Saturday, June 21, 2008

Virgin Labfest 4 Highlights

Stellar Roster of Artists in VIRGIN LABFEST 4 at the CCP
(June 25- July 6)

The Virgin Labfest 4, the most awaited theater festival in the country today, will be held once again at the Cultural Center of the Philippines from June 25 until July 6, 2008, with a stellar roster of writers, directors and actors headlining the performances of 18 one-act plays and staged readings of six other works. Now on its fourth year, the Virgin Labfest, has earned a solid reputation for its exciting and provocative line-up of "untried, untested, unpublished and unstaged" plays from playwrights both young and old. Complementing these are a workshop for high school students who wish to learn more about the craft of playwriting, a contest for owners of blogs (web logs or online journals), the launching of Ma-Yi Theater Company’s anthology Savage Stage, and a public interview with National Artist for Literature F. Sionil Jose by journalist Howie Severino.


The line-up for Virgin Labfest 4 includes plays by National Artist F. Sionil Jose, award-winning playwrights Layeta Bucoy, Tim Dacanay, George de Jesus III, George Vail Kabristante, Allan Lopez, Job Pagsibigan, Floy Quintos, Debbie Tan, J. Dennis Teodosio and Argel Tuazon, as well as newcomers to the Festival such as Carlo Garcia, Anna Maria Gonzales, Jovi Miroy, Khavn de la Cruz and Malaysian writer Koh Jun Eiow.


Returning to direct the plays are Virgin Labfest “veterans” Jose Estrella, Njel de Mesa, George de Jesus III, Ana Valdez Lim, Nick Olanka Cats Racsag, Tuxqs Rutaquio, Roobak Valle, J. Victor Villareal and Toshiisa Yoshida, and festival first-timers Krystal Banzon, Jeff Camanag, Mayen Estañero, Hazel Gutierrez, Chris Millado, Floy Quintos, Paolo O’Hara and Leo Rialp. Rody Vera is the Festival’s Artistic Director.


Among the over one hundred actors participating in the performances and readings are Tommy Abuel, Irma Adlawan Marasigan, Kalila Aguilos, JK Anicoche, Lovely Balili, Ian Bautista, Riki Benedicto, MacDonnel Bolaños, Nonie Buencamino, Shamaine Buencamino, Tara Cabaero, Paolo Cabañero, Nar Cabico, Bong Cabrera, Kathlyn Castillo, Ricci Chan, Chrome Cosio, Dido de la Paz, Abner Delina, Anna Deroca, Bituin Escalante, Gigi Escalante, Mica Froilan, Bart Guingona, Jef-Henson Dy, Tess Jamias, Nanding Josef, Mailes Kanapi, Skyzx Labastilla, Monica Llamas, Russell Legaspi, Lorna Lopez, Clottie Lucero, Nicco Manalo, Missy Maramara, Juliene Mendoza, Wenah Nagales, Jerald Napoles, Madeleine Nicolas, Phil Noble, Peewee O’Hara, Gem Padilla, Joey Paras, Leo Ponseca, Cheryl Ramos, Arnold Reyes. Bembol Roco, Ness Roque, Amihan Ruiz, Tuxqs Rutaquio, Katherine Sabate, Carme Sanchez, Gilleth Sandico, Jonathan Tadioan, Noel Taylo, Joel Torre, Onyl Torres, Lou Veloso and Randy Villarama.


“This year, there will be five sets of one-act trilogies, each dealing with a central topic or unifying theme ranging from comedies to political commentaries to gender issues to ghost stories, and a program consisting of three productions from Virgin Labfest 3.” says Vera. One of these is a program especially geared for children, consisting of plays commissioned by the Philippine Board on Books for Young People, based on published children’s stories.


National Artist for Literature F. Sionil Jose will share his thoughts with Howie Severino in a forum titled “From Page to Stage: The Novelist in Front of the Footlights” on July 5.

Staged readings of six other “virgin” plays will also be presented every night from June 25 to 29. On July 3, there will be a reading of selected excerpts from Ma-Yi Theater Company’s anthology Savage Stage, most of which have been performed by the company.

The Labfest Blogfest offers active bloggers to win prizes. All they have to do is attend the first weekend performances and write a web blog or online journal within 48 hours after watching the program they saw. Winners will be chosen for each set of Labfest plays and receive gift certificates and other merchandise.

In the Virgin Labfest Lab, high-school students who are interested in theater and playwriting will be mentored throughout the festival by writer-director Njel de Mesa, after which the students are expected to write short plays to be presented in a staged reading on the last day of the Festival.

The Virgin Labfest 4 runs from June 25 to July 6 and is presented by the Writers Bloc and Tanghalang Pilipino with the Cultural Center of the Philippines and the National Commission for Culture and the Arts, in cooperation with Boysen Paints, Japan Foundation Manila Office, and Miss Mae Paner. For schedule and ticket inquiries, please call the CCP Box Office at 832-3704 or Ticketworld at National Bookstore branches at 891-9999.

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