The Virgin Labfest 15

Untried, Untested, and Unstaged Plays

Now on its 15th year, the annual festival of fresh one-act plays continues to attract theatergoers with remarkable works by emerging and established playwrights. Established in 2005, the Virgin Labfest aims to provide playwrights a venue to present their unpublished, untried, untested, and unstaged works to the theater-going public. Virgin Labfest is a project of the Manila-based playwrights group Writer’s Bloc, Inc., acclaimed theater company Tanghalang Pilipino, and the Cultural Center of the Philippines.

Virgin Labfest 15 runs for 3 weeks and is composed of 12 new Featured Works, 3 ‘Revisited’ Plays (audiences’ favourites from last year’s festival), Staged Readings, and a showcase of works from the VLF Writing Fellowship Program.

As part of its 15th year, Virgin Labfest will be hosting its first ever PLAYWRIGHTS’ FAIR on June 29 (Saturday) at CCP Little Theater Lobby from 1 to 8 PM. Each playwright will be given time to talk about their recent works, books that they will launch, and a space where people can interact with them.

EDITOR’S NOTE:

Pelikulove will also be launching the FIRST EVER FILIPINO ONLINE PLAYWRITING COURSE with RODY VERA and the book “Two Women as Specters of History” published by Ateneo De Manila University Press at the Playwrights’ Fair from  7 to 8 PM at the Dream Theater.

SET A

FANGIRL 
Playwright: Herlyn Alegre / Director: Charles Yee

Synopsis

As one of the biggest boybands of the 1990s get together for a long-awaited reunion concert after 20 years, high school friends Barbara, Jessica and Angeline also reunite to book concert tickets to see their favorite boys. As the three friends reminisce their teenage years spent swooning over their favorite boyband, they also find themselves confronting issues from their past as concealed insecurities and unspoken resentment rise toward the surface.

Cast

Barbara – Mayen Estanero
Jessica – Marj Lorico
Angeline – Meann Espinosa

Schedule:

JUNE 19, 28 and JULY 3, 7 | 3 PM
JUNE 19, 27 and JULY 2, 6 | 8 PM

HULING HILING NI DARLING 
Playwright: Raymund Barcelon / Director: Ricardo Magno

Synopsis

After Abet’s wife fell into a sudden coma, he calls on his mother-in-law and sister-in-law to bid her goodbye. Much to the chagrin of Abet, his overbearing mother-in-law refuses to let her daughter go and insists that she’s fighting for a reason. The sister-in-law then reveals to Abet that she and his wife made an agreement that their mother will live with them, an agreement that he only learned on that fateful day.

Cast

Abet – Renante Bustamante
Mama – Sherry Lara
Susan – Skyzx Labastilla

Oryang – Chase Salazar
Doktor – Kenjie Villacorte
Nurse – Liway Gabo

Schedule:

JUNE 19, 28 and JULY 3, 7 | 3 PM
JUNE 19, 27 and JULY 2, 6 | 8 PM

ISANG GABING ANG BUWAN AY HILA-HILA NG GULA-GULANIT NA ULAP 
Playwright: Ryan Machado / Director: Paolo O’Hara

Synopsis

In the dead of night when the moon is full, two men are secretly digging a waist-deep hole. It is uncertain whether they’re burying something or digging up treasures. Before dawn, they will lock horns with the power driving their deadliest, most guarded secret, their hunger.

Cast

Egberto – Ybes Bagadiong
Elisimo – Heber O’Hara

Schedule:

JUNE 19, 28 and JULY 3, 7 | 3 PM
JUNE 19, 27 and JULY 2, 6 | 8 PM

SET B

THE UNREACHABLE STAR 
Playwright: Layeta Bucoy / Director: Mara Marasigan

Synopsis

When self-assured Tatay discovers that his youngest child Ali is giving up on her dream of becoming an engineer, he has to persuade her that he can provide for her education through the help of their barangay captain’s patronage and his wife’s blind faith to their patron saint. He evicts his unapologetically gay older child from home as he is forced to hang on to his belief that he could fulfill all their dreams or risk the realization that his simplest of dreams has already metamorphosed into an unreachable star.

Cast

Tatay – Raffy Tejada
Nanay – Tex Ordonez

Ali – Lorie Figuerroa
Kuya – Reynald Santos

Schedule:

JUNE 20, 23, 29 and JULY 4 | 3 PM
JUNE 20, 28 and JULY 3, 7 | 8 PM

ANAK KA NG
Playwright: UZ. Eliserio / Director: Maynard Manansala

Synopsis

Pina has spent most of her life without a mother. She has learned to rely on and love only her father. But now her father is dead. Connie, her mother, came home from abroad seemingly just to attend to the details of the funeral and burial, not to grieve. Soon, Connie will leave the Philippines again. Pina has to decide: will she forgive her mother and try to salvage their relationship, or will she cast Connie completely out of her life?

