds other male students to dance with him. Will he be successful?
“Multiverse” reunites two estranged brothers – a writer and a recovering alcoholic. The two reconnect through their mutual love of comic books. As they discuss the concept of alternate realities and dimensions common in most comic book stories, they imagine a better relationship in a different reality. What if the different reality slowly reveals itself to the two estranged siblings?
When a young student gets into trouble in his new school, he hides inside a dilapidated storage room. He feels safe until “Titser Kit” finds him there.
“Mayang Bubot sa Tag-araw” is a painful tale of two Ayta children whose friendship is tested as they choose different paths. One follows her mother as she seeks the American dream, never mind who gets hurt along the way. The other stays in their barrio, laboring against oppression.
In “Gin Bilog,” old issues are rehashed in a drinking session with family and friends.
Revisited Plays, Staged Readings
The Revisited Plays are: “Fangirl” by Herlyn Alegre, directed by Charles Yee; “Anak Ka Ng” by U Z Eliserio, directed by Maynard Manansala; and “Wanted: Male Boarders” by Rick Patriarca, directed by George De Jesus III.
Catch the Staged Readings featuring “Jenny Li” by Buch Dacanay, directed by Nour Hooshmand; “Dominador Gonzales – National Artist” by Dingdong Novenario, directed by Joel Bunny Cadag; “LadyMasters” by Rouchelle Dinglasan, directed by Joy Cerro; “Matira ang Matibay” by Bernice Dacara, directed by Alon Segara; “Bagahe” by Nicko de Guzman, directed by Joel Saracho; “Mongoloida’s Casa de Pun” by Claro delos Reyes, directed by Guelan Luarca.
The VLF Playwright’s Fair, one of the sections of the annual VLF and a collaboration among the CCP Intertextual Division, the VLF Team, and The Writers’ Bloc, is also pushing though. It features Filipino writers and their works.
The VLF Playwrights Fair is free and open to public. It will be held online every 7 p.m. during the VLF 2020 run.
Check the FB page of VLF 2020 for the complete line up of speakers and activities.
“The Virgin Labfest is here, and it remains strong and able to adjust to new realities. The festival has a firm fan base which has filled the CCP theaters year in and year out. Let’s continue to tell our stories on the virtual stage,” VLF 2020 Festival Director JK Anicoche said.
Established in 2005, the Virgin Labfest is co-presented by the Cultural Center of the Philippines, its resident theater company Tanghalang Pilipino, and The Writer’s Bloc.
For more details, visit the CCP website and its official social media accounts, and the VLF Facebook account.
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