For its 14th year of voicing out the unheard of and singing the unsung, annual theater festival The Virgin Labfest is back. This time around, they are bringing together 12 new one-act plays curated from 150 submissions, four staged readings, and three throwback plays from last year. The theme–timely and subversive–is “Silip.” It aims to explore the human experience in hopes to trigger further conversations on social issues.
Ever daring in its nature of experimenting forms and conventions, the stage welcomes six new playwrights. This brings diversity in the stories; a thrill that keeps us on the edge of our seats. We put together anticipated plays from newcomers, and some that we’re excited to see:
1. Mga Eksena Sa Buhay Ng Kontrabida
Mga Eksena Sa Buhay Ng Kontrabida is written by Dustin Celestino, directed by Roobak Valle, with the poster designed by Kim Quillicot. This play takes the audience into the villain’s perspective, which is unusual and exciting. It is hard to see yourself siding with a suspect of a crime, but the story doesn’t beg you to. This brings light to an unchallenged truth: a coin has two sides. “He’s violent, selfish, and reckless. Unfortunately, Jake (villain) doesn’t exist in a vacuum, and his behavior has consequences.” Read the whole synopsis here.
2. Mga Bata Sa Selda 43
Mga Bata Sa Selda 43 is written by Rolin Migyuel Cadallo Obina and directed by Ian Segarra. The synopsis is bold, tense, yet playful with elements like aliens and kidnapping. The synopsis reads, “Philip and his younger brother, Ino, are ordinary and playful children from the slums who were kidnapped by aliens. Or so they thought. But their dreams of escaping the alien prison cell to be reunited with their mother and ailing grandmother are shattered when they meet Ed.”
3. Ang Inyong Mga Anak: Si Harold at Napoleon
Ang Inyong Mga Anak: Si Harold at Napoleon is written by Anthony Kim Vergara, directed by Ricardo Magno, with its poster designed by Eshei Mesina. Through opening a conversation about murder, the characters reveal powerful insights about contradicting politics. According to Theater Fans Manila, the play will start and end with poetry.
4. Marawi Musicale
Marawi Musicale is written by Tyron Casumpang, directed by Ariel Yonzon, with musical direction by Maynard De Guzman, choreography by Gelo Camus, and poster design by Acryt Vallido. Giving us a glimpse of the life in Marawi, the story starts four months since Marawi was attacked by Maute-ISIS. With the immobilizing noise of gunshots and bombing, the only way to encompass the noise is music.
5. River Lethe
River Lethe is written by Allan Lopez, directed by Chris Martinez, choreographed by Stephen Vinas with the poster designed by Carlo Vergara. This lets you see through the life of two cancer patients who shared an intimacy no one outside the room can understand. Building a tiny home with each other’s company, they let us in on their niche.
The Virgin Labfest’s 14th festival dives into the rawest parts of human emotions we rarely ever see. With performances happening in a relatively small, enclosed theatre, the experience is fully immersive. You can buy tickets here.
The 14th Virgin Labfest: Silip runs at the Cultural Center of the Philippines starting June 27 until July 15 2018. Videos and photos from Theater Fans Manila, and the Virgin Labfest Facebook pages.