TWO Duncan MacMillan’s plays on modern love, climate change, and mental health will be restaged as The Sandbox Collective opens its 6th season with Sandbox Fest 2020.

Following sold-out runs in 2018 and 2019, Lungs and Every Brilliant Thing will be restaged at the Maybank Performing Arts Theater in BGC, Taguig City beginning March 6.

“We are always going to be choosing shows that have a social component to it,” Sandbox Collective’s managing artistic director and co-executive producer Toff De Venecia said at the press launch in Privato Hotel in Quezon City on Feb. 11.

“With Every Brilliant Thing, we were happy to have done our share in shedding light on the subject of mental health that continues to grip the country today. Now, with natural disasters occurring left and right, and significant doubt materializing in the age of anxiety, perhaps Lungs has gained a horrific new timeliness as well,” Mr. De Venecia was quoted as saying in a press release.

English playwright and director Duncan MacMillan is notable for contemporary plays which incorporate a socio-political voice. His works include People, Places and Things (2015) which focuses on addiction and recovery, and a stage adaptation of George Orwell’s dystopian novel 1984 (2013).

Lungs centers on an unnamed couple who are in a conversation about the future of their relationship and the prospects of starting a family amidst growing concerns on climate change.

“I want audiences to take away how intense, complicated and beautiful relationships can be,” said Andrei Nikolai Pamintuan, who returns as the play’s director, in a press release.

Film and TV actor Jake Cuenca and theater actress Sab Jose will reprise their roles.

“Coming into this rerun, there is a lot more depth to my understanding of what being an a relationship means,” said Ms. Jose of her understanding of the role since getting married in 2018.

In Every Brilliant Thing, a young girl tries to ease her mother’s depression by starting a list of items that are worth living for. The list grows through adulthood, and she discovers how the items have a significance in her own life.

Jenny Jamora returns as the play’s director, while model and TV host Teresa Herrera and theater actress Kakki Teodoro reprise and alternate in the role.

In the play, the actress not only narrates but also interacts with the audience by selecting volunteers to play specific people in her life as she recalls her experiences.

“I think that’s where the magic of the show happens — the interaction between the audience. You really see the humanity of how we can be kind to help one another,” Ms. Herrera said.

Lungs earned seven nominations in the 2019 Philstage Gawad Buhay Awards, including Outstanding Male Lead for Mr. Cuenca, Outstanding Female Lead for Ms. Jose, and Outstanding Stage Direction for a Play for Mr. Pamintuan. Meanwhile, Every Brilliant Thing earned six nods in the midyear citations for the 12th Philstage Gawad Buhay Awards, including Outstanding Female Lead for Ms. Herrera and Ms. Teodoro.

“It’s a risk initially to work on something that is not commercial. But, the fact that it finds its own audience [is] very encouraging for us to be able to keep doing what we do,” Mr. De Venecia told BusinessWorld.

Sandbox Fest 2020 runs from March 6 to 29 at the Zobel de Ayala Recital Hall at the Maybank Performing Arts Theater, BGC, Taguig City. Tickets are available through Ticketworld (, 8891-9999) and The Sandbox Collective at (0956-200-4909, 0917-554-5560). — Michelle Anne P. Soliman