KARNABAL: A def. defying festival

Karnabal Festival

Works Beyond Definitions

“Def.” stands for “definition”, best explaining the mix of programmed performances as transgressing norms and going beyond definitions of art and what it should be.

Karnabal aims to highlight works on the edge, in between the lines, dynamic, bold, liminal, death- and depth-defying; and to explore new modes of production and performance-making. It serves as a shared avenue for companies and solo artists to freely test new works and/or develop existing ones, as well as share and generate new audiences for the Philippine performance scene.

Karnabal is set to take flight on November 17 (Sun), 20-24 (Wed-Sun) within Intramuros. Multiple venues will be used to simultaneously house performances, and functions, indoors and outdoors, all throughout the duration of the festival. Events fall under three different types of platforms:

• The Main Performance Platform, which features the original works of invited independent companies and solo artists, programmed throughout the duration of the festival. As of now, participants include the Sipat Lawin Ensemble, Kolab Co., Transitopia – Contemporary Dance Commune, Shaharazade Theater Company, Eisa Jocson, Ea Torrado, Destiyero CommuneAnino Shadowplay Collective and Daniel Darwin.

• The “Tsubibo” Open Platform, which features programmed performances from individuals and companies from different fields who want to test their works. This platform is offered on the last two days of the festival, November 23 and 24.

• Gatherings involves all the festival’s community offerings – workshops, talks, forums, panel discussions, get-together functions curated by the festival team engaging artists from different media.

For more information on the participating artists, check the Karnabal Festival Facebook page.


It’s September and Weekends With Sipat is back with a beefed up month full of interesting and exciting talks and workshops open to everyone!

SEPTEMBER 7 – RAP: Ang Pagtagas at Pagtagos sa Hip Hop with BLKD



SEPTEMBER 14 – Coffee for a Cause with Paolo and Iona Fresnoza/Coffee AID.


SEPTEMBER 21 – Hula Hooping with Daniel Darwin


REGISTRATION STARTS AT 6PM. Workshop/Lecture 7-10 PM at Pugad Lawin Studio

Text 09175008753 or email sipatlawin.ensemble@gmail.com for reservations/inquiries

The Ensemble


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Sipat Lawin Ensemble (SLE) is an edge-work, site-specific, independent performance company composed of theater artists engaged in devising relevant new works. Changing the landscape of theater in the Philippines, the group aims to develop a contemporary community theater experience shared among artists and audiences inside and/or outside the four walls of the theater.

SLE is comprised of three programs: the Main Wing (season production offerings); the Children’s Wing (works for and with children); and the Theater-in-a-Backpack (performance lectures and workshops). Its core artists called Players manage the company and its programs alongside producing and developing performances and alternative modes of theater-making.

In 2009, stripping theater down to bare essentials of Actor, Action and Audience, Sipat Lawin started independently producing works in alternative performance spaces with the “8-inch itch,” a twinbill production performed in cafes, bars and galleries around the Metro, featuring To Heat You Up and Cool You Down (2009), a collaboration with Australian playwright David Finnigan, and Lihis (2009), Emmanuel’ Canteras’ Filipino translation of Martin Sherman’s Bent. In 2010, it launched its official and inaugural season billed as SEASON 2000-X, which opened with Haring +UBU-L, a devise-work adaptation of Alfred Jarry’s play Ubu Roi; and was followed by Imperio Animalia, a devise-work adaptation of George Orwell’s novel Animal Farm. Since then, Sipat Lawin has produced a series of ensemble-devised anywhere-and-everywhere community collaborations: Fragments at the Cultural Center of the Philippines’ (CCP) Virgin Labfest 6, 7 and 8 (2010-2012); Rizal+150 Reverse Cosplay Parade (2011), R’meo Luvz Jhulz: Barangay Fiesta Edition (2011), and the smash-hit phenomenal live-action game Battalia Royale (2012). On top of these, the Ensemble has staged several interactive storytelling pieces for children in cooperation with Museo Pambata.

