10 Acts We Can’t Wait to See at Fringe Manila

The critically acclaimed international arts festival welcomes its newest baby into the fold.


(SPOT.ph) From February 12 to March 1, 2015, Fringe fever is likely to sweep over Manila as some of the country’s boldest, wildest (and in some cases, strangest) visual and performance artists descend upon Malate-from the De La Salle College of Saint Benilde to the Cultural Center of the Philippines-for the first-ever Fringe Manila Festival.


The Fringe is the world’s largest independent arts festival, dedicated to showing the works of experimental artists normally "on the fringes" of mainstream culture in theater, dance, music, literature, visual and performing arts. Open-access, uncensored and unjuried, Fringe gives the artists complete autonomy, and thus is the perfect platform for the local as well as the international artistic community to take a huge risk and present some of their newest, most experimental and thought-provoking works to the public.


Russ Ligtas with a sneak peek at Russian Psychology: Kaso Uno (left) and The Daloy Dance Company with a preview of Canton atbp.



The Fringe Manila team, their partners, and their resident artists. A wild Carlos Celdran appears.


More than 90 artists and artistic groups are participating in Fringe Manila this year, from Ballet Philippines to Daloy Dance Company, from theater groups PETA to the DLSU Harlequin Theater Guild to The Sandbox Collective and the Destiyero Theater Commune, from comedy troupes SPIT Manila to Comedy Cartel to Switch Improv, among others. And the list is still growing! (Click here for a complete list of artists and performers participating in the festival.)


There are so many acts to choose from that it’s going to take a lot of planning to hit as many scenes as possible. To get a preview of what’s to come, Fringe Manila is also holding a one-night-only showcase at the Ayala Museum on February 13, showing excerpts of the various acts performing during the festival. Meanwhile, after much, much deliberation (and a lot of internal arguing), we’ve chosen ten shows that run the gamut from the visual arts to spoken word and comedy that we’d really like to see:




1. Pan///98B Collaboratory: Where Do We Grow From Here?

When: Until February 27

Where: G/F Panpisco Building, 246 Escolta Street, Manila


This is a participatory art project designed to bring together the collective efforts of various groups-the residents, business owners and employees, and advocates for historical preservation-to restore and uplift Manila’s Escolta Street to its former glory. Those interested in the restoration of historical sites should drop by for a visit and a chat.


Admission is free.



2. Paolo Abe: The Banned Library

When: February 14 to March 1

Where: NCCA Gallery, 633 General Luna Street, Intramuros, Manila


In this mixed-media installation piece, Brazilian artist Paolo Abe discusses the reasons for and the consequences of banning books and in the process explores the nature of censorship.


Admission is free.


3. Black Canvas: Kyemestry (Sex, Gender, Love, Experiments)

When: February 15 and 18 (1 p.m); and February 18 and 24 (8 p.m.)

Where: SDA Black Box Theater, SDA Building, College of Saint Benilde, 950 Ocampo Street, Malate, Manila


"First love, first try, first kyeme, first etc." Black Canvas presents Kyemestry, a fascinating two-hander on the nature of sex, love, gender, and relationships.


Tickets available at ticketworld.com.ph/fringemanila


4. Russ Ligtas: Russian Psychology: Kaso Uno

When: February 15 (8 p.m.), February 21, (9 p.m.), and  February 28 (3 p.m.)

Where: SDA Black Box Theater, SDA Building, College of Saint Benilde, 950 Ocampo Street, Malate, Manila


In Russian Psychology: Kaso Uno, performance artist Russ Ligtas uses multiple alter-egos in a thoroughly unsettling yet eye-opening psychological exploration of individuality and the self. He invites the audience to travel on his journey of self-discovery where "dreams are interpreted, multiple personalities manifested, and breakthroughs induced through a personal narratives that describes and affects all."



