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GUIDE: The Virgin Labfest 2024 Synopses, Cast, and More Details Announced

GUIDE: The Virgin Labfest 2024 Synopses, Cast, and More Details Announced

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Now in its 19th year, The Virgin Labfest (VLF), the festival of untried, untested and unstaged plays, returns to the CCP Black Box Theater this June 12-30, 2024.

Entitled VLF: Pintog, this year’s festival features 12 new one-act plays and 3 revisited plays from last year, and 4 new staged readings. A total of 7 Virgin (first time to be participating in the festival) playwrights, 5 Virgin directors, 6 women playwrights, and 5 women directors constitute this year’s VLF.

Also returning to the festival are the VLF Writing Fellowship Showcase, the VLF Playwrights Fair, and Theater Talks. These, together with the staged readings as well as a new program entitled the Dramaturgy Fellowship Exhibit, will all be held at the newly opened CCP Bulwagang Roberto Chabet.

The VLF Writing Fellowship Showcase is a culmination of a two-week mentorship program on the study and practice of dramatic writing for the stage under the mentorship of award-winning playwright Glenn Sevilla Mas, directed by CCP Artistic Director Dennis Marasigan.

The VLF Playwright’s Fair is a venue that allows for conversations with playwrights curated by award-winning writer Rody Vera.

Theater Talks is a forum series on creative and production processes in theater and performance.

The Staged Readings are stripped-down reading performances of selected scripts from the VLF 19 submissions.

The Dramaturgy Fellowship Exhibit is a culmination of the Dramaturgy Fellowship that offers a glimpse into the theater-making process of the featured plays of VLF 19 under the mentorship of Dr. S Anril Tiatco.

Tess Jamias and Marco Viaña return as Festival Directors for the third year. They are joined by Sandie Javier, Clottie Gealogo-Lucero, Nice Hervas, and Nikki Torres, who serve as production managers, Daniel Gregorio as assistant production manager, Rafa Lubigan and Camilo De Guzman as head stage managers, Roman Cruz and Loren Rivera as lighting designers, TJ Ramos, Joshua Tayco, Shaina Pisigan, Angel Dayao, Arvy Dimaculangan, and Jose Buencamino as sound designers, Eric Cruz, Carlos Siongco, Julio Garcia, Jem Bravo, IO Balanon, and David Esguerra as production designers, Allie Eguia as costume stylist, and GA Fallarme, Bene Manaois, Jana Jimenez, Justin Santiago, Elle Toledo, and Deidrich Tanteco as video designers, with Roldan Lozano and Renz Sevilla as technical directors.

Here are the featured works and the whole festival’s corresponding schedules. You can also find ticketing information below.

SET A – DILEMA

1. Vengeance of the Gods by Hans Pieter Arao
Direction: Hazel Gutierrez-Marges and the Anino Shadowplay Collective

SYNOPSIS:
After a possession in public, Ifan, the town mayor’s chief of staff who claims to know the real reason for the phenomenon, tries to convince Odie, the possessed’s father, to join him in his quest for justice.

CAST AND ROLES:
Ifan: Jel Tarun
Manong Odie: Jonathan Tadioan

PRODUCTION TEAM:
Set Design: Carlos Siongco
Lighting Design: Loren Rivera
Sound Design: Datu Arellano & Joshua Tayco
Video Design: Joyce Garcia, Jef Carnay, & Teta Tulay
Costume Styling: Allie Eguia
Dramaturgy: Rafael Mediavillo
Poster Design: Paw Castillo
Stage Management: Maui Tacto

 

2. Ningas by Lino Balmes
Direction: BJ Borja

SYNOPSIS:
Susubukang kumbinsihin ng Babae ang Lalaki na gumawa ng maliit na pabor — ang bigyan siya ng pangalan — na magbibigay buhay sa kanya. Literal.

