Virgin Labfest 2020 Is Streaming Online in June

It will be a different kind of experience!

( Despite the possibility of the enhanced community quarantine being lifted by April 30, health experts say that positive COVID-19 cases may not slow down until June. And even then—unless a vaccine gets rolled out—any semblance of normalcy may be off the table. While this means a lot of canceled concerts, movie premieres, and theatrical shows, the Virgin Labfest is testing out a different way to reach the theater-going public. In an announcement by JK Anicoche, the new festival director and curator of the annual theater festival, it was revealed that Virgin Labfest (VLF) is going fully virtual in this year’s edition, which runs from June 10 to 28. Virgin Labfest 2020: Lab in the Time of COVID's theme “Kapit,” which evokes a message of encouragement in these uncertain times.

Ross Pesigan, AJ Sison, Vincent Pajara, and Lance Reblando in Rick Patriarca's Wanted: Male Boarders (VLF 2019) The Virgin Labfest / Facebook
Dominique La Victoria's Ang Bata sa Drum (VLF 2016) The Virgin Labfest / Facebook

It can be remembered that Virgin Labfest 2020 was originally scheduled to run for a month at the Cultural Center of the Philippines’ newest facility: the Black Box Theater outside the main building. But with the enhanced community quarantine implemented in March, the physical run of the festival has been postponed. "Andami nating kailangang pag-isipan, andaming mga problema na kailangang pagnilay-nilayan, andaming mga kuwento tungkol sa pamilya, sa seksuwaldidad, sa kalayaan, at kung ano-ano pa na sa palagay ko ay mahalaga, mahalaga na makuwento pa rin natin, mahalaga na magsama-sama pa rin tayo, at mahalaga na tayo ay patuloy at patuloy na magkukuwento sa kahit na anong paraan,” Anicoche said in a video that went live on April 13, 12 a.m.

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The “virtual Labfest lockdown edition” will stage nine one-act plays from the initial roster of 12 pieces. This includes:

  • Tyron Casumpang's Blackpink, directed by Jethro Tenorio
  • Dustin Celestino's Doggy, directed by Roobak Valle
  • Jobert Grey Landeza's Titser Kit, directed by Adrienne Vergara
  • Mark Norman Boquiren's Mayang Bubot sa Tag-Araw, directed by Mark Mirando
  • Juliene Mendoza's Multiverse, directed by Fitz Edward Bitana
  • Luis Nario's Gin Bilog, directed by James Harvey Estrada
  • Jay Crisostomo's Dapithapon, directed by Sig Pecho
  • Floyd Tiogangco's Pilot Episode, directed by Giancarlo Abrahan
  • Daryl Pasion's Papaano Turuan ang Babae Humawak ng Baril, directed by Erika Estacio
Krystle Valentino and Skyz Labastilla star in U.Z. Eliserio's Anak Ka Ng (VLF 2019) The Virgin Labfest / Facebook
Mayen Estañero, Marj Lorico, and Meann Espinosa in Herlyn Alegre's Fangirl (VLF 2019) The Virgin Labfest / Facebook

The three works from the 2019 edition that will be revisited for visual staging:

  • UZ Eliserio's Anak Ka Ng, directed by Maynard Manansala
  • Rick Patriarca's Wanted: Male Boarders, directed by George de Jesus
  • Herlyn Alegres' Fangirl, directed by Charles Yee

Six new works are also being broadcasted as staged readings:

  • Buch Dacanay's Jenny Li, directed by Nour Hooshmand
  • Dingdong Novenario's Dominador Gonzales - National Artist, directed by Bunny Cadag
  • Claro de los Reyes' Mongoiloda's Casa de Pun, directed by Guelan Varela-Luarca
  • Nicko de Guzman's Bagahe, directed by Joel Saracho
  • Rouchelle Dinglasan's Lady Masters, directed by Joy Cerro
  • Bernice Dacara's Matira Matibay, directed by Alon Segarra

Other activities of the Virgin Labfest, including roundtable discussions, the writing fellowship program headed by Glenn Sevilla Mas, and Playwrights Fair, will also be conducted through online streaming.

It was, however, clarified that all these plays will still be part of Virgin Labfest 2020—a physical run, hopefully.

Virgin Labfest 2020: Lab in the Time of COVID is from June 10 to 28. For updates, follow Virgin Labfest on Facebook.

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