Tickets available at ticketworld.com.ph/fringemanila


5. The Cultural Center of the Philippines and ADHD Productions: Kwentong Komyut #MiddleClassProblems

When: February 21 (2:30 p.m.), February 22 (8 p.m.), March 1 (5 p.m. and 8 p.m.)

Where: Tanghalang Huseng Batute, CCP Complex, Roxas Boulevard


Long-suffering Metro Manila commuters will recognize (and cringe a little, perhaps) as Kwentong Komyut brings to vibrant life some of the trials and tribulations of traveling through the metropolis. As they say, "Ugh, so middle class problems."


Tickets available at ticketworld.com.ph/fringemanila


6. Christopher Aronson: Songs of an Electric Soul

When: February 21 (6 p.m.) and February 22 (8 p.m.)

Where: Sev’s Café, Basement, Legaspi Towers 300, Roxas Boulevard corner Ocampo Street, Malate


Spoken word artist Christopher Aronson delivers a highly-charged, interactive, multi-media monologue where he "casts a metaphysical spell on the participants and inundates their eyeballs, ear drums, and heart-ears by using the technological magic of projection mapping (animation and graphics projected onto a three-dimensional sculpture); electronic music; smart phones, tablets, and the internet; esoteric lore; as well as my own antics, movement techniques, and magical craft, thereby revealing a grand, cosmic epic of ecstatic bliss hidden in the everydayness of our urban civilization!" (His words.) We’re still not entirely sure what it’s about, but if his performance during the Fringe Manila press launch is any indication, audiences will be in for a wild, energetic ride.


Tickets available at ticketworld.com.ph/fringemanila



7. The Japan Foundation and Dramatis Personae: Confessions of a Mask

When: February 20 (6 p.m.)


Where: Marian Quadrangle, De La Salle University, Taft Avenue, Manila


Confessions of a Mask is a theater piece based on the life of Yukio Mishima, one of Japan’s greatest literary icons. The book of the same title by Mishima was his second and it launched him to national fame when it was released in 1949. He later went on to become a front-runner for a Nobel Prize for Literature and if you’ve never heard of him, we’ll tell you this: Epy Quizon does kind of looking like him, so all the actor needs now is carry the weight of Mishima’s avant-garde sensibilities to introduce the writer to a whole new audience.


For reservations, contact 524-4611 local 702 or 737 (Glorife S. Samodio). Admission is free.



8. Flow Art: Quanto Salto

When: February 21 (8:30 p.m.)

Where: Tanghalang Huseng Batute, CCP Complex, Roxas Boulevard


The object manipulation artists of Flow Art Show use poi spinning, hoops, and staffwork to show that it’s not all just about wow-ing the audience with their impressive skills; it’s a form of artistic expression, too.


Tickets available at ticketworld.com.ph/fringemanila



9. SPIT: Improv Free For All

When: February 21 (10:30 p.m.)

Where: Sev’s Café, Basement, Legaspi Towers 300, Roxas Boulevard corner Ocampo Street, Malate


It’s a comedy throwdown as the acclaimed improv troupe SPIT Manila invites all takers to share the stage in a round-robin take-no-prisoners last-man (or woman)-standing improvisational Deathmatch. As a noted Scotsman once said, there can be only one.


Tickets available at ticketworld.com.ph/fringemanila



10. Deus Sex Machina

When: February 28 (10:30 p.m.)

Where: Sev’s Café, Basement, Legaspi Towers 300, Roxas Boulevard corner Ocampo Street, Malate


If you’ve ever wanted to get together with friends and laugh drunkenly at bad erotica, here’s your chance. Deus Sex Machina gives you drinks and a show where a bunch of "bored, horny, unpaid writers" take the most random story prompts and try to top whoever won last year’s Bad Sex in Fiction award with live readings of their work. All in good fun, of course. They say it themselves: "If you don’t find anything funny about sex, you’re probably lying."


Tickets available at ticketworld.com.ph/fringemanila

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