It has been three years since the month-long festival featuring the works of English playwright Duncan Macmillan came to an abrupt halt in March 2020! The Sandbox Collective returns to breathe new life and begin again with SANDBOX FEST 2023, a twin bill experience featuring Duncan Macmillan plays Every Brilliant Thing and Lungs.

SANDBOX FEST 2023 offers an exclusive twin bill experience where audiences can enjoy both shows with a single ticket, creating a truly captivating experience. The performances will be presented consecutively with a 20-minute break in between. Although twin bills are not entirely new to theater, spending three hours at the venue might be unfamiliar to some Manila theatergoers. Toff de Venecia, the managing artistic director of The Sandbox Collective, hopes that SANDBOX FEST 2023 will offer a fresh perspective on the theater experience, allowing the award-winning one-act plays by Duncan Macmillan to resonate with each other and reflect the significant changes that have occurred since their initial staging in 2018 and 2019.

In the play Lungs, the actors and creative team of The Sandbox Collective sought to address profound questions about the future in March 2020, such as the kind of world we are leaving for future generations and the uncertainty surrounding bringing children into a troubled world. These questions were already pertinent at that time and now carry even greater emotional weight. Three years later, the world has changed exactly as the characters in the play feared. Amidst the current state of society, staging a play that explores characters’ fears of a distant future becomes a thought-provoking endeavor, considering how many of those fears have become a reality in the present world.

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Returning cast member Sab Jose, who received a Female Lead Performance in a Play nomination for Lungs during its original 2018 run, will be joined by Gawad Buhay-nominated theater actor Reb Atadero, Brian Sy, and Justine Peña to portray the anxiety-ridden characters in Lungs. Sab Jose and Reb Atadero were last seen in Breakups & Breakdowns and Ang Huling El Bimbo, respectively. Justine Peña’s performance in Uncle Jane earlier this year received praise from critics and theatergoers, while Brian Sy’s portrayal in Coriolano earned him a Gawad Buhay Award for Best Male Featured Performance in 2020. Taking the directorial reins for Lungs is Caisa Borromeo, a Gawad Buhay Awardee who previously served as the show’s assistant director in 2018 and 2020.

In 2019, The Sandbox Collective took a courageous step by premiering Every Brilliant Thing, hoping that Filipino audiences were ready to embrace its message of hope amidst mental illness. Now, four years later, as the Philippine theater industry continues its recovery in a post-pandemic world, the play’s message resonates even more strongly: finding joy in the ordinary and appreciating the everyday. The one-woman show will be performed by Teresa Herrera, an actress, model, and TV host, alternating with theater actress and Gawad Buhay Awardee Kakki Teodoro. Both Herrera and Teodoro received Gawad Buhay nominations for Outstanding Female Lead in the 2019 run of Every Brilliant Thing. An additional surprise cast member will be announced soon. Jenny Jamora, who directed all previous runs of the play and received the Outstanding Stage Direction for a Play award at the 12th Gawad Buhay Awards, will return as the director.

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The Sandbox Collective’s managing artistic director Toff De Venecia, Anna Santamaria as operations & finance director, Sab Jose as marketing & PR director and Maine Manalansan as design director. Joining the team are Salve Villarosa as marketing and PR manager, Loreta Arroyo as marketing and PR associate, Shai Libunao as promo and creatives associate, Marielle Filoteo as social media associate, Marcel David as production manager (Sandbox Fest 2023) and stage manager (Every Brilliant Thing), and Pachot Festejo as stage manager (Lungs). SANDBOX FEST 2023 will run at the Zobel de Ayala Recital Hall, 2/F Maybank Performing Arts Theater, 9th Avenue cor. 26th Street, BGC, Taguig City from June 17- July 15, 2023.

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