Pass the Hat: This new pay-what-you-can pocket play tour in Manila debuts this weekend

<i>Photo: Ikarus Theater </i>
Photo: Ikarus Theater

Marikina City-based Ikarus theater group has been staging a range of classic and original plays from their home base DITO: Bahay ng Sining (Here: Home of the Arts) for seven years. But starting this weekend, the group is shaking things up by staging a pair of original short plays which will run in four small venues across the metro — and it’s a pay-what-you-can affair.

The theater collaborative’s original shorts Compass and Alter will run from Feb. 28 to March 7 at Makati City’s Commune, and Quezon City’s Catch 272, Tago Jazz, and Malingap Central Food Hall. The group says the pocket plays are a way of bringing a “non hoity-toity” theater experience for both playhouse aficionados and first-timers alike. It’s also a return to tradition.

“It’s reminiscent of the traveling theater troupes of the past where actors would perform anywhere at the drop of a hat,” Ikarus’ Artistic Director Jay Crisostomo told Coconuts Manila via an email interview. He added that audiences can expect “honest performances, without the frills,” as each play will only need three actors who will create a theatrical experience with little to no technical equipment.

The two original shorts — which run for a combined total of one hour and 30 minutes — will be housed in unorthodox theater venues such as cafes, bars, and food halls that can accommodate anywhere from 20 to a hundred people.

“This is how we like it so that we can look at our audience members in the eye,” Crisostomo said. Seating will be on a first-come, first-served basis and no tickets will be sold. Instead, a hat will be passed during periods of the show, and the audience is expected to “put in what you believe the value of the show to be.”

Members of Ikarus theater performing a previous show at DITO: Bahay ng Sining. Photo: Ikarus Theater

At present, the theater collaborative has 13 regular members whose multitasking allows them to write, direct, and act. In the past, they’ve tackled themes such as failure, death, suicide, incest, cannibalism, and retribution.

“This is not to say that we only tackle the dark, we also celebrate life by staging plays for children or taking romance to the stage,” Crisostomo said.

Shorts Compass and Alter, meanwhile, explore relationships and personal introspections in the age of the internet and social media. Spoken word poetry and audience involvement will also figure into the plays. Crisostomo said that if anything,  the pocket plays will be “raw and honest,” and will not be “hoity-toity — far from it.”

Come see and judge for yourself.

Find it:
Ikarus Pocket Plays run Feb. 28 to March 7 in Commune in Poblacion, Makati City, and Catch 272, Tago Jazz, and Malingap Central Food Hall in Quezon City; 8pm onwards.
Phone: (+63)927 410 2994
IG: @ikarustheater | FB: @ikarustheaterco


Read more about places to see in the metro here.

Subscribe to The Coconuts Podcast for top trending news and pop culture from Southeast Asia and Hong Kong every Friday!

Reader Interactions

Leave A Reply


Support local news and join a community of like-minded
“Coconauts” across Southeast Asia and Hong Kong.

Join Now
Coconuts TV
Our latest and greatest original videos
Subscribe on