CAST AND ROLES:
Babae: Geraldine Villamil
Lalaki: Ross Pesigan

PRODUCTION TEAM:
Set Design: Carlos Siongco
Lighting Design: Loren Rivera
Sound Design: Joshua Tayco
Video Design: Justin Santiago
Costume Styling: Allie Eguia
Dramaturgy: Sigrid Carreon
Poster Design: Federico Joaquin Rivera
Directing Apprentice: Alliah Divina & Marielle Apurado
Stage Management: Istifen Dagang Kanal


3. Love on the Brain by Rick Patriarca
Direction: John Mark Yap

SYNOPSIS:
Ex-lovers Ryan and Jake realize how grueling modern gay dating can be when the former’s current boyfriend Mike, a popular social media influencer, discovers that they have HIV. 

CAST AND ROLES:
Ryan: Shaun Ocrisma
Mike: Rap Robes
Jake: Esteban Fulay Jr.

PRODUCTION TEAM:
Set Design: Carlos Siongco
Lighting Design: Loren Rivera
Sound Design: Joshua Tayco
Video Design: Deidrich Octaviano
Costume Styling: Allie Eguia
Choreography: Rapah Manalo
Dramaturgy: Jao Catarus
Poster Design: Zoë De Ocampo
Stage Management: Monty Uy

 

SET B  – BINGIT

1. Sentenaryo by Heryln Alegre
Direction: Ian Segarra

SYNOPSIS:
Mga kapitbahay, isang daang taon na si Tatay Dencio! Punong abala si Tonette, asawa ni Dencio, sa paghahanda sa pagdating ni Kapitan na magbibigay ng isang daang libong ayuda mula sa gobyerno na ibinibigay sa mga centenarian. Mapuputol ang pananabik nang biglang dadating si Carmen, anak ni Dencio, at Joel, panganay na apo, na gusto pang makihati sa kakarampot na ayuda. Ang resulta, karambola! May agawan ng pera at away pamilya. Pero ang tanong, paano pa nga ba makukuha ang pera kung si Dencio, bago pa dumating si Kapitan, ay nalagutan na ng hininga?

CAST AND ROLES:
Tonette: Gold Soon 
Carmen: Madeleine Nicolas        
Dencio: Ekis Gimenez
Joel: Chunchi Cabasaan       
Kapitan: Gie Onida       
Reporter: Maron Mabana     
Social Worker: Reggie Ondevilla   
Cameraman: Donn Boco

PRODUCTION TEAM:
Set Design: Julio Garcia
Lighting Design: Loren Rivera
Sound Design: Shaina Pisigan
Costume Styling: Allie Eguia
Dramaturgy: Agustin Taban-ud
Poster Design: Tig Sy
Stage Management: Keith Bautista

 

2. The Divine Family by Dip Mariposque
Direction: Roobak Valle

SYNOPSIS:
Kalagitnaan ng ipinatutupad na ECQ noon, May 2020. Mga buwan kung saan nag-sara ang buong mundo at mga panahong walang mass testing sa Pilipinas. Sa gitna ng magulong sistema ng gobyerno sa pagsupil ng Covid at pangambang baka magka-sakit, natagpuan ng magkakapatid na sina Em, Enzo at Caloy ang kani-kanilang mga sarili sa dating unit na tinirhan nila noong mga bata sila dahil wala na silang ibang matutuluyan. Sa di inaasahang pagkakataon ay nandun din ang nanay nila na buntis at malapit nang manganak dahil wala ding matutuluyan. Laking gulat ng magkakapatid na nabuntis pa ang nanay nila sa ganung edad at hindi man lang nila nalaman. Sa muling pagkikita ng pamilya magbubukas ang napakaraming sikretong matagal na nilang tinatago sa isa’t-isa.

CAST AND ROLES:
Emily / Em: Via Antonio
Mama Tess: Meliza Reyes
Renzo: Alden Co
Clinton: Yong Tapang     
Caloy: AJ Castro

PRODUCTION TEAM:
Set Design: Julio Garcia
Lighting Design: Loren Rivera
Sound Design: Shaina Pisigan
Costume Styling: Allie Eguia
Dramaturgy: Ralph Jade
Stage Management and Poster Design: Mark Lorenz

 

3. Identité by Jhudiel Clare Sosa
Direction: Meann Espinosa

SYNOPSIS:
Ang sabi nila, ang babaeng anak ay hinuhulma sa imahe ng ina. “Kung ano ang puno, siya rin ang bunga.” Pero siya nga ba? 

