Virgin Labfest 9 releases play synopses


Virgin Labfest is proud to announce this year’s schedule of unpublished, unstaged, untried, and untested plays for the upcoming theater festival on June 26-July 7, 2013 at the Tanghalang Huseng Batute (CCP Studio Theater) of the Cultural Center of the Philippines (CCP). Established in 2005, this festival is a partnership project of the Writer’s Bloc, Inc., Tanghalang Pilipino, Inc. and CCP. Ticket price for each set is at Php300.

SET A (June 26, 3 & 8 p.m.; July 6, 3 p.m.; July 7, 8 p.m.)

Kudeta! Kudeta!
Written by Jimmy Flores. Directed by Ariel S.R. Yonzon

A comatose patient and a disgruntled fallen angel join forces to remove Lucifer from power. It’s good versus evil and all the grays in between.

Written by George de Jesus III. Directed by Melvin Lee

In a bedroom, an older woman berates a younger man, much like a mother reminding her son of his future. In the course of the conversation, their relationship becomes more than what it seems, revealing how the ties that bind them together is being unfettered. “Kapit” is a story of the attachments people make and what makes them hold on to the things that they ought to let go.

Written by Herlyn Alegre. Directed by Lawrence Fajardo

The play is set in 1992 on an ordinary Sunday in Tokyo. Two Filipino friends, Benjie and Manuel, both illegal workers in Japan, gather at the house of their Filipina friend, Manang Linda, to collect the letters their families send to fictional names they created to hide their true identities. At the middle of the happy lunch, Rodel, another young Filipino illegal worker, barges in, declaring he had just killed a man who threatened to report him to the police. His friends suggest that he moves deeper underground by moving to another prefecture, finding a new day job, cutting ties with his family and friends, keeping a low profile, changing his name, and staying hidden for good. Would Rodel choose to stay invisible not only to the police but also to his family and friends to keep his freedom and continue working for his family’s sake?

SET B (June 27, 3 & 8 p.m.; July 6, 8 p.m.; July 7, 3 p.m.)

Isang Daan
Written by Liza C. Magtoto. Directed by Ed Lacson

Ting has a Katipunero hero for an ancestor. In fact, a street is named after him. He wants his Fil-am daughter, Bituin, to feel that Pinoy pride by showing her that. The bad news is that the street will soon give way to a highway, which is being built through a mayor’s initiative. Bituin couldn’t care less, but Ting wants to preserve the legacy of his great-grandfather. An informal settler and an NGO worker also seem to have reasons to stop the mayor from building this highway. What’s in this street anyway that they have to fight for it? Perhaps a quest for immortality, survival or something else?

Written by Dominique La Victoria. Directed by Charles Yee

The simple, quiet lives of three children in Bukidnon are shaken when they hear that a Zipline park is going to be constructed in their beloved playground. They go to the site, hoping to play peacefully like they always do, but instead they find a sign: NO TRESPASSING. In their own little way they weigh the pros and cons: development for their little barangay or loss of a childhood?

Written by Eljay Castro Deldoc. Directed by Marlon Rivera

Owel’s medical examination unlocks a story of loss, romantic petition, and gender discussions. Sexual innuendos, mentions of heartbreak, and personal strife are juxtaposed against the clinical atmosphere of an infirmary in Makati. Two ex-lovers attempt closure over stool samples and urine examinations, staying true to the genre of black comedies.

SET C (June 28, 3 & 8 p.m.; July 3, 3 p.m.; July 5, 8 p.m.)

Written by Bernadette Neri. Directed by JK Anicoche

“Pamamanhikan” narrates the friendship of Ibyang and Ester as the latter is faced with the cross of motherhood. Her youngest daughter, Ces, is coming home along with her partner, and Ester is confronted with the predicament of how to deal with her daughter’s lover.

The story takes place while Ester and Ibyang are preparing all the ingredients of her daughter’s favorite dish. With the help of Ibyang, who is an expert in concocting not just complicated dishes but also that of the most complex emotions, will Ester eventually find the exact recope that complements her own feelings?

Ambong Abo
Written by Em Mendez. Directed by Roobak Valle

Ambo is found by the police in Central Park. He is stupefied, staring blankly at a dead snake. He has been missing for three days. Is it the fabled song of the Corocoro or the seducing hiss of the Oryol that led him to search or escape death?

