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. 

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Our wings first take us far from home this 2020 season with Pocket Plays! A pay-what-you-can bar tour around the metro. The two plays are part of our Theater Bytes run last October 2019, a festival of plays about living in a rapidly advancing technological age. Compass is about a young woman‘s search of identity by peering into the history of her online accounts. Alter is a love story which highlights the binary difference between online dating and real-world dating. Catch us in the following venues: Commune (Feb 28 at 8pm) Catch272 (Feb 29 at 8pm) Tago Jazz (March 6 at 9:30pm) Malingap Central Food Hall (March 7 at 8pm) #ikarusph #ikarus #sunchaser #marikina #arts #theater #theaterph #theatermanila #bartour #makati #manila #quezoncity #pocketplays #ikaruspocketplays

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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.

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