and beyond

Reactions to Marte were of varying intensity and ran the gamut from “It’s astonishing!” to “This play should never have been staged”. Having written at least four books now out in the market, I’m not a stranger to less than stellar reviews. Still, I was surprised by how the negative-to-harsh reviews affected me. Is my confidence crumbling? Is my thick skin no longer thick enough?

Then it hit me. I write prose fiction. With prose fiction, the book or story is marked in my head as DONE following publication, and becomes psychologically separate from myself.

Above all, it is static. Interpretations of the text may change, but the text, every time you flip the page, remains the same.

Not so with theater.

I sat through four out of six shows of Marte and each one of them was different. An actor forgets a line or adds a line, the lights are changed to enhance a scene, the director changes a blocking instruction. A prop falls, gets snagged on a costume, goes missing. A fantastic performance tonight may be middling in the matinee show the next day. And vice versa! With theater, until the very last curtain call, you can’t breathe easy, you can’t relax, because until then you are not done.

It was the most physically and psychologically demanding creative project I have ever worked on.

And I loved it.

My deepest gratitude to everyone who joined me (willingly or unwillingly) in this production journey.

Marte class picture.


On the way to (Tagaytay) CCP.




Pre-show warm-up in Buff aka Backstage Extension c/o Direk Nic Pichay.


With my family before the last show.




Full house!



And a proposal.


Love you Team Marte!


Further reading:

5 new plays–and 5 nerve-wracked new playwrights

Another Baptism By Fire At The 12th Virgin Labfest

Virgin LabFest 13 Revisited:

Ang Sugilanon ng Kabiguan ni Epefania

Ang Bata sa Drum

Mula sa Kulimliman

* * *

What now?

Onwards and upwards.


The Philippine Readers and Writers Festival 

August 26 to 28, 2016

Raffles Makati

Manila International Book Fair

September 16 to 18, 2016

SMX Convention Hall

See you around!

marte – opening week

And we’re off!

My endless gratitude to everyone who watched our first two shows on July 2.

My heartfelt thanks as well to the following people for lending their time and talent. Their passion is intoxicating.

Juliene Mendoza (husband of cast member Stella Mendoza, and who also stars in Jose Socrates delos Reyes’ Dahan-Dahan ang Paglubog ng Araw ) for taking our photos.

Set designer James Reyes. (It was the largest and most complicated set under Set D. “Maximalist” sabi nga ni sir James. Hindi biro itong pinagdaanan niya hahaha.)

Director George A. de Jesus III. (His ideas made my story better and stronger.)

The cast Stella Cañete Balucas Mendoza, Martha Nikko Comia, Jojo Riguerra, Kevin Posadas, John Mark Yap and Chino Macaraig. Plus a special appearance from Mara Paulina Marasigan (who also directed another LabFest play, Guelan Luarca’s Bait).

Stage manager Sabrina Manansala, projection/sound designer Joee Mejias and light designer Joseph G. Matheu.

And to the Virgin LabFest–Tuxqs Rutaquio, Nikki Garde-Torres, Rodolfo Vera, etc etc ETC — for the opportunity to present this little story to the public.

Early rehearsals at Silangan.


Photoshoot session.






Even more rehearsals.


Rehearsals and space adjustment at Teatrong Huseng Batute, the venue of the Virgin LabFest.






My books are also being sold for the duration of the festival. (Photo from Tuxqs Rotaquio.)






Photos below from Mark Arisgado, taken after the matinee show of Marte



Photos below from Trixie Dauz. (See Trixie Dauz Photography.)








My favorite shot from Trixie’s set.


I’d like to claim that the first two shows were a success, based on the comments of close friends and audience members who messaged me online and spoke to me right after the show–and also because the lights came on at the right time, the smoke machine didn’t malfunction–I’m probably not the best judge because I’m too close to this.

See you in the theater, and tell us what you think! We have four more shows to go.

July 7 – 8 PM

July 8 – 3 PM

July 13 – 3 PM

July 17 – 8 PM

Visit the CCP Box Office or Ticketworld Outlets. Tickets can also be bought on the day of the show–please line up for tickets one hour prior.

eliza victoria’s marte (virgin labfest 12, opens july 2016)

Eliza Victoria’s MARTE. Direction by George de Jesus III.

Tina, a factory worker on Mars, talks to factory neophyte Lorie about the cruelty and injustices she has witnessed–and lays bare her plans to leave the red planet.



July 2 (Saturday), 3 pm and 8 pm
July 8 and 13 (Friday and Wednesday), 3 pm
July 7 and 17 (Thursday and Sunday), 8 pm

• Ricardo Novenario’s “Daddy’s Girl,” directed by Nicolas Pichay
• Rick Patriarca’s “Hapagkainan,” directed by Chris Martinez
• Eliza Victoria’s “Marte,” directed by George de Jesus III

(Full list after the poster.)

Tickets are now available. PhP 350 for three one-act plays.

