From artistic director Rody Vera: 105 script submissions down to 10 untried, untested, unpublished “virgin” plays, plus three more from VLF6! Here is the lineup for the 7th Virgin Labfest at the CCP Tanghalang Huseng Batute, June 29-July 10, 2011.
JUNE 29, 3pm/8pm; JULY 7, 8pm; JULY 8, 3pm
• HIGIT PA DITO by Allan Lopez, directed by Tuxqs Rutaquio
Featuring: Cris Pasturan, Angelina Kanapi
Bing, a single mother, leaves her two grown children to live on her own. Still grappling with uncertainty, she moves in her new apartment with the help of her son Kael. In the deceptively simple conversation between mother and son, ambiguous and seemingly random recollections paint a portrait of a woman trying to rediscover strength, and the drive to revisit her long abandoned desire.
Featuring: Cai Cortez, Jelson Bay
If you were trapped on your rooftop with nothing but only your wimp husband or nagging wife in the middle of the tragic typhoon Ondoy, what would you wish for? Mercy demanded for an annulment while Obet wanted only his son to stay and Mercy to be booted out of “roof.” The storm begins, the battle begins. The couple’s struggle to save their lives was awkwardly turned into a fight, crystallizing their own family “storm”--their chronic, even futile problems. But when Ondoy subsided, who will be booted out?
• BALUNBALUNAN, BINGIBINGIHAN by Debbie Ann Tan, directed by Issa Lopez
Featuring: Bembol Roco, Missy Maramara, Paul Jake Paule
Gilbeys and Brandy, 20 years apart are husband and wife, pimp and whore who love each other dearly. Brandy with her repertoire of roles as nurse, baker, cook or tutor does her trade with perfunctory ease that brings to the table Gilbey’s sole diet: chicken gizzard. However, life gets more difficult. They decide to take in a boarder, someone who could help them in this covert trade as well. Enter Whiskey,a virile lad who looks and acts nice. The couple take him in as a bedspacer. They eventually reveal their trade to Whiskey and insinuate an offer to work for them as a “plumber.” But three is always a crowd. Jealousies and hate begin to tear this odd trio apart. Whiskey proffers his love for Brandy. Gilbeys suspects Whiskey of being a traitor and a thief. Brandy is torn between the two. But Gilbeys and Brandy's love for each other runs deep--a love that has to do with the matter of eating chicken gizzards.
JUNE 30, 3pm/8pm; JULY 6, 3pm; JULY 8, 8pm
• ISANG GABI BAGO MAGBUKAS ANG “A PORTRAIT OF THE ARTIST AS FILIPINO” NI NICK JOAQUIN by Carlo Pacolor Garcia, directed by Paul Santiago
Featuring: Angelina Kanapi, Che Ramos, Christian Bautista, Roeder Camañag, Lao Rodriguez, Olive Nieto, Chromewell Cosio, Kathlyn Castillo, Acey Aguilar, Yong Tapang, Roli Inocencio, Skyzx Labastilla, Russel Legaspi, Irene Delarmente, Joel Saracho
Just another typical night at the theater: the director’s mad, stage manager’s losing his wit, and the actors are, well, acting up—until one by one, they all start dying. Then the fun suddenly begins: who’s out to get a bunch of old and forgotten stars trying to get another break; why here and why now, why The Portrait; perhaps a prank,a pure coincidence; or has the past finally decided to play cat and mouse? It was a dark and stormy night, indeed, and everyone’s a suspect. Look sharp, find your light, and break a leg!
JULY 1, 3pm/8pm; JULY 9, 3pm; JULY 10, 8pm
Featuring: Paolo O’Hara, Adrienne Vergara, Bong Cabrera, Ness Roque
Every night, a streetlight is the lone witness to the meetings between two hired killers responsible for the string of murders in a particular area in Manila--and every day, dead bodies are left underneath it for a police detective to find, and a young journalist to investigate and report. Streetlight Manifesto tackles the subjective nature of truth and justice, and frames the discussion on dignity of work amist the backdrop of Manila’s business casual culture of violence. But for every day the investigation remains unresolved, the body count continues to rise.
• KAWALA by Rae Red, directed by Paolo O’Hara
Featuring: Cris Pasturan, Regina de Vera, Jerry O’Hara, Peewee O’Hara, Tess Jamias, Jelson Bay, George de Jesus
A famous actor and his snobby manager. A posh, religious husband and wife. A promiscuous gold digger. A mysterious priest. And an innocent young woman. Seen through the eyes of a puzzled elevator boy, “Kawala” tells the story of intertwined lives in a condominium and how they affect an important life choice of a confused employee.
• EVENING AT THE OPERA by Floy Quintos, directed by Jomari Jose
Featuring: Ana Abad Santos, Frances Makil Ignacio, Jonathan Tadioan
Miranda Beloto, wife of Governor Bingo Beloto is obsessed with the idea of bringing to her impoverished province the first staging of a full length opera. As she prepares to face her corrupt, insensitive husband, she must also deal with the pressure from her own manipulative mother. It seems that Miranda’s foolhardy vision of beauty is all she can cling to in the face of so much brutality. Or is she herself a crucial part of the cycle of corruption?
JULY 2, 3pm/8pm; JULY 6, 8pm; JULY 7, 3pm
Featuring: Mary Jane Alejo, Katte Sabata, Chic San Agustin
A mother, wife and daughter remain in the realm of resistance to seek justice. Each has lost a loved one from the tragic sinking of MV Princess of the Stars where 773 people died. One of the worst maritime disasters in recent years, the vessel sank because of the shipping line’s insistence to sail amidst a looming typhoon. Three years since the sinking, the women persist. However, they slowly forget. Time consumes them, great powers offer bribes, the cost of the struggle becomes insurmountable. Most of all, the memory of pain stabs each time it is remembered. Some succumb to the solace of oblivion, leaving the seemingly endless battle while some remain amidst certain pain and uncertain answers. This is an elegy for all those lost at sea and their relatives left behind. This play allows us to understand their struggle.
