Monthly Archives: March 2015

NEAR YET FAR, FAR YET NEAR

By | apagspoetry, apagstheater | No Comments
Cover image

Cover image

 

(this is a part of my Director’s notes for DITO:Bahay ng Sining’s upcoming play, directed by me)

NEAR YET FAR, FAR YET NEAR – SILENCE REFLECTIONS

Director’s Notes

 

It’s been a while since I’ve written Director’s notes. So I’m not exactly sure how to do this. But here goes. Funny guy naman ako eh, so I think ok lang yan.

 

UNA sa lahat, thank you audience member, dahil nanood ka (or kung excited kang bumili nitong souvenir program na ito at intermission palang, na nanonood ka) ng palabas namin. Kung binabasa mo ito sa blog ko, salamat na baka manonood ka ng play namin. Kung friend kita or nakaka inuman regularly, i-eexpect kita sa mga show namin ha? Kung hindi kita kilala, i eexpect ko na maging friend or kainuman kita sa mga show namin ha? Or after the shows.

 

SECONDLY, you might be asking kung bakit “Near Yet Far, Far Yet Near” Ang title ng production. Nung nabuo namin ang materials nito (Hi Yaps Estagle my fellow writer), it wasn’t exactly easy to come up with a theme. Ok, sige given na, love plays ang mga ito. Pero, ang dami daming pwedeng sabihin about love, anong masayang pag-usapan? So after some thought, we figured out na one aspect of love na interesting gawin at i-intertwine sa plays ay ang concept ng SILENCE.

 

Sa panahon ngayon, usong uso, or prevalent ang self censorship. Marami tayong gustong sabihin pero ang daming factors na pumipigil sa ating gawin iyon. Pag may sabihin tayo or gawin na hindi kaaya aya, lalabas na agad sa facebook yan or twitter o kung ano mang social media mo. Ako din mismo guilty dito. Ayan tuloy nagpapaka overly safe tayo. At pag lumabas sa social media yun, nag susuffer ang identity natin. Na iinsecure tayo, natatakot. Yung older generations, mas bad-ass kaysa sa mga tao ngayon palagay ko. Just imagine, pag nanliligaw sila dati, or nakikipag landian, diretsahan. Ngayon, may mga concept ng “thing lang yan”, or “happy crush”, “sawi”. Dati walang ganun. Or baka meron pero hindi masiyadong napapansin, or hindi masiyadong nababalita. Pag may trip ka, attack. Eh ngayon? Kailangan stalk mo muna sa facebook or twitter, tapos pag match ang mga like pages niyo, or pag marami kayong mutual friends, or pag pareho kayong naglalaro ng COC, etc, doon ka palang mag-iisip na mag go. At pag mag fail, rekta na mag rarant ka sa facebook, or mag popost ng mga cryptic song lyrics to complain about why the world isn’t fair blah blah blah. The older generations? Bad-ass. Wala silang paki sa judgments ng mga tao. Malamang, nung time nila konting tao lang ang nakaka judge sa kanila. Pero sa panahon ngayon, mas na jujudge tayo on a wider scale. And sadly, at the end of the day, when we are unable to express a lot of who we truly are, slowly, little parts of us disappear or die. And a lot of people nowadays find it so harder to cope with heartache. Naturally may mga mag didisagree sa akin sa mga previous statements ko. Tama lang, may mga exceptions naman to my observations. Pero isipin niyo. Ang dami talagang whiny biatches today. Tapos false courage lang ang meron.

 

The plays talk about 2 kinds of silences. One Rainy Evening in April talks about not saying anything, despite having so many things to say. 10 Questions naman talks about saying so many things, but not saying what we truly want to say. Misdirection kumbaga.

 

So ayun, SILENCE makes us feel either near yet far or far yet near to certain people depending on the way you look at it.

 

Feel free to view the following pictures taken by Christine Chung:

Jerome Actor

Jerome Actor

Tarek Actor

Tarek Actor

Trency Actress

Trency Actress

Guelan Actor

Guelan Actor

That time when I got to see Phil Kaye and Sarah Kay perform

By | apagspoetry, poetees | No Comments

March 2, 2015

Irwin Theater, Ateneo de Manila University

 

It was a wonderful day. The weather was just right as night began to fall in Ateneo. I had been looking forward to this day for a couple of weeks now. Finally, I would get to see Phil Kaye and Sarah Kay performing live on stage. Many people might not know how big a fan I am of Spoken Word poetry. It’s one of those hobbies that I really don’t get to share around until recently. I mean, I dunno, I don’t exactly know who’s gonna get it or who would even relate to it. But I’m glad to discover that a lot of people are actually into it. One of my closest friends, Edzon Rapisora calls it “high art” jokingly. I think it is high art too, but for a different reason. While Edzon thinks Spoken Word poetry might be high in the sense that it is not easily reachable, I’d like to think of it as art that makes you high. Like a drug. High Drugs. High pare. High.