Ambo was a copra farmer in Bicol. Dolly, his younger daugther, immigrated and settled in New York. She is disillusioned by the comfort of living she finds in a foreign land that she dreads the idea of coming home. In the valley of Iriga, Ambo’s elder daughter, Magda, is a simple, submissive abaca weaver who patiently waits for the return of her father. She reminds Ambo and Dolly of the life they left behind.

“I am the son of Daragang Magayon, Handyong is my father,” claims Ambo to his daughters that they quickly dismiss as whims of an aging man. Daragang Magayon is the legendary maiden of Bicol’s enchanted volcano and Handyong is the leading mythical hero-warrior of their people. Ambo in his final words reveal the continuation of the lost myth of the Bicol region.

Separated by geography, culture and language, the lives of the sisters are bridged by Ambo’s visions, actions and prophecies.

Kung Paano Ako Naging Leading Lady
Written by Carlo Vergara. Directed by Chris Martinez

Being a maid is tough enough, but when Mely finds employment under a group of unconventional employers, she steps up to the unique challenge for the sake of her family. When Mely’s sister Viva enters the picture, Mely is reminded of a disturbing past, made complicated by an unsettling romantic revelation made by one of her employers. All this in a tragicomedy about domestic help, sibling rivalry, and shattered dreams.

SET D (June 29, 3 & 8 p.m.; July 3, 8 p.m.; July 4, 3 p.m.): FULL-LENGTH PLAY

Written by Benjamin Pimentel. Directed by Chris Millado

“Pramoedya” tells the story of Indonesian novelist Pramoedya Ananta Toer, who spent years as a political prisoner on a desolate Indonesian island during the Suharto regime. Banned from writing or reading, he defied his captors by composing an epic novel by secretly narrating the story to fellow prisoners. Pramoedya’s novel features a 19th-century Indonesian patriot who draws inspiration in his struggle against Dutch colonial rule from the revolution waged by Filipinos against Spain. The play probes the connections between the two archipelagos through the story of a Filipino journalist who travels to Indonesia to write a story about Pramoedya in hopes of making more Filipinos know about his life and struggle. The play evolves to become not just about the courage and commitment of a writer, but also an exploration of the Indonesian and Filipino experiences.

SET E (June 30, 3 & 8 p.m.; July 4, 8 p.m.; July 5, 3 p.m.): VIRGIN LABFEST 8 REVISITED

Written by Aizel Cabilan. Directed by Melvin Lee

“Pagsubli” is about how an old native man and a soon-to-be-wed lady from Manila meet in an old, rickety waiting shed along the side of a road. In the course of their waiting and, later on, conversation and return to memory lane will they uncover each other’s story. This “return”, unknowingly, will lead to the eventual unfolding of how they know each other and, more importantly, how they know themselves. Set just before the warm and calm sunset on the province of Sagada, “Pagsubli”, which means return or pagbalik, is enriched by the Kangkanaey language and lullabies.

Ang Unang Regla ni John
Written by Em Mendez. Directed by George de Jesus III

“Ang Unang Regla ni John” is a coming-out story of a young boy brought up in a hypermacho family. John dreads growing hair as he reaches the age of puberty, but adores the hairless bodies of women displayed in posters in their barbershop. Upon waking up from a dream, he discovers the first spurts of hair in his privates. He sneaks away his father’s labaha and attempts to shave the thing he hates most.

Written by Guelan Luarca. Directed by Emmanuel Dela Cruz

In exchange for P4 million each, five clueless men are hired by a mysterious employer to accomplish an inanely simple task: to transfer a loaded body bag from one room to another. But suddenly, they find themselves locked inside a metal room, and forced to fight for survival when an absurdly murderous written instruction from their employer surfaces. Will they succumb to the idiocy of compassion and humanity, or rise to the challenge of instinct and cunning?

Festival Pass:
You can now watch various sets of Virgin Labfest IX plays without the hassle of queuing at the box office by getting Virgin Labfest Festival Passes.
The PREMIERE CARD is your ticket to the opening week of the festival (June 26 to 30).
Buy the ENCORE CARD if you prefer to watch the plays on the second week of the festival (July 03 to 07).

Both passes are available in two denominations.
The EXTRA VIRGIN PASS, available for P1,200.00, allows you to watch all the 5 sets of plays while the VIRGIN PASS allows you to watch 4 sets for only P900.00.

From the CCP Website and VLF Facebook Page.

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