Postscript to ‘devirginization’
“What’s the point of writing an award-winning play if, for decades, it has remained a manuscript in a glass-encased air-conditioned library in Makati City or a chapter in a textbook being read by students required by their professors in Literature or Humanities class? What’s the difference between ‘literariness’ and ‘theatricality’ of a play?”
On its seventh year, the recently concluded two-week-long Virgin Labfest (VLF) at the Experimental Theater (Tanghalang Huseng Batute) of the Cultural Center of the Philippines tried to answer these questions as it featured more first-time playwrights with their never-been-staged works finally going into production.
“Because most award-winning plays, they are known for their literary merit,” said director Chris Millado, head of the Cultural Center of the Philippines performing arts department and VLF artistic director. “But sometimes, these prized works are difficult to stage. They have so many requirements and more often than not, they are better read than staged.”
Which brought us to a more puzzling question: If a play is more of literary work but, as Millado described it, “unstageable,” why call it a stage play in the first place?