A boy locks himself in his bathroom for a year. Two sadomasochistic sisters plot to kill their employer. Five men hired to carry out a murder end up killing themselves.
These curious stories—and much more—are expected to delight audiences at “The Imaginarium: A Multi-arts Festival of the Absurd” on Oct. 28-31 at the Peta Theater Center in Quezon City.
Guests can catch 14 productions during the four-day festival, along with local music acts, dance performances, art exhibits, film screenings, and even a gastronomic showcase from different chefs.
“The Imaginarium” caps performing-arts group The Sandbox Collective’s 2014 season. Managing artistic director Toff de Venecia says he has always been playing with the idea of the “theater of the absurd,” which is the festival’s main theme.
“It’s a style that I’ve always been passionate about,” says De Venecia. “What I like about it is that it espouses acceptance—acceptance of the absurdity of the human situation, and, despite that, how you are able to live and move past it.”
The Sandbox Collective’s first production, “Dani Girl” (which will have a limited run during the festival), about a girl struggling with cancer, was actually done in the style of theater of the absurd, says De Venecia. “You have a girl facing terminal illness, but despite that, she’s able to push past it.”
He adds: “Existentialism is a philosophy of a meaningless universe. Theater of the absurd is actually a way to face up to that universe. What we’re offering here may not be for everybody, but it’s something that I feel has to be told.”
A team of artists are working with The Sandbox Collective for the different components of the festival. De Venecia will be curating the theater productions. For music, there’s writer and music enthusiast Ren Aguila. Visual arts will have Philippine Star’s Young Star editor Raymond Ang.
Rogue magazine assistant editor Don Jaucian will handle film, while food and beverage will be by David Ong of the Edsa Beverage Design Group. Dance and movement, meanwhile, will be overseen by Patrick John “PJ” Rebullida of the Daloy Dance Company.
“The Imaginarium” theater program:
Oct. 28, Tuesday:
2:30-4 p.m.—“The Maids” (restaged by MusicArtes Inc.) by French absurdist playwright Jean Genet
6-8 p.m.—“Dani Girl” (off-Broadway musical restaged by The Sandbox Collective)
9:30-11 p.m.—“The Maids” (MusicArtes Inc.)
Black Box Stage
1-2:30 p.m.—“Real-life Fairytales: A Song Cycle,” an original musical by Ejay Yatco (“Sa Wakas”; “Toilet the Musical”)
3:30-4 p.m.—Twin bill: “Mga Kuneho,” a one-act play by Guelan Luarca, which was a standout at the Cultural Center of the Philippines’ 2012 Virgin Labfest; “Katabi” by Niki Calma, a dialogue between a man and a woman separated by a wall, which explores themes of confinement and freedom
8-10 p.m.—Tennessee Williams’ “The Glass Menagerie” (restaged by The Sandbox Collective)
5-6 p.m.—“Taong Grasa” (Grease Man), Palanca Award-winning dramatic monologue by Anton Juan
Oct. 29, Wednesday
8:30-10:30 p.m.—“Dani Girl”
Black Box Stage
12 noon-1 p.m.—“I, Label” by Black Canvas (open group of art collaborators), two-actor show that explores themes of sex, gender and labels that imprison/liberate people
2-4 p.m.—Tennessee Williams’ “The Glass Menagerie”
5-6 p.m.—“Mourning Gurlz” by Kolab Co., inspired by Wilfrido Ma. Guerrero’s “Eye of a Needle”
7-8 p.m.—“I, Label”
9 p.m.-12 midnight—Mixed-media public reading of Irish playwright Martin McDonagh’s “The Pillowman,” featuring Audie Gemora, Niccolo Manahan, Richard Cunanan and Robie Zalcita
Oct. 30, Thursday
3-5 p.m.—“Dani Girl”
Black Box Stage
5-6:30 p.m.—Twin bill: “Mga Kuneho” and “Katabi”
7:30-9 p.m.—“Real-life Fairytales: A Song Cycle”
10-11:30 p.m.—Off-Broadway musical “The Boy in the Bathroom” (restaged by The Sandbox Collective), book and lyrics by Michael Lluberes, and music and additional lyrics by Joe Maloney, featuring Sheila Francisco, Topper Fabregas and Caisa Borromeo
Oct. 31, Friday
2:30-4:30 p.m.—“Dani Girl”
Black Box Stage
1-2:30 p.m.—“The Boy in the Bathroom”
5:30-7 p.m.—Twin bill: “Over My Dead Body” by Christian Dagsil and “On Your Last Legs” by Fitz Edward Bitana (Project Mayheim Productions)
8:30-9:30 p.m.—“Mourning Gurlz”
10:30 p.m.-12 midnight—Sipat Lawin Ensemble’s “The Return of the Comeback of the New and Improved – Newly Scented Haring +UBU-L! Now in 6-D!”
Catch the absurdities in “The Imaginarium” at Peta Theater Center (5 Eymard Drive, New Manila, QC) on Oct. 28-31. Reservations are highly encouraged through tel. 5856909 or 0917-8996680, or Ticketworld at tel. 8919999.
Ticket prices: Main Stage (excluding “Dani Girl” and “Red Exorcism”), P700; “Dani Girl,” P1,300 (orchestra) and P1,000 (balcony); “Red Exorcism” by SEOUP Dance Company from Korea, P1,000; Black Box Stage (excluding film screenings) P550; film screenings, P300; Roofdeck Stage (excluding “Ang Nawawala” screening + Joie de Vivre feat. The Strangeness and Moonwalk), P350; “Ang Nawawala” screening + Joie de Vivre feat. The Strangeness and Moonwalk, P600.
For the complete festival schedule, visit The Sandbox Collective on Facebook (TheSandboxCollective), Twitter and Instagram (@TheSandboxCo). Visit www.thesandboxcollective.com.