Wednesday, June 29, 2005
Manila, Manila... I'm gonna miss you, Manila..........
my stays in Manila involve a lot of work and a lot of family time. Of
course those two things were present (and I doubt the work aspect will
change drastically anytime soon), but there was much more that I found
and much more that I will miss (rather, am missing): the camaraderie of
old friends, and the discovery of new experiences.
new experiences part happened by accident. At dinner with my friend
Bobby Garcia (who was kidnapped by Mickey Mouse and is now being held
hostage in Hong Kong -- send him back to us!!!), the subject of Beauty
and the Beast came up, and I remember loudly volunteering to do
whatever he wanted me to, to help the Belles if need be. I thought
nothing would come of that conversation, and that the run would open,
run and close the way other shows would. HOWEVER... Menchu
Lauchengco-Yulo (I'll just call her Yulo in this blog... one, it's
funny, and two, it's easier to type in a hurry) and I got called to
active duty by Bobby to help his Belles. This was to be our first foray
as a duo to coach anyone. I can't speak for Yulo as she has coached
other young actors before, but I was a virgin to this... I was always
the leading lady, the one on stage, the one who doesn't crumble when a
setpiece decides to fuck up. Now, it was my turn to teach, to pass on
information, to lend a few trade secrets here and there of how I do my
job. At first, I thought I would show up maybe once or twice, give a
few tips (backstage behavior, responsibility of a lead actor on and
offstage, singing technique) then go. But oh no, that was not the case.
I paid my first visit to the Oppen building rehearsal space alone, and
spoke to the two girls with Bobby by my side. I did get to see the
girls rehearse to some degree, but did not pay attention to the level
of actually nitpicking. That came when I visited rehearsals with
Menchu, after our morning dance class.
We headed over to Oppen,
very excited. When we arrived, we said our hi's and hello's to the
people we knew (and we knew quite a few -- Cathy Azanza, Chari
Arespacochaga, Robie Zialcita, Robbie Guevara -- one R in the surname
or two? I can never remember -- Marisse Borlaza, Manman Angsico, Jett
Pangan, Loy Martinez, Jonard Yanzon), then sat down by Bobby to watch
the rehearsal with more attention to detail. We took pen to paper when
the need arose, taking notes whenever we saw an area that needed
improvement, or whatever just didn't fit. We paid quite a few visits to
Oppen, nitpicking more and more with each trip there, teaching more,
coaching more, and being very very detailed about which direction we
felt was right for Belle to go, following Bobby's direction. At least
one of us was there... if not Menchu, then me. At the end of the day,
we considered it our responsibility to take care of the two girls and
make sure they were as good as they could be on opening night, and even
I think we did our jobs well... their singing improved
after we taught them some basic warm-ups to do before each rehearsal
and performance... the acting improved once we were able to keep them
still... and their general performances are wonderful to watch, in
different ways. I'm glad that I was called to be part of the show.
Truth be told though, it was far more nervewracking sitting in the
audience on press night while KC was on, rather than be on stage... the
feeling of utter helplessness was what I didn't expect! How awful!
was probably the most major part of my visit to Manila... and I would
love to do more of it. It felt good to make even a small difference and
be participant to the creative process as a coach rather than as a
performer. Very different highs, very different results.
than anything work-related though, is the friends I leave behind when I
travel to work... you all know who you are, and I miss you terribly. I
only wish we had more time, but hey, it gives us all something to look
forward to. In the meantime, thoughts of you will fill my mind and my
heart, and I take you all with me wherever I go.
I love you guys, very much.
Haaaaaay... I hate goodbyes, but they're necessary if we are to say hello again.