Here’s what to expect at Fringe Manila 2019
The offbeat artist-driven festival is back
Feb 7, 2019
What’s so cool about fringe theater? It’s an art form that demands experimentation, one that’s powered through giving voices to the people at the fringes. But don’t think it’s being oddball for oddball’s sake. Its often raw and disruptive nature is an all-out kick forward for diversity and inclusivity, which is why we’re pretty psyched for the return of Manila’s on Fringe Festival.
Started in 2015 by festival director Andrei Nikolai Pamintuan, Fringe Manila was born “out of the need to provide safe spaces for emerging artists and collectives to create opportunities for themselves in order to produce experimental pieces, perform works they never had a chance to, while developing cross-cultural exchanges, and engage with the local community.” It’s a festival that has a real radical energy, and throughout the years it’s been held at the most unconventional spaces: abandoned apartelles, living rooms, cafeterias, you name it. “It allows Filipinx’s—diaspora or not—to connect to community and art in a way that reconciles our culture and artistic vision,” notes singer-songwriter RV Mendoza.
This year, the festival is sprawled across the metro: from its homebase at the Pineapple Lab to the PARC Foundation in San Juan and to the Addlib Dance Studio in Quezon City, among other places. Here’s a schedule of the events by category:
- The premiere of Every Brilliant Thing starring Tessa Herera (and Kakki Teodoro for the Feb. 9 and 23 shows) and directed by Jenny Jamora. It’s an interactive one-woman play about a young woman dealing with her mother’s suicide attempt by making lists of things that make life worth living. It’ll run until Mar. 24 at the Zobel de Ayala Recital Hall at the Maybank Theater. Tickets are P1,000 to P1,200. Every Brilliant Thing poster
- The premiere of PETA’s CHAROT! show, a play that “presents Philippine current events for the freak show that it is, imagining the future and consequences of a new charter.” The show will run from Feb. 8 to Mar. 17 at the PETA Theater. Theaters vary by seat, ranging from P600 to P1,500.
- The Repertory Philippines will be staging Lauren Gunderson’s critically-acclaimed play Silent Sky at the Carlos P. Romulo Auditorium at RCBC Plaza on Feb. 8 to 10. It follows the true story of 20th-century astronomer Henrietta Swan Leavitt who makes groundbreaking discoveries in her field while challenging the sexist norms of her time. Tickets are P1,000 to P2,000.
- The start of Jan Rey Escano’s devised performance Pagriing: Isang Diyalogo at the Pineapple Lab. The show “explores human experiences and individual narratives reflected in literature written in the time of, or about the Martial Law era, and marries these with the artist’s personal narrative as a native of the North.” The show will run on Feb. 15 (8 p.m) and Feb. 16 (2 p.m). Tickets will be on a “blank ticket” system meaning that audiences will pay after the show, giving the reception booth their comments on the show as well as what they believe the show’s monetary value should be.
- The Ampalaya Monologues will present their 4th anti-Valentine’s performance Ampalayain Ka, a collection of monologues and spoken word pieces about the bitter art of love, moving on and letting go. The performance will start at 7:30 p.m. at Green Sun’s Focus Room. Regular tickets are P300.
- Will You Swear Your True Love? is a show featuring actors and crew from Japan, the USA, Singapore, and the Philippines to recreate Japanese Theater Group GUMBO’s San Diego Fringe Award-winning work. The show, which is a collaboration between GUMBO and Fringe Manila, is inspired Shakespeare’s “A Midsummer Night’s Dream.” The characters are fairies (descendants of Puck) who use their love potions to get humans to fall in love. The show will run from Feb. 22 to 24 at the Pineapple Lab. Ticket prices are P300.
- The premiere of PULA by ACT MNL at the PowerMAC Center Spotlight Theater in Makati. The play takes you through the historical atrocities that would lead an ordinary person to join a bloody revolution. It’ll run for two days (Mar. 1 to 2) with three daily shows at 12 p.m, 2:30 p.m, and 4:30 p.m. Ticket price is 250, while students can get in for 200.
- Move Manila in partnership with PARC Foundation will be holding their Two Left Feet workshop, a beginner’s dance workshop for people who can’t dance. It “aims to enable all participants to find joy and comfort in dancing in all types of social situations—from partying on the dance floor with your barkada, to gently swaying along with a (potential) significant other. Two Left Feet is the starting point to discovering your own personal groove.” The workshop will be at the PARC Foundation, starting at 7:30 p.m. Individual slots go for P800, while couple slots are P1,500.