• BAWAL TUMAWID, NAKAMAMATAY, written and directed by Joey Paras
Featuring: Leo Rialp, Kiki Baento, Mark Jones Simbit, Vera Capiral, Bham Sumooc, Eva Madera, Giovanni Cadag, Paolo Ballesteros, Floid Zulueta, Biboy Ramirez
It is February 14, Valentine`s Day. Eva is trapped in a bus stop along EDSA. Desperately trying to get a cab to make it to her father`s burial in La Loma, she asks passersby how she could make it to her destination. She sees an easy access to make it to the other lane--an opening in the middle of the highway that bears this sign: BAWAL TUMAWID, NAKAMAMATAY. In the meantime, Eva meets a stranger, an old carpenter named Mang Caloy. The old man gives her options on how to make it to La Loma but she remains indecisive. Heavy traffic and the heavy rain engage them into a peculiar conversation. A coffee shop near the bus stop becomes their refuge and here they begin sharing sentimental and funny stories about their past. Eva talks about her father`s death and her simple dreams as a hopia vendor. Mang Caloy breaks the serene conversation by telling the story behind the signage. An unpredictable revelation of the old man`s past marks the climax of the play. As the busy avenue becomes expansive again, an unexpected accident happens, leaving Eva in deep shock.
• VALLEY MISSION CARE by Russel Legaspi, directed by Missy Maramara
Featuring: Siegfried Sepulveda, Mayen Estanero, Richard Cunanan
An old man, Francisco, finds himself stuck between the comfortable landscape of a nursing institute and the promise he holds dearly to be with his love. A promise he intends to keep even if it means he dies trying.
JULY 3, 3pm/8pm; JULY 9, 8pm; JULY 10, 3pm
• KINAUMAGAHAN by Rachelle Rodriguez and Wennielyn Fajilan, directed by Riki Benedicto
Featuring: Via Antonio, Noel Escondo
How will Liz and Red make their relationship work if time is not on their side? 6:00 AM—that’s the only time they see each other… and the moment does not last long. Liz, a nurse, is on her way to morning duty while Red, a call center agent, is just coming home from graveyard shift. Conversations, make-outs, jealousies, fights and make-ups happen during this short span of the early morn. Every day, they are left with no other choice but to continue these hanging vernal issues--the morning after.
• REQUIEM, written and directed by Juan Ekis a.k.a. Christian Vallez
Featuring: Joel Parcon, Frankie Pascua
Alvin and Mina go back to their ancestral home for the NCCA's tribute to their dying father who is a National Artist for Music. As Alvin settles down in his old bedroom, Mina enters and asks if she can sleep in his room. She could not sleep because of the Music being played in the house. Mina thinks it sick that their father is having a "funeral" even before he is dead and that his having cancer was just an excuse to get them to go home. Alvin could not understand her resentment towards their father. As Alvin tries to hide his feelings towards his adopted sister, Mina tries to sleep away the demons of their family's past in the comfort and solace of her brother's room.
• KAFATIRAN by Ricardo Novenario, directed by JK Anicoche
Featuring: Acey Aguilar, Abner Delina, Jerald Napoles, Marco Viana
“Kafatiran” is a story of love and freedom. At the dawn of the Philippine revolution, another revolution is brewing. Deep within the ranks of the Katipunan is a special faction composed of young men who are smart, art-loving, and sometimes a bit too mild-mannered. Young Antonino Corpus wants to join this special faction and goes through some tests to know if he does belong into this group. Unfortunately, the night of Antonino’s recruitment is also the night that sparks the Philippine revolution and the recruitment house was surrounded by several guardia civil. Should they leave the place where they are free to be themselves so that they can attain true freedom? Should they finally come out?
Three full-length plays will have staged reading performances at the Bulwagang Amado Hernandez (Conference Room) at the CCP. ONE PERFORMANCE NIGHT EACH ONLY.
• CHIAROSCURO by Lito Casaje, directed by Dennis Marasigan
JULY 1, 6pm
“Chiaroscuro,” which in Latin and art parlance means the contradiction of light and shade, posits a universal worldview that life is likewise full of human contradictions. This Chekhovian play also paints the world of the Malate visual artists and the challenges they face in their struggle for economic survival vis-a-vis their unrelenting pursuit to perfect their craft. It also essays the universal theme on the artist’s option to compromise his art in exchange for commercial satisfaction, or rather, is the kind of compromise merely an option or a painful necessity for one to survive?
• THE HOUSE OF CANDLES by Nicolas Pichay, directed by Jose Estrella
July 7, 6pm
“The House of Candles” is set in Manila and New York. It is an exploration of the consequences brought about by extreme personal desires. It is a rumination on the topography of progeny and legacy, and problematizes the act of creation. The play is a first draft of a work-in-progress.
• HERMANO PULI by Layeta Bucoy, directed by Tuxqs Rutaquio, music by Vincent de Jesus
July 9, 6pm
After being executed by the guardias civiles in the Tayabas Plaza, the body of Apolinario dela Cruz aka Hermano Puli was dismembered and hang all over Tayabas. The different ways by which some members of the Cofradia cope with the death of their leader are reflected in their individual “interaction” with Hermano Puli’s disunited body parts: from Pausto’s outright rejection of one of the basic tenets of the Cofradia, Matea’s unwavering faith in the resurrection of Hermano Puli, Rosa’s plan of trekking to Mt. Banahaw to string together Hermano Puli’s body pieces, and to Juana’s desire to snatch the Hermano’s hanging foot.