As the country’s premiere experimental site-specific theater company, Sipat Lawin Players have conducted performance lectures about their innovative works, alternative mode of production and evolving theater-making process, invited as guest speakers in Ateneo de Manila University’s Company Call 3 (2011), the Philippine Educational Theater Association’s Young Artists Forum (2012), Locus Redux International Art Conference at the Yuchengco Museum(2012) and the CCP’s 13 Artists Awards Forum Series on “Collaborations and Crossing Media” (2012).

An active player in the social media platform, SLE has been featured in local and international blogs, papers and programs by various networks and news agencies including GMA, Yahoo Philippines, and Reuters, among others.

The Ensemble aims to create and develop new forms of inter-action, social functions and modes of communication. Crossing and blurring boundaries among different performance media, SLE collaborates with top artists from different fields.

Sipat Lawin Ensemble: Contemporary Community Theater, Contemporary Theater Community


Battalia: Day 1 Notes

“That every performance is a fertile potent platform; that every character is a possibility as to how we should see the the world directly or differently. That every performance, a composition of space and time constructed is politically-charged. That every interaction is a conversation and a negotiation, potent forms of communication. That everything is a treasure-chest and a pandora’s box of possibilities. That everything can either affirm the status quo or create a rift, a shift in our consciousness. ”

– My notes on B3. Day 1. September.

Director’s Notes on Haring +UBU-L

“Theater as a construct presents its superficiality, its raw physicality and does not conceal its material reality. For it is their minds (the audience’s), their fetishes, their context, that will fill the gaps of how they want to perceive/take stage realities. Then remind them that these are just constructs and that the power of imagination will persist, insist, even under the destruction of a prop, bursting of a costume, break on the archetypal characters they wanted to escape with. Then they will feel guilt, they will feel anger, they will feel pleasure, they will feel disgust. They will feel. They will begin to feel. And think about their comforts and discomforts which they can not escape from. Even in their own imagination. We don’t offer escapes, we impose confrontations.” Anicoche, March 2010. Post Haring +ubuL.

Posible. – JK Anicoche’s note on Strange Pilgrims: Rizal + 150 Reverse Cosplay Parade Edition

First Rizal Sighting

Sipat Lawin Ensemble x Leeroy New

June 19, 2011, Luneta. I remember softly screaming and telling Alison, Sipat Lawin’s company manager that we did it. ‘Shet! Nagawa natin! Nagawa natin!’.

It was the 150th Birthday of Jose Rizal. Drenched in an upcoming storm, we were determined to penetrate Luneta, greet Jose Rizal a happy Birthday and show to the ‘world’ that we will follow Jose Rizal’s footsteps in reverse and march backwards to his prison cell in Fort Santiago.

Armed with more than 20 participants with the rest backing out before the parade because of heavy rainfall in the morning, we won’t allow anything to rain on our parade, except for the rain, of course. We were wearing swimsuits. Leeroy New, our production designer together with his team were dressing everyone in water resistant orange conduits. The mind-set was this: one gets wet for 5 hours in the beach and not get sick, then why can’t we be wet for 5 hours in a public park. The ensemble players were restless, excited restless. Red flag signals were given. Everyone fought and struggled to find their center; zen mode is the way to go.

Days prior to the parade, we have a media team covering our preps from costume-making to rehearsals in Fort Santiago. We are about to get featured on television as a performance company celebrating Rizal’s birthday in a very different way. Dubbed as ‘Strange Pilgrims: Rizal +150 Reverse Cosplay Parade Edition’, the happening is an open event encouraging the public to join the Ensemble’s reverse parade from Luneta to Fort Santiago while costume-playing in futuristic Rizal-inspired costume. The initial intention or idea is to re-imagine, re-create and re-think Jose Rizal and his iconic characters for the present and future generation, for another 150 years. We did the rounds of interviews for different news shows. The media were interested and we were carefully directing how we want to be framed, at least. Wink In the eye. This will turn out to be our first large-scale public intervention after a few years of developing site-specific works in parking lots, living rooms and at the Virgin Labfest festival of new works at the Cultural Center. Almost a hundred confirmed attendance, the storm lashed us down to a little more than 20. Still, we insisted to do the march from Luneta and burn our moth effigy at the Fort Santiago. 5pm, we started our pilgrimage.