 

Anyway, the Irwin began to fill up pretty quickly. At 530, the line was only at the side of the theater, at 545, it was reaching all the way to the back, at 6pm i think it was already stretching all the way into marikina. Prolly at around 615 it was pretty close to the depths of hell. (It sucks to be in line late!) It was nice to see a bunch of familiar faces and more importantly, fellow fans of poetry. And this sort of thing is not as rowdy as a rock concert. But make no mistake, these poets are modern rockstars in their own right. And in a field of their own. Actually, they’re more than rockstars. They’re stars that guide people into navigating in and out of their thoughts, their innermost feelings. I know this for a fact because poetry does that for me. It helps me verbalize certain feelings, and helps me figure out how to deal with them.

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The not so long line outside the Irwin theater

While we were waiting in line, a camera crew came up to me and interviewed me. I was wearing a #poetees shirt and they thought it would look nice on camera. I obliged. I suck at these interviews. I don’t think they’ll be able to use my cheesy answers. But it was a good experience. I tried my best knowing that Phil and Sarah would see these responses. I was pretty damn nervous. But what the heck.

 

620pm. Phil Kaye walks out and greets people at the line. This group of girls in front of me was making tili. I immediately whisper to my friend Guelan: (translated) “That’s what I want. If i become a poet, I hope when I walk by, pretty girls will be kilig at my presence.” We laugh at the idea. Of course, poetry is about making people feel. What a nice fantasy it was at that point to actually make people feel kilig. Phil had this different aura to him. Like he was this quiet guy. The kind of guy who would be a class officer, or the type of guy you’d hang out with to play board games. He seemed like a pretty relaxed guy. He was handling the intense female attention very well. He was cool.

 

630pm and the line starts moving. But stops again outside the theater. All of a sudden a casual Sarah Kay runs out the doors and starts high fiving people from the line. She grazed my hand. First thought to myself: “MAN SHE IS TALL. IN HER YOUTUBE VIDS SHE DIDN’T SEEM TOO TALL.” Youtube you have deceived me once more. Second thought was “OMG ITS SARAH KAY DONT BREAK DOWN. DONT LOOK AT HER. SHE WILL KNOW YOU LOVE HER. BREATHE JUST BREATHE. OMG SHE’S COMING CLOSER. SHE TOUCHED MY HAND. SHE LOVES ME. THIS IS DESTINY. WAHHHHH”. I though I handled it pretty well. I was cool.

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Sarah high fiving people

Finally at around 715 we get to set down. It would almost be a full hour before the show started. Obviously. 1100 people won’t walk and sit down inside the theater in a flash. I’m used to sitting down and waiting for theater shows to begin. But something was different today. There was no house music (only ads and acknowledgements), there was no present lights, no elaborate or minimalist set. These usually give me an idea of something to look forward to during the show. Or at least it keeps me entertained until the lights dim and the play begins. But nothing but an empty stage with a curtain and a spotlight. I knew some of their poems, but other than that, I did not know what to expect.  So I sat, and waited quietly. Then I fidgeted. Then I took a selfie with my friends. Then I felt tired so I took a 10 minute nap. Then I woke up feeling fresh and excited.

 

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 With friends from L-R: Guelan, Inna, Chungy

But the wait was worth it. As the two poets came out, I felt my heart jump into overdrive. I was determined not to take a video of any of the poems. I wanted to savor every moment I would get to see these poets live. It’s so sad seeing some of the audience members watching these two poets from the live view of their camera phone. I took a few photos to remember the experience, but I don’t think those can ever make me relive those moments where I cried. When I laughed. (Phil is super funny, I think he has this Vic Sotto-esque quality about him — the quirky, awkward thin guy who all the ladies fancy despite that). I listened and clapped after every poem. I tried very hard not to cry, but these poems were just so moving. Sometimes, I’d get lost because they’d go with a fast delivery, but I find myself being able to catch up at one point. I held my breath with each painful heartstring that was pulled. I was watching them, but a bazillion images would be playing in my head. Images from their poems. And then every now and then I’d hear an amazing rhyme, and I’d point to them and softly say” “you ha, that was brilliant!”. I hung on to every word, and tried to grasp every metaphor. And before I knew it it was almost 2 hours. Not once did I think of going to the bathroom, or if there would be an intermission, or if there was something else I had to do at work. I was there with Phil and Sarah swimming in their souls and bathing in their feelings. I cried several times I must admit. I hate crying in public, it’s so out of character for me being a big burly guy who is super kaduper funny. (at least I think I’m funnier than most people I know.). The poets end with “When Love Arrives”. Aptly enough, the last line of that poem is “Thank you for stopping by.” And that was how i felt. I was just so thankful to see them. Thank you for Stopping by Phil and Sarah.

