Celebrated young playwright, librettist, Palanca awardee, and beloved teacher
1982 – 2020
MARIO LAGRIMAS MENDEZ, JR. (1982 – 2020) or “Em,” was a multi-awarded playwright, librettist, and teacher.
He received a Palanca Award for his full-length plays The Son of Ashes, and Ang Huling Mambabatok in 2013 and 2019, respectively.
His play Ang Unang Regla ni John was part of Virgin Labfest 8 – a festival of untested, unstaged plays – at the Cultural Center of the Philippines (CCP) in 2012. It was restaged at VLF 9 in 2013, simultaneous to the staging of Ambong Ambo. Ang Nanay kong Ex-NPA was in VLF 11 in 2015; while Barbie Girls was in the Fragments section of VLF 10 in 2014.
La Revolucion de los Santos was staged at DLSU Manila in 2018; and Ang Huling Mambabatok at the 7th China (Nanning) ASEAN Theater Week in 2019.
Mendez was the librettist for The Russian Princess, and Once Upon a Slipper, both staged at the AFP Theater in 2014 and 2015; Maynila sa mga Kuko ng Liwanag Musical, staged at Kia Theater in 2017, and Change my name, change my name at DLSU Manila in 2018.
Mendez wrote Higanti for Gitana Productions in 2016, and the 7-minute video documentary The Saving Tree, for the University of Leicester in 2017.
Anagnorisis: Apat na Dula, an anthology of four of his plays, was published by the University of Santo Tomas Publishing House in 2017.
Unang Regla ni John was included in Mga Piling Dula Mula sa Virgin Labfest, 2009-2012, Ikalawang Antolohiya in 2012. He was a contributor to the 2016 edition of Contemporary Philippine Art from the Regions, and other textbooks; and was a researcher and contributing writer to the CCP Encyclopedia of Philippine Art. He was a Researcher for Sa Tagilid na Yuta: On Tilted Earth: Performance in Archipelagic Space, and joined a team of academics, artists and researchers to various locations in Northern Luzon in 2015.
Mendez taught playwriting and/or English in DLSU Manila, DLSU College of St. Benilde, Guang Ming College, Mapua Institute of Technology, and OB Montessori Center, Inc.
He went to Malate Catholic School, has baccalaureate degree in Psychology from DLSU in Dasmarinas, and an MFA in Creative Writing from DLSU Manila. He was working on a doctorate in Malikhaing Pagsulat at University of the Philippines Diliman. Historian and playwright Jose Victor Z. Torres was a mentor and colleague.
Mendez was Fellow for Drama at the Bienvenido N. Santos Creative Writing Center of DLSU Manila from 2014-2015; writing fellow for Poetry the University of Santo Tomas National Writers’ Workshop for in 2009; IYAS La Salle National Writers’ Workshop in 2012; for Drama at the Silliman University National Writers Workshop in 2013.
Mendez was born on 28 July 1982 in Pasay to Elizabeth Lagrimas and Mario Mendez. Sr. He died of acute respiratory failure due to COVID on 2 August 2020, just a few days after he turned 38.