- At 7 p.m in the Pineapple Lab studio, Burlesque PH will be holding a workshop called Burlesque Discovery, with Lucky Rapscallion taking the helm. The workshop aims to get the attendees to let out their “inner goddess, [their] vixen, [their] alter ego and let her shine.” Tickets are P300.
- Dulambuhay will be holding their All About Playback Theatre workshop from Feb. 23 to 25 at 9 a.m at Ateneo de Manila University’s Areté hub (specifically the Joseph and Gemma Tanbuntiong Studio). The workshop will be led by Ms. Kayo Munakata, the director of School of Playback Theater Japan. The workshop is free admission, but the recital show is pay-by-donation. To apply, email [email protected]
Experimental or variety shows
- Performance artist Brian Moreno’s drag alter ego Lucinda Sky will take the stage at Lucinda’s Big Opening. The one-person experimental show will feature elements of drag, dance, aerial arts, and cabaret to tell a “Herstory” of love and current affairs. The show will run for two days (Feb. 16 and 17) at 7 p.m. at the PARC Foundation in San Juan. Regular tickets are P250, but you can get the early bird rate of P200 if you buy before Feb. 8.
- At the Alliance Francaise Manille at 8 p.m, Dianna David will be holding her multi-disciplinary performance Move Your Dreams. David, a TedXTalk Speaker, will be weaving “inspiring monologues around moving performance pieces eventually inspiring the audience to manifest their own dreams by making moves together.” Prices are on “pay-what-you-can” basis, but the suggested price is P300.
- Virtual Womb Productions is staging their Psychonaut Experiments, an experimental music and art show, at the Pineapple Lab at 7 p.m. It’ll consist of a series of experiments facilitated by Maloo aka Maylee Vera Todd that “focus on diving into the soul, and spirit of human consciousness” by covering “a wide range of topics in the human condition: Movement, Sounds, Emotion, Social, just to name a few.” Tickets are on a pay-what-you-can basis.
- Burlesque PH will be staging their variety show Bodabil show at 9 p.m, Pineapple Lab. The show will feature acts that highlight the localization of Vaudeville in the Philippines, “but with a burlesque twist.” Door price is P750, but early birds can get a ticket for P500.A sneak peek of the Bodabil performance. Photo courtesy of Fringe Manila
- Pogs Samson is launching his visual art exhibit “Signos” at GiG Gallery. The pieces that will be exhibited are heavily influenced by the Chinese Zodiac and will feature the Zodiac characters as they try to traverse the chaotic current times. The exhibit will run from Feb. 7 to 26 and will be free admission.
- The start of “Faces and Phases,” a watercolor art and poetry exhibit by Chino Carlo and Janroe Cabiles at Commune Café. The free-admission exhibit, which will run from Feb. 8 to Mar. 2, will feature pieces from various stages of the artist’s life.
- Dar San Agustin will be holding a photo exhibit at the Pineapple Lab showing her recent Cyanotype works. “Prussian Blues” is a free admission exhibit from Feb. 8 to 17.
- The opening of “Ang Paghuhubad ni Maria”, a solo art exhibit by Adam Red at the Pineapple Lab. The exhibit tells the story of a young girl fashioning her identity as a third culture kid. Open from Feb. 19 to 26, the exhibit is free admission.
- Herminio Tan Jr. is unfolding his sculptural art exhibit “Templo?” at GiG Gallery from Feb. 28 to Mar. 16. The free-admission exhibit, an extension of a previous exhibit by Tan, will tackle man’s search for salvation, satirizing the ways people commodify religious artifacts. The 7-piece sculptural exhibit is made out of fiberglass, resin, and real animal skulls and other media.
- At 8:30 a.m, Zapateria will be holding a “Shoemaking Live” exhibit by artisan shoemaker Derick Hibaler. The exhibit will be held at the Pineapple Lab. Ticket prices are set at P3850.
- Dasharaya, the “magsasaka ng sining,” is holding an exhibit and performance art show Practices on Country Building 02 at 6 p.m at Cinko PH. The show is free admission.
- Filipino-Canadian dancer Fly Lady Di is holding her solo dance project THIRD WORLD at the Pineapple Lab, 8 p.m. The show will merge contemporary street dance with Filipino folk dance and will explore Fly Lady Di’s grappling of her heritage while going through various video-game like worlds. Regular ticket prices are P250.
