The Cultural Center of the Philippines (CCP) is set to stage a regional edition of its annual theater festival of “untried, untested, and unstaged plays” in Bacolod City for the first time in 18 years.
The Virgin Labfest in the Visayas (VLF Visayas) will showcase 7 one-act Hiligaynon plays. Six were chosen from a total of 18 original entries submitted during an open call in May 2023, and one is a revisited play.
The theater festival organized in collaboration with Bacolod-based theater company The Performance Laboratory, Inc. (PerfLab) and Manila-based independent playwrights group The Writer’s Bloc, Inc. will run from November 15 to 18, 2023, at The Negros Museum’s Black Box Theater.
It features the theme “Lab-as”, a Hiligaynon interpretation of “fresh-cut, and freshly harvested” plays written by emerging and veteran Visayan playwrights.
According to VLF Visayas Festival Director Tanya Lopez, “Visayas boasts a vibrant, diverse, and dynamic theater scene, and it’s high time that we shine a spotlight on this integral part of our rapidly growing creative industries.”
The four-day festival will commence and culminate with the revisited play “Ang Pag-ulianon ni Olivia Mendoza” by Negrense playwright Rolin Migyuel Obino which originally premiered in Filipino as part of the 2019 line up of VLF in Manila.
It is directed by Rene Hinojales and will be staged on Nov. 15 at 2:00 PM and Nov. 18 at 6:30 PM.
The 6 original Hiligaynon plays are divided among 3 sets of back-to-back performances.
Set A, showing on Nov. 15 at 6:30 PM and Nov. 17 at 2:00 PM, includes “Sa Likod
Sang Masskara” written by Fundador Tipon II and directed by Milton Dionzon, and “Ang Sweatshop, Ang Aparador, kag ang Pinakatig-a nga Ismagol sa Bilog nga Kalibutan” written by Jasper Villasis and directed by Rodolfo Reveche.
Set B, showing on Nov. 16 at 2:00 PM and Nov. 17 at 6:30 PM, includes “Dorm 425” written by Venise Buenaflor and directed by Mai Montelibano, and “Victim” written by Vicente Garcia Groyon and directed by Jade Snow.
Set C, showing on Nov. 16 at 6:30 PM and Nov. 18 at 2:00 PM, includes “Sin-o
Naglansang Kay Kristo” written by Rocky Nicor and directed by Alejandro “Bundo” Deoma, and “Kapoy Nako Mangin Superhero” written by Roger Joshua Venzal and directed by Tanya Lopez.
“We are incredibly fortunate that Bacolod City has been chosen to host the first Visayan edition of The Virgin Labfest.” Lopez added.
Local organizers are planning a restaging between December 2023 and March 2024 at the undergoing-renovation Gallaga Theater at the University of St. La Salle Bacolod to accommodate a larger audience.
More information about VLF Visayas is available at PerfLab’s Facebook page at www.facebook.com/perflab.official.