 

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After the show, I made a few friends outside while standing in line for merchandise and autographs and pictures. THEN I FINALLY MET THEM. I TALKED TO THEM. SHOOK THEIR HANDS. I could not take an #apagsawesomeselfies, but they have an official photographer and they’ll post the pictures online daw. So I’m excited for that. Also, sadly, Sarah’s book didn’t make it past Philippine Customs. WHICH TOTALLY SUCKS. So the volunteers will mail the books to people who purchased them. I’m even more excited for that!

 

A message to you Philippine Customs: FIX YOURSELVES!!!!

 

And with that I end this short retelling of yesterday. I’m gonna have a #poetees give away contest, so you’d better watch out for that. Again, thanks Phil and Sarah!

Godot^5: The week after

By | apagstheater | No Comments

So it’s been a week since my latest theater endeavor ended. If I haven’t told you, I was part of the recently concluded production of Tanghalang Ateneo called Godot5. Basically it was 5 ruminations of the classic Beckett piece, “en attendant Godot”, or more popularly known (to most of us at least) as “Waiting for Godot”. I’ve already posted a bunch of cheesy things previously about how much difficult yet fulfilling working in this production was. To say that this play was life changing was an understatement.

One week. And I’m missing the play. Terribly.

So I sat down and reflected about what I miss most about the play. This won’t be a long post, but I’ve had some several thoughts which I think might apply to a bunch of us with regard to waiting for someone or in terms of missing something.

Of course, first and foremost I miss the people. I miss being around people who are just so passionate about what they do. I miss laughing and making jokes with everyone. Despite doing so many different things, and stressing out over rehearsals and the time that we had left till opening night (especially those people who were still memorizing days before opening – like me), we still came together and was able to share a lot of happy moments. I especially miss my co-actors in my set, who were all so endearing (yes, even you sungit Xander). I miss playing around yet still ending up doing something so serious.

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I miss the godot set. That small piece of road with a platform and a tree. That was home. That was the place where we created, collaborated, and moved people.

But what I really miss was that sense of certainty. I have mentioned this to some select friends, but I wanted to share this reflection. Being part of godot gave me a sense of certainty with who I was, what I was doing, how I was thinking.

In our lives, we become part of things, we do things, but sometimes we aren’t really sure if what we’re doing is something that we’re SUPPOSED to be doing. We tend to ask ourselves questions like “should I be doing this? what the hell was I thinking? how much longer do I have to do/endure this?”. We get frustrated, we get tired, and we feel like we jumped into things a little too quickly. Like for the students, we commit to being a beadle, but then sometime during the sem, we get annoyed at having to do beadle tasks because they can be time consuming and unfulfilling. Same thing for some orgs. More so outside of school. We apply for and accept jobs that initially feel like they will change us, and make us better people. Then comes the time where we question said jobs because we feel like it no longer makes us grow. Some people leave, some people endure, some people disregard these questions. Sometimes, we may not exactly understand how the world works, but we still try our best to live everyday.

But that wasn’t the case for Godot^5. Everyday that I have to go to the theater, from around 5pm, until the time I leave at around 10pm, I knew I was exactly where I wanted to be, doing what exactly I was supposed to be doing, thinking and doing it in the way I was supposed to be thinking and doing it. That no one else in the world at that moment, despite who they are, can do exactly what I was doing for my set. I don’t care if they’re more good looking, more talented, more blah blah blah than me. Only I could do it, and it was a task that I had to do. Sort of like Frodo being the one who brings the one ring to Mordor. No one else could do it. And that is something that gives a person fulfillment. Knowing that they are doing something that is worth something. That was the sense of certainty. And I’m so thankful to everyone who believed in us to do this task. And I hope that what we did was enough to give justice to the solid material and to engage the audience that took time and spent money to watch the play. And I’m so blessed and grateful for just even being given the chance to feel that sense of certainty, that sense of fulfillment. And add to that, sharing it with people I knew were doing the same thing. It was all so inspiring.

A good friend of mine, Kenny Lirios, once said (I think this quote is from the wise Gandalf, I mean Mr. Pagsi):

“There are only three things that man needs to be happy: A job to do, a person to love, and a tomorrow.”

We should all find that job to do that makes us fulfilled (or at least trick ourselves long enough to endure it for us to find its fulfillment). A person to love (even if it isn’t the cheesy romantic kind of love). It could be just loving your family, your close friends, or even just ourselves for that matter! And to bring those to the tomorrow. Where so much magic happens.

So I guess now that the play is over I have to look for that again. I’m pretty sure that it isn’t so hard to find. Some people think it is. But it really shouldn’t be. So long as you use your heart as a compass, and your passions as a map. Looking forward to that tomorrow!

 

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