- At the Addlib Dance Studio, Joshua Ongcol and Sophia Gamboa will be performing their street dance show TADS Workshop. Joshua, a queer Filipino, and Sophia, a Filipina, explore what it means to be first-generation Canadians, as well as what it means to return to the country. The show will run from Feb. 18 to 19, both at 9 p.m. Tickets are on a pay-what-you-can basis.
- The staging of Alive by PJ Rebullida at the Alliance Francaise de Maille at 8 p.m. It’s a solo dance performance that’s billed as a “theater of stories and poetry, a dance of people, places, and ideas.” Tickets are P300.
- Multimedia artist Mark Valino is holding his Moments of Movement show, a freestyle dance video exhibition. The show will be on Feb. 20, 7 p.m, at the Annex House in Makati. It is free admission.
- The queer dance competition Gayborhood will start at 7 p.m. at the Addlib Dance Studio. The door charge is P300 inclusive of one drink.
- At the Focus Room in Green Sun, Makati, Airdance, in partnership with FRINGE and Green Sun, will present the second season of their “Opus Series.” It will also accompany a performance by guest artists Byutii Balaga. The show will start at 7 p.m. Tickets will be for P300, though students can get the discounted price of P200.
- Raflesia Bravo studies the K-Pop phenomenon in K’Raze! The dance performance will see her not only trying out the dance craze but also trying to break KPop’s aesthetic requirements. The show will be on Feb. 23 (4 p.m) and Feb. 24 (8 p.m) at the Y Space at the Yuchengco Museum. Regular ticket prices are P400.
- From 6 p.m to 8 p.m at the Queens Dance Studio in Mandaluyong, Ashna Katoch in partnership with Indak will be holding a Contemporary x Bollywood Dance Workshop. With ten years of experience under her belt, Katoch is a trained dancer from the Broadway Dance Centre in New York and is a core faculty member at the core faculty at Big Dance Centre. She’s also the co-founder of the all-girl dance crew Wenom. Tickets prices are set at P500.
- Skip the Small Talk is a mixer held by So Cards at the Commune Café at 7:30 p.m. The conversation starters will be determined by a deck of cards, and participants will not be allowed to talk about work, school, news, or the weather. Tickets are P200.
- Story Nights Manila is holding a mixer at the Commune Café at 9 p.m. The event will let each audience member tell their story onstage. It is on a pay-what-you-can basis.
- The first day of the Starving Artist Tour by Dee Jae Paeste. The tour group will meet up at the Kapwa Studio at 7 p.m, after which they’ll be led around Poblacion, Makati to embark on a food and street art walk. Paeste will be sharing his thoughts on his own art around the neighborhood. Other dates of the tour are on Feb. 21 and 28. Prices are set at P2,500.
- The first day of the “Old Manila Walks” (also known as the Manila Art Deco Weekend). The daily tour will go around Manila’s Art Deco hot spots, in honor of the grand 1930’s modernist architectural style. The tour will be on Feb. 8 to 10, and ticket prices vary per day. Email [email protected] to sign up.
Comedy or improv
- Comic Big Norm Alconcel will be holding his one-man stand-up comedy special Taipei or the High-Way at Concepto, Poblacion, Makati. The show, which will start at 9 p.m, will tackle his 7-month stay in Taipei after he was caught with “less than 1 joint’s worth of marijuana,” leaving him unable to return to the country. Regular tickets are P300.
- Comedian Mike Unson will hold his 16th-anniversary show, Electric Punchlines!, at the Pineapple Lab, 8 p.m. Special guests include ventriloquist Ony Carcamo, comedians Sergio Belarus, Herman Gacosta, and Eric Salazar, and music acts Elise Masanga and Fiona. The production is a collaboration between Comedy Mayhem, Struggling Artists Production, and Fringe 2019. Regular tickets are P300.
- Deus Sex Machina will be staging two comedy shows: Deus Sex Machina presents Happy Endings at the Y Space at the Yuchengco Museum and Deus Sex Machina 20: Woke Hard, Play Hard at the Commune Café, both at 9 p.m. The former will be a live reading of comedic erotica focused on advocacies and politics (“we’re gonna make wokeness sexy again!”), while the latter will be a dramatic retelling of the “hokiest” adult films. Regular tickets are P350, but you can reserve both shows for P569.
- Crash Comedy PH is presenting their DTF (Down to Fringe) comedy show. The night (open to mature audiences only) will feature up-and-coming comedians. The show will be at the Commune Café on Feb 16, 9 p.m. Regular tickets are P250.