Ang “Identité” ay isang kwento ng paghahanap at pag-angkin ng sariling pagkakakilanlan. Ito rin ay isang kwento ng pagharap at pagsalungat sa kinagisnan.

Isang kasindak-sindak na sikreto ang matatagpuan sa loob ng isang damitan, na yayanigin at ilalagay sa bingit ang ugnayan ng mag-inang si Luz at Regina. Dalawa lang ang pwedeng mangyari sa relasyon nila: ang lumalim o ang sumagad.

CAST AND ROLES:
Luz: Kitsi Pagaspas    
Regina: Ash Nicanor

PRODUCTION TEAM:
Set Design: Julio Garcia
Lighting Design: Loren Rivera
Sound Design: Shaina Pisigan
Video Design: Jana Jimenez
Costume Styling: Allie Eguia
Dramaturgy: Zoe Damag & Sophia Viola
Poster Design: Moi Gealogo
Stage Management: Phillip Matthew Gloria

 

SET C  – Pu-Tim

1. Pagkapit sa Hangin by Joshua Lim So
Direction: José Estrella

SYNOPSIS:
Agosto 2021, kasagsagan ng COVID-19 delta wave. Lagpas bente kuwatro oras nang tuloy-tuloy sa pagtatrabaho ang mga frontliner dahil sa dami ng ina-admit sa nag-iisang ospital sa isla. Lumala pa ang sitwasyon nang hindi dumating ang delivery ng oxygen tanks. Sa Temporary Treatment and Monitoring Facility (TTMF) nitong pampublikong ospital, napagdesisyunan ng doctor at dalawang staff nurse na hinaan ang tangke ng mga pasiyenteng alam nilang nasa bingit na ng kamatayan, para makatipid sa supply ng hangin. Ngunit mahuhuli sila ng isang watcher, ang bantay ng pasiyente, na ayaw tanggapin na wala nang pag-asa ang kanyang naghihingalong ama. 

CAST AND ROLES:
Nurse A: Elora Espano
Nurse B: Wenah Nagales
Doctor: Timothy Mabalot
Watcher: Gold Villar Lim

PRODUCTION TEAM:
Assistant Direction and Poster Design: Mark Daniel Dalacat
Set Design: Jeremy Bravo
Lighting Design: Roman Cruz
Sound Design: Angel Dayao
Costume Styling: Allie Eguia
Dramaturgy: Aya Apolintisima
Stage Management: Bojo Barnes
Assistant Stage Management: Phalie Medina


2.
Lipistik at Pulbura by Ara Jenika Vinzon
Direction: Charles Yee

SYNOPSIS:
1943. Abucay, Bataan. A town unearthed from the ashes according to legend. A woman with a pre-battle ritual. A war cry to restore men’s dwindling faith. This is not a historical retelling of Erlinda ng Bataan. Instead, this is an exploration of the moral complexities faced by storytellers in times of war, particularly those on the losing side. Through the eyes of a writer grappling with the choice between fidelity and freedom, the story unfolds – all against the mundane backdrop of a hair and makeup session between friends at lunchtime.

CAST AND ROLES:
Erlinda: Chase Salazar   
Odeng: Pau Benitez

PRODUCTION TEAM:
Assistant Direction: Teia Contreras
Set Design: Jeremy Bravo
Lighting Design: Roman Cruz
Sound Design: Angel Dayao
Video Design: JM Jimenez
Costume Styling: Allie Eguia
Dramaturgy: Nathania Kuy
Poster Design: Bianca Bueno
Stage Management: Rio Tanchuling

 

3. The Foxtrot by Chesie Galvez-Cariño
Direction & Choreography: Paul Alexander Morales

SYNOPSIS:
During their last rehearsal for an amateur ballroom dancing competition, Anna, a middle-aged matron of substantial means, and Diego, a respectable and educated dance instructor, master the complexities of the Foxtrot and their relationship. Their dance of words brings them to a very compromising position and revelation.

