By Camille Anne M. Arcilla

Twenty Questions
Jan. 6 to 8, 13 to 15, at 3 p.m. and 8 p.m.
The Hotel at Green Sun, 2285 Chino Roces Ave. Ext., Makati City

ONE ROOM, 24 hours, and 20 questions. What happens when two friends get trapped in a room and get caught up in the moment?

Twenty Questions, written by Palanca Award recipient Juan Ekis who also directs, follows conservative economics graduate Jigs and the liberal and outgoing Yumi who are locked in a room together as part of a barkada tradition. During their mandated 24 hours together, the two get to know each other a little better over some bottles of wine, playing a game where they can ask each other about anything and are not allowed to lie.

After winning in the Dulaang Isang Yugto (One Act Play) category in the 2003 Palanca awards, Twenty Questions gained popularity when it circulated online. Mr. Ekis told BusinessWorld the piece was not originally intended for the Palanca awards.

“Entering it into Palanca was an afterthought. The play was originally part of a series of ‘teaching plays’ for high school. This play was supposed to be about the sanctity of sex. It tackles the sanctity of sex in a non-preachy way. It challenges our views on sex, love, and relationships,” the author said.

His material is heavily character-driven, he noted, and was based on snippets of stolen real-life dialogue, thoughts, and philosophies. It does not aim to preach to but rather to teach its audience.

Even if Twenty Questions has become popular because of its themes in love, lust, friendship, and relationship, which the audience finds as a venue for hugot (Filipino for “to draw or pull out,” slang for something “deeply emotional”), Mr. Ekis said he does not believe in hugot. “With the series of plays I am writing and producing this year, we are making an anti-hugot statement: Ang pag-ibig, binubuhos. Hindi hinugugot (love is poured out not drawn out),” he said. “This is a conscious effort on our part as a group of artists.”

For the production, Mr. Ekis said they will be maintaining the intimacy of the play by simulating a hotel room at the Green Sun. The run will feature three sets of actors with different interpretations of the piece. Eggy Manuel, Luis Sumera, and Jedidah Maigue will take turns portraying Jigs, while Eri Durr, Alyana Dalisay, and Diandra Concepcion will alternate as Yumi.

“We hope to present an intimate, realistic, and fresh romcom. I tried to maintain some millennial feel to it as I collaborated closely with my younger actors who have now a very different sensibility than mine when I was their age in the early 2000s,” said the playwright.

For reservations and inquiries, contact 0917-656-7293 or Facebook account, For more updates, you can follow them on Instagram (@tweny.questions) and on Twitter (@20qnijuanekis).