The plan is to offer synthetic flowers to Rizal, sing a happy birthday song and start the backward march. We were stopped by the Luneta Park police and asked us if we have permit to perform and shoot. We told them that we were permitted by the Rizal family (headed by Ms. Liza Bayot a direct descendant from the Saturnina line). The guards insisted that we don’t have legal permits and we also insisted that we’ll just offer flowers to Rizal as encouraged by the park. Heated conversation followed until our prod manager Tara asked the assistance of our police entourage (yes, we had a police entourage courtesy of Rizal family). The guards were intimidated and the crazy bunch advanced to the statue with their police and media entourage. Upon approaching the monument, an eerie sense of wonder, almost ethereal, etheric, almost holy,  came to me. We were inches close to the National Hero. We were singing the Happy Birthday song. This weird bunch of wonderful beautiful god-knows-what-f- they’re-doing creatures paid respect to the national hero. I was softly screaming, a little louder than the rain, ‘Shet! Nagawa natin! Nagana natin.’

The Ensemble then started the reverse walk. During the 30-min procession, I ran towards Bec, the reporter in charge of the coverage and told her about that eerie feeling of wonder, that epiphany that I had at he park. It wasn’t just really about re-imagining, re-creating, re-interpreting Rizal and his images, It wasn’t just about adapting Rizal for the present time, audiences and for the future. The whole event, the whole happening, the whole act is just simply about creating possibilities, showing possibilities and moving possibilities. No rationale will be released but the interaction and even the coverage, no matter how it will be framed, is a testament of something different, deviant for some, relevantly irrelevant for plenty. The image of this ‘unusual’ bunch doing their ritual with the national hero is unimaginable until it done, performed, acted upon by this ‘unusual’ bunch. If the relevance of Rizal’s birth and life is about creating, showing, and moving possibilities, then we were able to honor him the best way we can.

We can start simply with that: to create, show and move possibilities to jump start more possibilities for audiences in different communities. The act is for that young boy in the province watching tv with his imagination taking flight. It is for that unknown, unseen, unnamed to know that it is possible, there are things that are just possible, one just need to act upon it.

This is where we intend to bring the theater and we had just started.

To more soft and not so soft screams! To sense of wonder! To powerful and meaningful interactions! To more crazy and unusual bunch of players. To boundless borderless possibilities! To feeling and sensing and moving. To life, dynamic! Join us.

2012. Sipat Lawin Ensemble. Posible.

*raw file habang naglo-load ang video ng Rizal +150 sa Fb at dahil nais kong ibahagi sa ating lahat na naniniwala sa kakayahang lumikha, magkakasama. edit ko ‘to bukas. 🙂

-JK Anicoche

Season Apocalypse

Apocalypse (Greek: ἀποκάλυψις apokálypsis; “lifting of the veil” or “revelation”) is a disclosure of something hidden from the majority of mankind in an era dominated by falsehood and misconception, i.e. the veil to be lifted. *wikipedia

One must end so one may begin. Let’s get together.

Convergence. Emergence. Irreverence.

This 2012, Sipat Lawin Ensemble (SLE) launches SEASON APOCALYPSE, of beginnings and endings featuring the return of nuclear-phenomenal BATTALIA ROYALE in September and the 1st FRINGE/ CRINGE MANILA DEVISED-WORKS FESTIVAL in November with new works from emerging artists from different performance media.

Sipat Lawin inter-active classics: HARING +UBU-L, PRAGRES, IMPERIO ANIMALIA are back and now packed to go on tour on backpacks with Sipat on Wings Nationwide Performance Tour.

SLE fires 2 quarterly open platforms for collaborative new works: STRANGE PILGRIMS (Beer+ Opera + Music+ Contemporary Dance+ Film + Theatre + Art + Hybrid works) in bars and living rooms; and the newly-launched BOOK-ON-THE-SPOT CHILDREN’S WORKS PLATFORM at the Museo Pambata.

Theater-in-a-backpack Workshop Series plants new seeds for new breeds of theater practitioners around the country.

Relevant new works. Massive new platforms developing new communities, new audiences. SLE is shifting consciousness brewing performances as community functions and community functions as performances.

Engagement. Proximity. Coverage.

Fire. Shoot. Aim.

Rebellions and revelations. Sipat Lawin Ensemble: Season Apocalypse.

Endings ∞ Beginnings.