In the last two year, for some reason or another, I started watching more theatrical productions and stagings. I got to see Battalia Royale staged by Sipat Lawin and saw three different stagings of Red by the Actors Actors’ Necessary Theater. I got to see Piaf and Nine and They Are Playing Our Song and Noises Off.
I remember having seen The Producers, Closer, and three one-act plays from the Virgin Labfest. I remember seeing Stageshow and Ballet Philippines’ A Midsummer Night Dream. This year, I saw the third production of Red that I got to catch, Full Gallop, Cock, and Priscilla, Queen of the Desert.
I’ve also started watching Broadway theatrical productions that were filmed and my mind was blown wide open. I even had a phase where my Dad and I started watching all these Shakespeare adaptations — movies and live stage productions — and, now that I’m older, my appreciation for The Bard has increased a hundred fold.
In the process, I’ve become aware of the theatre in a totally different way. I started seeing the intricacies of the theatre and have begun to dissect how it is different in construction and the techniques required to putting a play together and how it is different from film and poetry.
Over the course of the past two years, I’ve met and become friends with many amazing people who are involved in the theatre. They are amazing, amazing people and the community seems so loving and warm and accommodating and supportive of each other.
As an outsider coming in, I’ve felt a very warm reception because I know quite a few people in the theatre scene, and my Dad is a respected artist, and I’ve come into my own (I’d like to think). I am pretty knowledgable with theatre, I can get by, and my Literature training allows me to discuss theatre intelligently, if it comes to that. But it doesn’t have to. We can just talk about our own personal experiences with it and it’s great. And, since I’m not actually professionally involved with theatre (I’m just an enthusiast), I feel like I’m exploring a totally new world and it is fun and wonderful and exciting and I love it. I really do.
Last March, I was invited to join a group of people who read plays because, despite the growing theatre scene (so many new production companies have come up), they still want to experience more and more plays. You can never really get enough of theatre. And so, we meet once a month, on a first-come, first-serve basis and read the play out loud, and then discuss the play afterwards. It’s a lovely thing, really, and it has become the day I am most excited about every month.
And a really good friend of mine and I are currently working on an original play of our own. It’s going slowly because the art of writing a play is so different from writing a film script and I don’t have the techniques, training, or experience for writing plays. I know how to put a story together but the conventions of theatre is so different and while I’m inspired as hell, I’m scared of the process. Dialogue has never been my strongest aspect of my writing, so it scares me, but the more and more I find myself watching plays and talking to amazing theatre people and doing these dramatic readings, I’m figuring out the expectation.
I am amazed, really, because it’s not that theatre wasn’t available to me. My Dad and Mom were active in theatre since college and they did community theatre in Bacolod and my Dad was a part of Repertory at some point in the 60s and 70s. They instilled the love of theatre in us at a very young age and it is a wonder to me I didn’t come to it earlier; that I had to be 33 to start becoming more aware of the theatre world and community.
I wouldn’t have minded at all if I were part of the theatre community — that instead of television or advertising I went and joined theatre instead — but that’s all moot now. We can’t change the past. What’s great is that my present is now engaging in it and it’s enriching my life so much.
I’m extremely happy with this turn of events in my life. Lights dim, curtains up, the play begins.