Cast

Pina – Krystle Valentino
Connie – Skyzx Labastilla

Niko – Rafael Tibayan

Schedule:

JUNE 20, 23, 29 and JULY 4 | 3 PM
JUNE 20, 28 and JULY 3, 7 | 8 PM

WANTED: MALE BOARDERS 
Playwright: Rick Patriarca / Director: George de Jesus III

Synopsis

In Indang, Cavite, a trio of college students relearns the definition of desire as they try to coexist with a new enigmatic board mate.

Cast

Melody – Lance Reblando
Marco – Ross Pesigan

Ian – AJ Sison
Andrew – Vincent Pajara

 

Schedule:

JUNE 20, 23, 29 and JULY 4 | 3:00PM
JUNE 20, 28 and JULY 3, 7 | 8:00PM

SET C

THE BRIDE AND THE BACHELOR 
Playwright: Dingdong Novenario / Director: Topper Fabregas

Synopsis

In a moment of heightened emotion, i.e. the Bride’s actual wedding, the Bride and the Bachelor meet up. Today it is extra-special because after ten years of being together, the Bride finally gets to tie the knot, albeit to her new fiancé. This provides both the Bride and the Bachelor one last chance to look back at their failed relationship and save what’s left of it, or perhaps take their relationship one step forward. After all, 10 years together is definitely a bond that’s stronger than any marriage contract.

Cast

The Bride – Via Antonio
The Bachelor – Alex Medina

Schedule:

JUNE 21, 26, 30 and JULY 5 | 3 PM
JUNE 21, 23, 29 and JULY 4 | 8 PM

SURROGARE
Playwright: J. Dennis Teodosio / Director: Roobak Valle

Synopsis

Adam and Eve live like a typical married couple, focusing whatever they do around each other. They have committed to this fantabulous relationship for almost seven years now. Then, as they are about to feast on their anniversary dinner, Ana arrives, forcing them, not just to face their utmost fear, but, to fulfill their greatest fantasy as well. “Surrogare” is presumably about love and making things (sur)real.

Cast

Adam – Roeder Camañag
Eve – Paul Jake Paule

Ana  – Karen Romualdez

Schedule:

JUNE 21, 26, 30 and JULY 5 | 3 PM
JUNE 21, 23, 29 and JULY 4 | 8 PM

A FAMILY REUNION 
Playwright: Anthony Kim Vergara/ Director: Ian Segarra

Synopsis

The family’s bunso is visiting from Japan with fianceé in hand and the job of breaking the news of their engagement to the family. He rounds up Dad, Ate, and Kuya for an evening family gathering where his guest and their exciting news are supposed to be the stars. But ghosts of family past are dredged and dragged to the surface and threaten to steal the spotlight. This play is an uncensored close-up of the Filipino family reunion, in all its hilarity and reality.

Cast

Dad – Gie Onida
Roch – Chrome Cosio

Hershey – Lesley Lina
Nick – Joshua Martin Tayco

May – Sabrina Basilio

Schedule:

JUNE 21, 26, 30 and JULY 5 | 3 PM
JUNE 21, 23, 29 and JULY 4 | 8 PM

SET D

ANG PAG-UULYANIN NI OLIVIA MENDOZA 
Playwright: Rolin Migyuel Obina / Director: Phil Noble

Synopsis

Olivia, a 75-year old woman in a home for the elderlies, keeps her dark past to herself in fear of losing the hard-fought relationship with the man she loves; among the coterie of the same senile, cranky, old people with once significant but now forgotten lives. Until one day, when Alzheimer’s Disease reveals her deepest secrets, everything she holds dear falls apart, leaving a fractured memory she might never mend back again.

Cast

Olivia – Edna Vida
Andres – Nonoy Froilan

Julia – Celeste Legaspi
Cesar – Crispin Pineda

Lika – Erlinda Villalobos

Schedule:

JUNE 22, 27 and JULY 2, 6 | 3 PM
JUNE 22, 26, 30 and JULY 5 | 8 PM

LARONG DEMONYO
Playwright: Nicolas Pichay / Director: José Estrella

Synopsis

Napipilitang mag-apply ng trabaho si Efren sa dating kinakatakutan at ngayo’y kinasusuklaman Heneral ng Martial Law dahil kailangan niya ng pang-ospital sa kanyang lolo na na may malubhang karamdaman.

Makakatunggali ni Efren ang Heneral sa isang matinding talakayan hanggang sa umabot ito sa paglalaro nila ng chess na may nakakapangilabot na pustahan.