 CAST AND ROLES:
Diego: JC Santos
Anna: Liesl Batucan-del Rosario

PRODUCTION TEAM:
Set Design: Jeremy Bravo
Lighting Design: Roman Cruz
Music & Sound Design: Angel Dayao
Costume Styling: Allie Eguia
Dramaturgy: Janina Mendoza
Additional Choreography: Louie Tan
Stage Management: Aldous Mercado

 

SET D  – DI-TIYAK

1. Sa Babaeng Lahat by Elise Santos
Direction: Caisa Borromeo

SYNOPSIS:
A few days before the celebration of National Bible Week at an all-girls Catholic school in Quezon City, 14-year-old Marie believes God has chosen her to be the next Immaculate Conception. However, she is unsure and not quite ready to accept her fate. Meanwhile, her best friend Regina struggles with her feelings for Gab, the school’s resident tibo, as they practice for the Bible Week singing competition. The play follows the three girls’ interconnected journeys towards figuring out their relationship with religion, sexuality, each other, and ultimately, their own selves.

CAST AND ROLES:
Marie: Jam Binay
Regina: Cheska Dela Cruz
Gab: Yani Lopez

PRODUCTION TEAM:
Set Design: Io Balanon
Lighting Design: Roman Cruz
Sound Design: Arvy Dimaculangan
Video Design: GA Fallarme
Costume Styling: Allie Eguia
Dramaturgy: Thea Renon
Poster Design: Zoë De Ocampo
Stage Management: Axl Fernandez


2. Ang Munting Liwanag sa Madilim na Sulok ng Isang Serbeserya sa Maynila
by Dustin Celestino
Direction: Toni Go-Yadao

SYNOPSIS:
Si Gary at si Joseph – dalawang professor ng psychology – ay nagpunta sa isang beer house para dalawin ang paboritong GRO ni Gary. Habang nandoon, mapag-uusapan ng dalawa ang kani-kanilang paniniwala tungkol sa kasal, pag-ibig, at pribilehiyo.

CAST AND ROLES:
Gary: Joshymae
Bea: Jorrybell
Joseph: Dyas Adarlo
Mommy Tess: Heart Puyong
Jake Lazaro: Bon Lentejas

PRODUCTION TEAM:
Set Design: Io Balanon
Lighting Design: Roman Cruz
Sound Design: Arvy Dimaculangan
Costume Styling: Allie Eguia
Dramaturgy: Kesi Aquino
Poster Design: Janel Gutierrez
Stage Management: Kate Loreno


3. Si Hesus Na’a sa US by Neil Azcuna
Direction: Phil Noble

SYNOPSIS:
Ang hiwalay na magasawang si Luna at Marlon ay papunta ng NAIA para sunduin ang AFAM ni Luna na magdadala sa kanya sa America. Habang papunta sila sa Airport ay mahahalungkat ang kanilang nakaraan.

CAST AND ROLES:
Corazon: Sheryll Ceasico 
Marlon: Roi Calilong
Luna: Kiki Baento    

PRODUCTION TEAM:
Set Design: Io Balanon
Lighting Design: Roman Cruz
Sound Design: Arvy Dimaculangan
Video Design: Bene Manaois
Costume Styling: Allie Eguia
Dramaturgy: Alab Uzman
Poster Design: Phoebe Guillermo
Stage Management: William Guillermo


SET E – SAGAD (REVISITED)

Dominador Gonzales: National Artist by Dingdong Novenario
Direction: George de Jesus

SYNOPSIS:
Oliver visits former mentor and lover Dmon with a proposal to collaborate. Dmon is rumored to be in the running for National Artist and this collaboration will certainly help revive Oliver’s career as a playwright. As the pair reminisce about the simplicity of old times, Oliver holds to Dmon’s face the compromises he had to make to achieve his National Artist status, ready to make compromises of his own to get what he wants.

