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Duncan Macmillan’s LUNGS Is A Sexy, Tongue-In-Cheek Play On Whether The Planet Needs More Babies

Being childfree is easy when the only dating you’re into is carbon dating. Otherwise, it’s all about your carbon footprint—at least when it comes to Duncan Macmillan’s play Lungs which opens on September in Manila.

Lungs centers on thirtysomething couple M and W, who thresh out the next step in their relationship in an environment that’s slowly choking on the effects of climate change. Their main issue? Figuring out if they’re ready to do the unthinkable: have a baby. 

Considering that the planet is dying, and that an infant’s carbon footprint for nappies is reported to produce 10,000 tonnes of CO2, is it a kind decision to pop out more children?  

Directed by Andrei Nikolai Paminutan, Lungs is a one-act conversation between two people, a simple exchange about a complex relationship. It doesn’t just focus on the characters’ dynamic with each other, but also their relationship with the rest of the world, and how they will handle an uncertain future while wrestling with an unshakeable past.


This is Pamintuan’s first play as director. Hinging on only the script and the actors, the material’s simplicity pushes the entire team to present the story in a way that it would be fully appreciated by the Filipino audience.

“With a minimal set, no light changes, and no miming, it’s nice to challenge yourself as a director to find different ways to convey the story without being dependent on the usual things you normally use as devices,” the novice stage helmsman explains.    

Jake Cuenca (his stage debut) and Sab Jose play M and W, the millennial couple that tends to overthink every aspect of their decisions. “Hyperwoke” is what Pamintuan calls them. They are the product of centuries of couples who never gave a second thought about their children’s environmental impact.



On top of the growing concern for the planet, there’s an added takeaway that also encompasses women, as Sab Jose tells Metro Style.

“Not to hinge your worth on motherhood, that’s one,” she says about the play’s message to women. “Because I think a lot of times, we get stuck on those questions, like: When am I gonna have a child?... Because a lot of people will say that motherhood is what defines women.

“It’s a show about how females can use their intelligence, how they can use opportunities to have a larger voice in decision-making in the world. Not just about the environment because this is set against the backdrop of global warming and climate change, but just to have a voice in, you know, global issues and global decisions…

“I’m hoping that’s a takeaway that people get from Lungs, that women aren’t just for childbearing. They’re for the same opportunities that men get, the same achievements of other sexes, other genders.”      



Lungs will be showing at the Power MAC Center Spotlight, Circuit Makati from September 22 to October 2017. For more details on #LungsMNL, please visit The Sandbox Collective and 9 Works Theatrical on Facebook.