Cast

Heneral Videla – Leo Rialp
Efren – Johnny Maglinao

Schedule:

JUNE 22, 27 and JULY 2, 6 | 3 PM
JUNE 22, 26, 30 and JULY 5 | 8 PM

WALA NANG BATA DITO 
Playwright: Sari Saysay / Director: Tanya Lopez

Synopsis

One early evening in a small fishing barrio in Bikol, a mother awaits the authorities who will take her nine-year old child to prison.

Cast

Dolor – Venise T. Buenaflor

Schedule:

JUNE 22, 27 and JULY 2, 6 | 3 PM
JUNE 22, 26, 30 and JULY 5 | 8 PM

SET E (Revisited)

MGA EKSENA SA BUHAY NG KONTRABIDA
Playwright: Dustin Celestino / Director: Roobak Valle

Synopsis

Jake is a villain. He’s violent, selfish, and reckless. Unfortunately, Jake doesn’t exist in a vacuum, and his behavior has consequences.

Because Jake is a villain, people around him feel threatened, and these people look for ways to solve the problem that is Jake.

Part origin story, part family drama, the play is a collection of conversations heard in the vicinity of a villain.

Cast

Jake – Jay Gonzaga
Mike – JV Ibesate
Tom – Fitz Bitana

Ricky – Richard Manabat
Joe – Lian Silverio

Schedule:

JUNE 22, 23, 29 and JULY 6, 7 | 3 PM
JUNE 21, 22, 28, 29 and JULY 5, 6 | 8 PM

RIVER LETHE
Playwright: Allan Lopez / Director: Chris Martinez

Synopsis

A room in a small lover’s hotel is sanitized, preparing it for its next occupant. Abe and Mara, two cancer patients who just finished with their early morning chemotherapy sessions, check in before returning to their regular lives. In snapshots, we see the few hours they are together exploring fetishes, kinks, uncanny sex and hopeless medical conditions – the nakedness of their bodies shadowing intimacies that nobody outside the room will ever know. All is left in the cramped space to be forgotten – a dip in the mythical River Lethe, where one drinks to forget?

Cast

Abe – Paolo O’Hara
Mara – Mayen Estanero
Ensemble – Charm Aranton
Ensemble – Ian Formacion
Ensemble – Roco Sanchez

Schedule:

JUNE 22, 23, 29 and JULY 6, 7 | 3 PM
JUNE 21, 22, 28, 29 and JULY 5, 6 | 8 PM

EDGAR ALLAN HEMINGWAY 
Playwright: Carlo Vergara / Director: George de Jesus III

Synopsis

When a young man achieves a feat that many writers could only dream of, he’s thrust into a
hectic life of celebrity, one unabashedly embraced by his supportive lover. But when a childhood friend shows up hoping to have a slice of the same success, an unexpected revelation brings about questions on ethics, survival, and freedom.

Cast

George – Arkin da Silva
Levi – Rafa Siguion-Reyna
Barns – Ricci Chan

Schedule:

JUNE 22, 23, 29 and JULY 6, 7 | 3 PM
JUNE 21, 22, 28, 29 and JULY 5, 6 | 8 PM

STAGED READINGS (SET A)

Once They Were Virgins

RATED X 
Playwright: Jun Robles Lana / Director: Dennis Marasigan

Synopsis

A septuagenarian woman talks about missing sex and cuddles while her husband is having a heart attack.

Cast

Lou Veloso
Sherry Lara

Schedule:

JUNE 21 | 6 PM

FRESHMAN
Playwright: Chris Martinez / Director: Kanakan-Balintagos

Synopsis

Two college freshmen (Ryan, a geeky artistic type and Bonn, a jock) study for their final Statistics exam. What is supposed to be a review night turns out to be more than they expected. Values are questioned. Innocence is lost. Desire is unleashed.

Cast

Nico Nepomuceno
Earvin Estioco

Schedule:

JUNE 21 | 6 PM

STAGED READINGS (SET B)

Once They Were Virgins

PAGSASARILI 
Playwright: Liza Magtoto / Director: Olive Nieto

Synopsis

Two women share an apartment. Jobless Minoe thinks she is being independent from her parents but is still really dependent on them for support (she just needs a place to bring a boyfriend). Meanwhile, Cynch would rather stay away from responsibilities her family is asking her to do. Written during pre-internet times and when it was still taboo for single women to live independently from their parents, “Pagsasarili” examines how we look at single women and the choices they make to determine the course of their lives.

Cast

Opaline Santos
Martha Comia

Eric Dela Cruz
Laksmi Quitevis

Schedule:

JUNE 28 | 6 PM

INTERMEDYO
Playwright: Chris Millado / Director: Baha Vergara

Synopsis

Maeengkwentro ng isang bagitong SM ang beteranang aktres. Mauuwi sa tuksuhan, inisan, at sakitan ang ensayo. Ang unang tangka sa pagsulat ng dulang may isang yugto ay liham ng pag-ibig ng manunulat para sa teatro.