CAST AND ROLES:
Dmon: Joel Saracho
Oliver: Bong Cabrera     
Edward: AJ Sison

PRODUCTION TEAM:
Set Design: Julio Garcia
Lighting Design: Loren Rivera
Sound Design: TJ Ramos
Dramaturgy: Aima Graciela Noblejas
Poster Design: George De Jesus
Stage Management: Dolly Dolot


2.
ROOM 209 by Zheg Arban
Direction: Delphine Buencamino

SYNOPSIS:
Room 209” presents the experiences of Cadet 4th Class Anghelo Perez inside the Philippine Military Academy. From a brave and hopeful cadet ready to serve his country, he discovers that everything about the academy is not what he envisioned.

 History does not lie (but our forefathers did). A room has become a witness to a culture that has lived on since men have started throwing stones against their neighbor. “Room 209” is a testimony that puts this age-old culture into sharp focus for us to pay attention to how it has affected individual lives.

CAST AND ROLES:
Anghelo Perez: Jao Catarus
Captain Anthony Perez: Gino Ramirez
Koro: CJ Barinaga
Koro: Earvin Estioco
Koro: James Lanante
Koro: Miguel Delos Santos
Koro: Aksel Panlilio

PRODUCTION TEAM:
Set Design: David Esguerra
Assoc. Set Design: Jeremy Bravo
Lighting Design: Roman Cruz
Sound Design: Jose Buencamino
Video Design: Elle Toledo
Costume Styling: Carlo Pagunaling
Dramaturgy: Gentl Mapagu
Poster Design: Gerson Abesamis
Stage Management: Janji Gamboa


3. Ang Awit ng Dalagang Marmol by Andrew Estacio
Direction: Nazer Degayo Salcedo

SYNOPSIS:
Isang bagong dula ang binubuo ng isang grupo ng mga artista’t aktor hinggil sa isang popular at kontrobersyal na awitin sa kasaysayan ng bansa, ang “Jocelynang Baliwag” na matagal nang kinilala bilang ‘Kundiman ng Himagsikan’ at inihahambing sa larawan ng Inang Bayan. Nakatakdang maisadula ito bilang pagpupugay para sa isang bagong tayong tanghalan ng kanilang probinsya, ngunit sa kanilang pag-eensayo at ibayong pagtuklas, masisiwalat sa kanila ang mga hindi pa naikukuwentong katotohanan hinggil sa nasabing kundiman – mga bagong impormasyon na maghahamon sa titulo ng idinambanang awitin at makukumbinsi sa mga aktor na pagpanibaguhin ang dramatikong pihit ng kanilang dula – nasaan na nga ba talaga si Jocelynang Baliwag?

CAST AND ROLES:
Direktora: Adrienne Vergara
Dramaturg: Kath Castillo
Aktres: Jasmine Balunes
Aktor 1: Andrew Cruz
Aktor 2:  Enzo Lapresca
Pianisita: Chris Salvador
Matandang Pepita Tiongson: Mia Bolaños
ASM1: Mush Yahya
ASM2: CJay Malipot     
ASM3: Geanne Rose

PRODUCTION TEAM:
Set Design: Julio Garcia
Lighting Design: Loren Rivera
Sound Design: TJ Ramos
Dramaturgy: Janet Llorin
Poster Design: Samantha Teoxon & Rainiel Abadejos
Stage Management: Sheña Parnoncillon

 

SET 1: STAGED READINGS

1. Huling Salita by Christa De La Cruz
Direction: Nour Hooshmand

SYNOPSIS:
Paano mo malalaman kung crush ka ng crush mo?

Sa gabi ng despedida ni Cathy, pinag-iisipan na niyang magtapat ng nararamdaman sa kaibigang si Sarah. Maliban sa relasyon at pinagsamahang gusto niyang pangalagaan, balakid din ang pagiging mapaglaro ng kaibigan. Sa isang larong tinatawag na “poem oracle,” sasangguni ang dalawa sa mga salita’t berso para mapanatag ang kanilang agam-agam, lalo na ang malaking  katanungan ni Cathy. Hindi tiyak ang sagot ng orakulo—maaaring trahedya ang mangyayari kung bubuksan niya ang kanyang bibig ngunit sa kabilang banda’y magpapahiwatig din ito ng katotohanang ang pag-ibig ay dapat isinusugal. Sa huli, pareho silang hindi na mananatiling umid.

