Battalia Royale takes place in contemporary Philippines. 40 students from the Junior Class of Our Lady of Guadelope High in Manila are on their way to a school excursion when they are kidnapped, sedated and rerouted to an old prison complex. At the beginning of the play, the audience are taken to the riverside, where they see the unconscious students piled in a mass of bodies.
When they awake, the students and the audience are greeted by a number of armed guards and the game’s facilitator/commentator, Fraser Salamon. Salamon informs the students that they are participants in this round of Battle Royale. Each student has been fitted with a collar which monitors their breath and pulse. At the end of the evening, if more than one student remains alive, all the collars will self-destruct, killing all the students. If only one student is left alive, that student is the winner of the game. The students are each given a bag containing a random weapon. Salamon shoots one student (Aizza Braga) to demonstrate that the situation is real, and the students disperse into the prison complex.
The audience are now split into three groups. Each of the armed guards takes one group of audience on a different route through the prison complex, to see the arena and to get a sense of the whole playing space. Each group witnesses a series of short vignettes on their way through the prison, encountering a different set of students and seeing some of the early interactions between them. One group travels down the hill and around the front of the Rajah Suleyman theatre, entering through the main gateway. The second group also travels down the hill, but enters the Rajah Suleyman space through Rizal’s Cell. The third group travels along the wall parallel to the river, passing the toilet blocks to enter the theatre. This touring sequence will take approximately 15 minutes to complete.
When the audience have all gathered in the main chamber of the Rajah Suleyman theatre, Fraser Salamon addresses them again. Each audience member has received a card with a student’s name and photograph on it. Salamon explains to the audience that if the student on your card wins the game, you will receive a prize (a tray of meat). He also marks off the students who died during the tour. Now, the audience remain seated for the remainder of the play, which takes place in and around the main chamber.
The play now splits into four main story arcs. Each story arc follows a different group of characters and shows how they respond to their situation.
THE THIRD MAN
This story arc follows Julius, the charismatic class president and his best friend Lucky. Julius and Lucky have hidden in a warehouse, and Julius is attempting to assemble a machine that will deactivate the collars, enabling Lucky and him to escape. However, Julius’ ex-girlfriend June stumbles upon the warehouse, and manages to blackmail her way in despite Julius’ attempts to keep her out. Julius’ plan to construct a machine that will deactivate the collars gradually falls apart, and he and Lucky and June are left dispirited and hopeless, waiting for the end. Finally, the trio turn on each other, and June murders Julius and Lucky before fleeing the warehouse.
The Nemeses storyline tracks the growing rivalry between Kakai and Victor, both highly adept, equally-matched and fiercely determined competitors in the Program. As Kakai sets out killing remorselessly and manipulating her classmates towards gruesome deaths, Victor swears vengeance against her for murdering his childhood love, Rhae. As the number of students dwindle and Kakai and Victor head towards their inevitable confrontation, Kakai is forced to reflect on the reasons behind her actions and cruelty, and Victor abandons his virtue in the name of no-holds-barred revenge.
THE LIGHTHOUSE FAMILY
As soon as the game begins, Jessica and Rahel assemble a group of friendly girls (and Francis). They hide out in an area (nicknamed the Lighthouse) and they decide to defend themselves against anyone who tries to trouble them. Jessica is in charge and she tries to keep everyone calm while they are on the verge of freaking out. At last Datu, Sophia and Paul arrive looking for shelter. Jessica decides to take them in, and they prepare a meal together. Paul is jealous of Datu and tries to poison him, but he accidentally poisons the wrong person. Everyone in the lighthouse freaks out and they all murder each other in a horrific bloodbath. Jessica is the only survivor, but she is badly injured.
THE KIRIYAMA FAMILY
Charismatic school bully Sebastian Kiriyama encounters and rejoins his gang, the Kiriyama Family. The gang proceed to embark on a violent spree, tormenting and murdering a number of students and collecting their weapons. Once they have accumulated a serious arsenal, Sebastian turns on his gang and kills them one by one. He then strikes out alone, heavily armed and killing wherever convenient.
At the conclusion of each of the four stories, only three characters remain alive: June (who has escaped the warehouse after killing Julius and Lucky), Jessica (who has survived the lighthouse massacre but is badly wounded) and Sebastian (who has amassed a serious collection of weaponry). The three characters encounter each other and there is a brief face-off, at the end of which only one character survives. Salamon crowns the student the winner of Battalia Royale and there is a general celebration. The audience are thanked and depart joyfully.