Cast

Mailes Kanapi
JC Santos

Schedule:

JUNE 28 | 6 PM

STAGED READINGS (SET C)

Once They Were Virgins

ANG PAGBALIK AT PAGLISAN 
Playwright: Karl Caminade / Director: Bong Cabrera

Synopsis

“Ang Pagbalik at Ang Paglisan” follows the story of Lorenz Apostol, a 26-year-old policeman who decides to return to his parents’ home with a revelation that would change their lives. It seems to be a heartwarming family reunion but things do not work out the way he wants them to.

Cast

Lorenz Apostol – Aldo Vencilao

Juan Apostol – Lao Rodriquez

Tess Apostol – Mean Espinosa

Inday – Jannah Baniasia

Schedule:

JUNE 30 | 6 PM

MULTIVERSE
Playwright: Juliene Mendoza / Director: Fitz Bitana

Synopsis

Peter, a writer, is making up for lost time with his younger brother Bobby. Bobby is a recovering alcoholic who just had a 2nd chance at life. They both try to reconnect through their mutual love of comic books. As they discuss the concept of alternate realities and dimensions prevalent in most comic book stories, they imagine how much better their relationship would have been in another reality. As Peter invites Bobby to watch a play he had written, a different reality slowly reveals itself to the two estranged siblings.

Cast

Peter – Dan de Guzman

Bobby – Iggi Siasoco

Shirley – Jesette Namin

Schedule:

JUNE 30 | 6 PM

MULA KINA CAIN AT ABEL
Playwright: Mikaela Regis / Director: Yong Tapang

Synopsis

Mato is a highly regarded death squad member from the city of Davao, but the voices of the people he has killed have become too many to ignore. After sixx months of self-imposed isolation, Mato meets with his closest comrade Turo in the hopes of convincing him otherwise. As they speak, both good and dark memories are recounted-many with contradicting narratives-and pleas and threats are made, for neither one will take no for an answer.

Cast

Mato – Juliene Mendoza

Turo – Joel Saracho

Nanay – Kath Castillo

Kolehiyala – Joy Delos Santos

Bata – Omar Uddin

Tsuper – Bong Cabrera

Binata – Miguel Basco

Batang Turo – Gelo Lorenzo

Schedule:

JUNE 30 | 6 PM

STAGED READINGS (SET D)

Once They Were Virgins

ANG PAMBANSANG IMPYERNO NG REPUBLIKA NG PILIPINAS
Playwright: Andrew Estacio

Synopsis

The gates of hell are wide open to men who committed crimes against their country. And in this year, the President of the Republic of the Philippines shall pay the price. Two demons, Ping and Pong, will haze the dictator until he reaches his maximum intelligence, or madness, perhaps. Will his iron fist stand the judgement of hell? Can he bear the greatest punishment in the underworld, that is to tell the truth and nothing but the truth? Hear then the laughter of the devil, maligayang tokhangan!

Cast

Presidente – Carlos Ramos

Ping – Melvin Palmero

Pong – Wenifredo Reyes West Jr.

Schedule:

JULY 5 | 6 PM

LIT
Playwright: Emmanuel Feliciano / Director: Eric Villanueva Dela Cruz

Synopsis

Ed is recovering at home after a recent hospitalization caused by complications of his condition. His former partner Vic visits to check on him, but what he discovers is a messy house and a less than enthusiastic Ed, idly letting time pass, seemingly uninterested in the future. But Vic’s presence gives Ed energy to get up, and they play the game they used to enjoy when they were still lovers and teaching colleagues: guessing titles of literary works through lines lifted from the texts. But the game turns bitter when the lines become reminders of their bitter break-up, forcing them to confront their issues and resolve to an unexpected closure.

Cast

Vic – Renante Bustamante

Ed – Chesko Rodriquez

Schedule:

JULY 5 | 6 PM

MEMA
Playwright: Joey Paras / Director: Chunchi Cabasaan

Synopsis

Pamela, a 19-year old obese girl is a victim of bullying in school. She is being ridiculed because of her immense physical looks. To escape from people’s cruelty and bashing, she decides to commit suicide. She broadcasts herself via Facebook Live streaming and cries out her angsts and ire before she ultimately takes dozens of illegal slimming pills to finally end up her life. But Marcus, her ultimate childhood crush, suddenly appears online and stops her from killing herself. Pamela finally receives an affirmation from Marcus as the young lad professes his love for her! She suddenly reverses her plans and takes the leap to save herself from dying but it is already too late.

Cast

Pamela – Kiki Baento

Marcus – Paolo Gaspar

Boses – Abet Abesamis

Boses – Daisy Tasic

Boses – Nikko Catena

Schedule:

JULY 5 | 6 PM

Schedule