Why You Should Watch the Extra Virgin LabFest Plays

The Extra Virgin LabFest, which takes place from December 4 to 7 at Rodelsa Hall, is a theater festival that features Mindanaoan narratives. One of its main goals is to elevate the theater experience in the regions. I am directing one of the plays in the festival.

Despite the fact that November and December are busy months for me (as a blogger and part-time theater teacher), I did not let the opportunity to take part in the EVLF pass. I have always dreamed of coming up with a play festival for Cagayan de Oro and the Extra Virgin LabFest is a realization of that – because it is more than just a play festival. It is the perfect venue for the region’s playwrights, actors, directors, and artists to come together.

For me, it is a dream come true because it brings us a step closer to our goal of creating a company of artists, not only for CDO but for the region.

This – and several other reasons – should fuel your interest in the EVLF.

The Extra Virgin LabFest is the first of its kind in Mindanao. It is actually an expansion of the annual Virgin LabFest of the Cultural Center of the Philippines. That in itself is already a major reason for any theater aficionado and supporter to watch the featured plays.

Organized by the Liceo Office of Cultural Affairs (LOCA) – headed by festival director Hobart Savior – through a grant from the Cultural Center of the Philippines (CCP), the EVLF is also supported by the National Commission for Culture and the Arts (NCCA) through the National Committee on Drama. It highlights nine untried, untested, and unstaged one-act plays written by writers based in or who originated from Mindanao. I believe these are more than enough reasons for taking part in and supporting the labfest!

EVLF 2019 Line-up of Plays

The nine featured plays and their playwrights, directors, and showdates are:

Daang Papunta, Daang Pabalik by Norman Isla – Directed by Pepito Sumayan – December 5

Synopsis: Two siblings caught in a rift between the military and the rebels in a war-torn region in Mindanao try to reason out with each other. The older brother wishes to leave their hometown while the younger sister wishes to fight for a cause. As both of them attempt to convince one another, the battle rages around them, turning their lives and future at stake.

EVLF Banga

Banga by Darren Bendanillo – Directed by Zip Mercado De Guzman – December 5

Synopsis: Two siblings caught in a rift between the military and the rebels in a war-torn region in Mindanao try to reason out with each other. The older brother wishes to leave their hometown while the younger sister wishes to fight for a cause. As both of them attempt to convince one another, the battle rages around them, turning their lives and future at stake.

Si Balaw ug ang Lablab sa Palawpao by Gil Nambatac – Directed by Roland Rivera – December 5

Synopsis: The arrival of foreign invaders disturb the lives of the indigenous community in Palaopao, Bukidnon. One young man who is adept at hunting avenges his father by facing the man responsible for his father’s death.

Ang Mga Babae sa Kusina by Mario Lendel Barinque – Directed by JC Salon – December 6

Synopsis: In her last hours on earth, a househelp recollects her memories with the children she raised. Despite their differences in belief and religion, she has found a family with them. She takes her cooking skill to the next level by preparing the dish of her loved ones before a personified death finally takes her.

Bulan by Jim Raborar – Directed by Tat Soriano – December 6

Synopsis: When a curse strikes five teachers in Sitio Bolol, Brgy. Asuncion, Koronadal City, they meet under the light of the full moon every night to pray for liberation and recovery. Their curse can only end by the touch of innocent young men. When they encounter two lost men, they realize that these two visitors can break the spell; thus begins their attempt to seduce them.

EVLF Crystal Clear

Crystal Clear by Aldren Alferez – Directed by Maia Fortich-Poblete – December 6

Synopsis: A teacher tries to clear her name from a violation she allegedly committed against her students. When the faculty’s supervisor conducts an investigation along with the teacher’s colleague, the students involved reveal a new confession. This discovery outweighs the former accusation, eventually becoming an open secret to the teachers and their supervisor.

Unsay Koneksyon sa Iring? By Karlwinn Paitan – Directed by Felimon B. Blanco – December 7

Synopsis: After stray cats intrude their home, a minor accident leads the family to reveal their secrets.

EVLF Act of Contrition

Act of Contrition By Reil Benedict Obinque – Directed by Jet Paclar and Anito Librando – December 7

Synopsis: A young man confronts a priest after experiencing trauma in the past. Hoping to resolve the issue through the sacrament of penance, the priest attempts to give counsel. But when the young man reveals the priest’s involvement of that experience, the encounter leads to the ultimate confession.

Pultahan by Angelo Dabbay – Directed by Hobart Savior – December 7

Synopsis: A confused man struggles to open a door that does not budge in a mysterious room with an unknown companion. When he asks for help, his companion examines him instead. He soon realizes that he is not locked up in an ordinary room. With a bag and a defensive demeanor against his companion, he tries to escape through the door with only a memory of what happened a moment before he came inside.

———-

In addition to the nine above-mentioned plays, there will also be staged readings on the morning of December 7 featuring the following plays:

Birhen By Abigail James

When a provincial quack doctor reunites with her childhood friend who now resides in the city, mutual feelings reconnect. But when her friend’s girlfriend confesses a shocking revelation, she begins to weigh the consequences of losing the man she loves and carrying on her family’s tradition.

Hiyas sa Putikan By Linda Manalo

In the height of a town’s festival, a woman and her family driver confess about what they feel for each other. Along with their confessions come plans that may not sit well with the girl’s father and family.

Reyna By Tat Soriano

The daughter of a former beauty queen visits her mother. Upon seeking aid from her mother, they bring back past rifts that tore their relationship apart.

———–

The EVLF opening gala is scheduled for Dec 4 in the evening. Guests will have the pleasure of experiencing the twin bill production of Ang Bata sa Drum by Dominique La Victoria and Dalawang Gabi by Maynard Manansala.

All these are reasons to go to Rodelsa Hall and support the Extra Virgin LabFest from December 5 to 7, 2019. Tickets are at Php150 per set for students, Php200 per set for non-students, and Php160 per set for PWDs and senior citizens. Each set is already good for three plays. You can choose to watch at 3pm or 7pm. The tickets are available at the Liceo Office of Cultural Affairs. You can also get in touch with Ms. Glory Mae Manus through 09177025530 and 09994966420 or 858-4093, 858-4094 and 858-4095 (local 169).

The Extra Virgin LabFest is also supported by Writers’ Bloc, Liceo de Cagayan University, and Infinite Lotus Productions.

Let’s support the Extra Virgin LabFest! Tan-aw ta sa unang pugâ sa Rodelsa Hall!

 

(Play synopsis and other details taken from official press release.)

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