Buy your tickets: Ticketworld (online), Ticketworld OutletsCCP Box Office


Continue reading eliza victoria’s marte (virgin labfest 12, opens july 2016)

i will have a play in the virgin labfest, and other shiny writerly updates

Virgin Labfest XII

My one-act play Marte has been chosen as part of the main line-up of the upcoming Virgin Labfest. Very exciting news; I have seen great plays in the fest, and now I’ll be able to be a part of it! I can’t wait to see this little thing come to life onstage.

See the full list below, which was culled from an unprecedented 197 entries.

Virgin Labfest 12
Established in 2005, the Virgin Labfest is a laboratory festival of new plays by emerging and established Filipino playwrights and held annually at the Cultural Center of the Philippines (CCP). The Virgin Labfest aims to provide Filipino playwrights a venue to present their unpublished, unstaged, untested and untried works to theatergoing public. The Virgin Labfest is a yearly project of the Manila-based playwrights group Writer’s Bloc, Inc., acclaimed theater company Tanghalang Pilipino, and the Cultural Center of the Philippines (CCP), in cooperation with the National Commission for Culture and the Arts (NCCA).


Eliza Victoria’s “Marte”
Carlo Vergara’s “Mula sa Kulimliman”
Herlyn Alegre‘s “Bahay-Bahayan Tagu-Taguan”
Guelan Luarca‘s “Bait”
Ricardo Dingdong Novenario‘s “Daddy’s Girl”
Kanakan Balintagos‘ “Loyalist”
Ma. Cecilia dela Rosa’s “Ang Mga Bisita ni Jean”
Alexandra May Cordoso’s “Ang Sugilanon ng Kabiguan ni Epefania”
Jose Socrates delos Reyes’ “Dahan-Dahan ang Paglubog ng Araw”
Rick Patriarca’s “Hapag-Kainan”
Dominique La Victoria’s “Ang Bata sa Drum”
Oggie Arcenas‘ “Si Jaya, Si Ronda, Si Barbra at ang Mahiwagang Kanta”


Maynard Manansala‘s “Dalawang Gabi”
Juan Miguel Severo’s “Hintayan ng Langit”
Eljay Castro Deldoc‘s “Si Maria Isabella at ang Guryon ng mga Tala”


Layeta Pinzon Bucoy‘s “Mac and Naty”
Job Pagsibigan‘s “Mrs. Victoria”
Vincent A. DeJesus ‘ “Changing Partners”
Adrian Ho’s “Run, Marga, Run”
Jonathan Tad Tadioan‘s “Dinuguan”


Alex Dungca’s “Nang Maligaw ang mga Halimaw”
Dwein Baltazar’s “Ang Debutante sa Bubongan”
Jerome Ignacio‘s “Perfecto Gomez”

Here’s from the fest’s first write-up on Market Monitor:

Of the playwrights whose works were picked for the main line-up, five are “virgins.” Of these, the most notable is Eliza Victoria, who first gained attention—at least, from the literary community—for her Palanca award-winning poetry collections “Reportage” and “Maps,” and for her National Book Award-winning novel Dwellers.

Read more here.

Wounded Little Gods giveaway

My thanks to all those who joined the giveaway, and congratulations to Mays T. I also chose another winner (Pamala G) from those who participated in my survey from way back. Thanks and enjoy reading!

Copies of the book have also been delivered to Fully Booked and Precious Pages bookstore branches. Here’s a photo from Budjette Tan as proof.

WLG in Fully Booked

It’s coming soon to other book stores near you. If you want a copy now, do email/alert



The tenth volume of the Philippine Speculative Fiction series is now available in the following online venues, so please grab a copy.

Flipside –…/philippine-speculative-fiction-volume-…

Amazon –…/…/

Kobo –…/philippine-speculative-fictio…

Google Play –…/Dean_Francis_Alfar_Philippine_Spe…

iTunes –…/philippine-speculat…/id1100520266

Weightless Books –…/philippine-speculative-ficti…/

This is the landmark tenth volume of what’s been called “one of the most important projects to come out of the contemporary writing generation”. PSF is credited as the springboard for the thriving Philippine speculative fiction movement, which defines, explores, and sometimes blurs the boundaries of science fiction, fantasy, horror, and all things in between.

Philippine Speculative Fiction X is proud to present a representative range of exemplary stories from Filipino writers, including both renowned veterans and exciting new voices in the field.

Contributors include:

Alyssa Wong
Sarge Lacuesta
Joel Pablo Salud
Eliza Victoria
Jose Elvin Bueno
Victor Fernando R. Ocampo
Cyan Abad-Jugo
Kenneth G. Yu
Andrew Drilon
Kate Osias
Gabriela Lee
Joseph Montecillo
Renz Torres
Vincent Michael Simbulan
Francis Gabriel Concepcion
EK Gonzales
Alexander M. Osias
Noel Tio
AJ Elicaño
Lakan Umali
Razel Tomacder
Raymund P. Reyes
Richard Calayeg Cornelio

Edited by Dean Francis Alfar & Nikki Alfar

There will be a launch on Saturday, May 7, at 2 p.m. at The Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf, Shangri-La Plaza Mall. Please join us.