CAST AND ROLES:
Shenn Apillado
Iana Bernardez

PRODUCTION TEAM:
Assistant Direction: Anne Cortez
Sound Design: TJ Ramos
Costume Styling: Allie Eguia
Poster Design: Albert Raqueño
Stage Management: Roman Malabed


2. Pabili ng Christmas Tree Dia Sales
Direction: Eric de la Cruz

SYNOPSIS:
Pinasukan ng isang miyembro ng Martilyo Gang ang stockroom ng Decor department sa isang department store kalagitnaan ng Disyembre, humihingi ng isang Christmas tree. Susuko sa kapritso ng mama ang manager nguni’t ang isa sa mga staff ay darating na may balitang manganganak na siya.

CAST AND ROLES:
Jam: CJ Correa
Riza: Kat Noble
Dory: Noelle Pollack
Mamang May Martilyo: Tim Hernandez

PRODUCTION TEAM:
Sound Design: TJ Ramos
Costume Styling: Allie Eguia
Stage Management: AJ Benoza


SET 2: STAGED READINGS

1. Shiver by Atria Pacaña’s
Direction: Cholo Ledesma

SYNOPSIS:
Bright and cheerful university student Shiela “Shi” Abad dies on a hot afternoon, but it isn’t until an immortal grim reaper named Soul Collector shows up in her dormitory that she realizes it. On her way to the afterlife, Shi asks if she could do her unfinished business first before leaving. The Collector grants her request, but only in the form of minimal errand-like actions called “Chores” to be done within the room, and expects the girl to call her family like all the other souls do.

She doesn’t. It’s the last thing she wishes to do.

Can the Collector unearth why?

CAST AND ROLES:
Shi: Pia Ysobel Cruz
Collector: Jerome Ferguson

PRODUCTION TEAM:
Costume Styling: Allie Eguia
Sound Design: TJ Ramos
Poster Design: Diandra Lee
Stage Management: Joyce Santos

 

2. Patayin Ang Mga Surot by Floyd Scott Tiogangco
Direction: Lhorvie Nuevo-Tadioan

SYNOPSIS: 
Sa huling gabi niya bilang pangulo ng bansa, nagdeklara si Rodrigo Duterte ng malawakang Oplan Tokhang sa Maynila. Samantala, hindi makatulog ang mag-asawang sina Mommy at Daddy dahil may mga surot na naman ang kama nila.

CAST AND ROLES:
Mommy: Charm Aranton
Daddy: Lian Silverio

PRODUCTION TEAM:
Sound Design: TJ Ramos
Costume Styling: Allie Eguia
Stage Management: Sarah Monay

TICKETING INFORMATION

Tickets are P600 for Regular Seats and P800 for Premium Seats. One ticket gains access to one set of 3 one-act plays. They are available for purchase through Ticketworld and at the CCP Black Box Theater.

The 20% ticket discount offered to Senior Citizens, PWD, Government and Military Personnel, and National Athletes can only be claimed at the CCP Box Office located at the CCP Black Box Theater.

Festival passes are valid for use only within the selected week (premiere week, mid week, encore week). Regular Festival Passes are priced at P2,400 and Premium Festival Passes are priced at P3,200. Both passes provide perks like priority lane access for early entry, preferred seating, and a complimentary souvenir program.

To order VLF Passes, simply download and complete the Festival Pass Form. Submit the accomplished form to salesandpromotions@culturalcenter.gov.ph. Reservations are valid for 24 hours only.

Festival passes are only available onsite at the CCP Box Office, CCP Black Box Theater. Cash, Debit, and Credit Card payments are available from 9am to 6pm, Tuesday to Friday.

 

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