Friday, June 21, 2024

VIRGIN LABFEST 19: Set D - Di-Tiyak


SI HESUS NA’A SA US - Separated husband and wife head to the airport in his taxi to wait for the arrival of her boyfriend that will take her to America. Pregnant, Luna (Sheryll Ceasico) is excited to fly to Illinois not just to be with her boyfriend but also to look for her mother Corazon (Kiki Baento) who abandoned them when she was young. Navigating the traffic along EDSA, Marlon (Roi Calilong) pesters his wife with stories of their past. Some are happy memories while others are tragedies better left forgotten. Will they make it to the airport?

This one didn’t quite connect with me and if I were to rate it separately, I would’ve just given it a mere three stars. Most entries in the labfest are dialogue-heavy. The difference almost always lies in the diverse themes tackled and the backdrop that serves as a distraction. In terms of themes, what this play talks about are normal soap opera storylines that you could watch on TV at home for free. As for the distraction, they do have a skeleton of a taxi on the stage but that’s about it. Some quips were funny and the actors were great but I ended up bored. Maybe there just isn’t much to unpack as far as the plot is concerned.

ANG MUNTING LIWANAG SA MADILIM NA SULOK NG ISANG SERBESERYA SA MAYNILA - Psychology teachers Gary (Joshymae) and Joseph (Dyas Adarlo) pay a visit to the beer house that the former frequents, where he spends time and money to talk to a hooker named Bea (Jorrybell). Gary believes that she loves him and sees him as a savior that will get her out of there. When their student Jake Lazaro (Bon Lentejas) who loves skipping classes shows up and stops for a chat, he lets slip to Gary that he was just with Bea and that she told her the exact same things he always hears when they are together.

Don’t we just love philosophical musings at a whorehouse? I loved this play to bits. Some of the dialogues are crass but the actors’ delivery has perfect comedic timing, and yet the chatter delves deep into relevant social issues and themes that they end up talking about everything from Feminism to Misogyny to Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs to Psychoanalysis. The discussions are hilarious AF but so profound at the same time that I didn’t want them to end. It could’ve ended with the two men’s stage exit, but the discussion that followed between the two women was a good counterbalance to the debate. Funny and thought provoking!

SA BABAENG LAHAT - The National Bible Week is fast approaching and preparations are in full swing at an all-girls Catholic school. Marie (Jam Binay) mistakes bodily fluids for pregnancy and prays to God begging him to spare her from being the vessel for the next immaculate conception because she is not worthy. Tomboy Gab (Yani Lopez) plays the guitar and practices with frank and straightforward Regina (Cheska dela Cruz) for their entry to the contest, both of them repressing the mutual infatuation that they feel inside for each other. The three teenagers clash as their religious ideologies and personal dramas prove to be incompatible.

This was a totally unexpected roll-on-the-floor-laughing piece. The Catholic school experience is already a goldmine of humor in itself if done right. Luckily, SA BABAENG LAHAT has a wealth of witty retorts to keep you entertained all while being an interested observer in the coming-of-age journey of these three young women who couldn’t be any more different from one another. That hilarious part where Marie emerges onstage in full Virgin Mary regalia with a halo of Mongol pencils will live rent-free in my head for a while if ever I need a good laugh. If you went to Catholic school, this might end up even funnier to you as it brings back memories.

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