- The staging of the Ma-heart-eh 3.0, the third Fringe show by improv group One And A Half Men. The comedy improv show calls itself the perfect date for couples, singles, “nagpaasa, pinaasa, kunwari-pinaasa-pero-assuming-lang-talaga-siya,” and so on. It will be at the Y Space at the Yuchengco Museum. Tickets are P300.
- SPIT @ YUCHENGCO MUSEUM! is a performance held by comedy improv group Spit at the Y Space at the Yuchengco Museum. “Unscripted, unrehearsed, fresh and unpredictable, they offer a night of long-form improvisation based on audience suggestions.”
- The Comedy Cartel is presenting “Pineapple Laughs!” at the Pineapple Lab, 7 p.m. A collaboration between Struggling Artists Production and Fringe 2019, the show will feature stand-up comics Sergio Belarus, Herman Gacosta, Mardee Almighty, Joseph Montecillo, and Sherwin Cunanan. Regular tickets are P300.
- The Crammers Collective, Manila’s only all-male youth improv group, is holding their Yes or ‘Yes and!’ improv show. It’ll be at the Y Space at the Yuchengco Museum at 8 p.m. Ticket prices are P250.
- The Alliance Francaise Manille is screening two films at 8 p.m: Rhadem Canlian Morados’ documentary Lupah Sug and Manuel Domes and Jean Claire Dy’s Paglubad. “Lupah Sug translates to ‘land of the brave’ in Tausug, a language used by a major ethnic group hailing from Mindanao,” and the documentary takes a dive into the narratives of those who are both Bangsamoro, a systematically oppressed “heterogeneous ethno-linguistic group of Muslim persons from Southern Philippines,” and queer. Paglubad, on the other hand, is a film about a woman intent on marrying a Mindanaoan Muslim despite her family disapproving the marriage. She then “unwittingly” discovers a war-time secret kept by her Ilonggo uncle of his time in Mindanao. Tickets are on a pay-what-you-can basis.
- Pierrot Lumiére at 7 p.m is the Manila leg of MAM.manufaktur für aktuelle musik & WARPED TYPE Southeast Asia tour. Invited by the Goethe-Institut, the artists will be holding a multimedia sound performance at the Y Space at the Yuchengco Museum. The show is free admission.
- Viva Voce on the Great White Way at 7:30 p.m is a musical revue by the Viva Voce Voice Lab featuring songs from the golden age of Broadway and directed by Ed Lacson, Jr. The show, which will be at the PowerMac Center Spotlight Theater, will include artists Cocoy Laurel and Teenee Chan. Prices are as follows:
- Black: P1,000
- Red : P1,300
- Gold: P1,700
- Pattern: P2,500
- The start of Nicanor Evangelista Jr.’s tattoo sessions, Tatu, at the Pineapple Lab. Evangelista, inspired by his ancestral roots, creates tattoos which “combine cultural designs and the ancient script Baybayin,” as well as feature images of folk heroes and creatures. His designs also heavily involve the use of geometric shapes and symbols, like the sacred mandala. Prices are by appointment.
- Ilona Fiddy will be holding live tattoo sessions Tusok-Tusok at the Pineapple Lab from Feb. 23 to 28. Focusing on hand-poked tattoos for these sessions, Fiddy “themes of identity, isolation, and strength in community, of othering and perpetual occupation of liminal spaces.” Prices are by appointment.
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Adapted from a painting by Georgy Kurasov. Thanks @clairecoleski – the @kingslandingbarbershoppe fam misses you! . . . 📷 @victorclarkovejas . . . . . . . #adaptation #georgykurasov #womanofleisure #lounging #lamping #neoconstructivism #cubism #sculptural #handpoke #handpoked #handpokedtattoo #handpoketattoo #3rl #machinefreetattoo #stickandpoke
Fest / Market
- The biggest local komiks market Komiket will be held at the Hole in the Wall in Century City, starting at 11 a.m. There will be over 500 artists at the market, as well as the newest komik releases.
- At the TCA Guerrero Compound at 9 a.m., artists can receive career advice and constructive critique from industry professionals at the “Folio Fest!” hosted by Toon Academy. You can show your work to veterans or hear them talk about how to get into the industry. Regular tickets are P300 while the discounted price is at P200.
For more information on the festival, you can check out its website here. You can also check out their calendar of events:
Featured photo is from the press launch of Fringe Manila 2019, courtesy of Fringe Manila. It shows Brian Moreno presenting a tidbit from his show
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