CAST off

So my friends and I did this thing.

I was approached late last year by my good friends, Nelsito Gomez and Sarah Facuri. I knew Nels from all the plays that I would watch and saw him perform so many times and gave him rave reviews when I’d write about plays. Sarah, I got to work with on No Filter.

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The members of CAST — Nelsito Gomez, Sarah Facuri, Jill Pena, myself, Mako Alonso, Reb Atadero, and Maronne Cruz

Nels, as I know him, was putting together a group and he wanted me to be a part of it. We called it CAST, short for Company of Actors in Streamlined Theater. Obviously, I’m the only member who is not an actor. Nels brought me in because he wanted someone in the group to be more on the creative-side, text-wise. As a dramaturge and a writer, I’d be able to fill in the blank spaces that might appear in a company filled with actors.

We gathered in February to talk about our goals and aspirations and put a kind of direction to the company.

Last Wednesday, we staged our first performance for an invitation-only staged reading of  a play at The Mirror Studio. It was free admission and we only invited theater enthusiasts, practitioners, and students. Nels was directing for the first time and all the other members were part of the play except for Sarah and myself.

The other members of CAST are Reb Atadero, Mako Alonso, Jill Pena, and Maronne Cruz.

The staged reading was a huge success and the energy that filled The Mirror Studio that evening was absolutely electric. It was a wonderful feeling to be a part of that moment.

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the cast of the first staged reading included Randy Villarama, Justine Narciso, Reb Atadero, Dean Daniel Rosen, Gabby Padilla, and a few others (not in photo)

I was only able to attend one rehearsal so my contributions as a dramaturge was of limited use. I hope to be able to be of more use in the next three readings with Jill, Mako, and Reb directing for the first time as well.

I miss being a part of theater. I know I only got to do it once for No Filter but there’s something so powerful and inspiring in a live performance and when it everything just comes together at the right moment, the effect is brilliant and dazzling and it can change you.

That evening, everything just came together.

I wish I wasn’t so busy so I could attend all the rehearsals again and to be really involved. As of the moment, I was just there to give the group some direction, marshaling their creative energy and forces as someone from the outside. They all just wanted to jump in and I was able to bring some level of direction to our first staged reading series.

I can’t wait to see what Jill, Mako, and Reb will do in the coming weeks. It’s exciting to be a part of something that is bristling with passion and freshness.

And I don’t have to write. What a relief!

And who knows? Three seasons down, I might get to direct. It was mentioned at the cast party after the reading. I’ve been toying with the idea since No Filter. Maybe this is my chance?

I’m just so proud of us right now.

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