Friday, February 27, 2015

Playback Performance I: Musikal! - A Musical Theater Celebration of CCP's 45th Year Anniversary

Mars and Me

"The best hangover is the one that you get from watching a musical", said Isay Alvarez, before closing the first night of Musikal!, a musical theater presentation of the Cultural Center of the Philippines in celebration of its 45th year,last September 5, 2014.

That statement was, indeed, correct. Apart from giving me the "best hangover", it was able to help me forget my problems for a while. Among the 22 plays that were included, I was able to watch the full theater production of only three of them, namely, Sa Wakas, Rak of Aegis, and just recently, Sandosenang Sapatos. Seeing portions of other musicals being performed on stage, made me want to see them all (I wish there would be re-runs!)

After the program, I met with my friend Mars who was also there. After having photo-ops with the theater actors and playwrights, we discussed which among the plays stood out, and which performances deserved citations.

Our Top 10 Picks In Alphabetical Order:

Batang Rizal
Magsimula Ka
Rak of Aegis
Sa Wakas
Sandosenang Sapatos
Zsazsa Zaturnah

Special Awards:

Actor of the Night: DJ Myke Salomon ( I never expected he could sing and perform the way he did!)

Actress of the Night: Isay Alvarez (She appeared in three of our top picks!)

Best Ensemble: Rak of Aegis (Truly an awesome cast!) ang Batang Rizal (they remind us of Speech Choir participants; the actors just enjoyed being on stage, acting like kids!)

With Gold Villar, one of the actors of Rak of Aegis

Best Production - Drama: Himala (The entire story was captured already in what they showed)

Best Production - Comedy: Maxie (my choice) and Zsazsa Zaturnah (Mars's choice)

Best Vocal Performance - Ebe Dancel, Supremo (I am a fan! It's as if I was watching him in a concert!)

Best Costume Design - Sandosenang Sapatos ("Humanized" shoes)

Best Use of LED Screen - Caredivas (the mirror ball/disco lights effect)

Best LSS Effect - "Basang-Basa Sa Ulan", Rak of Aegis

All-Time Favorite - Rak of Aegis
The Palanca-winning writer of Rak of Aegis, Ms. Liza Magtoto

The part that gave me goosebumps and led me to crying, though, was the last part when all the actors were on stage and they were singing these memorable lines ---

"Ang lingap mo ay hahanap-hanapin
sa entabladong minsan ay sa akin
At kung ako ay malimutan, kahit sa awit ko man lamang
Iyo sanang matandaan bago tuluyang lumisan
na minsan ang minahal ay ako" ---

while paying tribute to various icons of Philippine theater.

Musikal! will run until September 6, 2014. If you still have time to buy tickets, do so.

Alab Open Mic - A Night of Music and Poetry at Boho Sarapsody Bistro, Quezon City

“Maraming kwentong naghihintay na maisulat”, said Manix Abrera, the creator of the well-loved Kikomachine comics, during Alab Open Mic, a night of music and poetry, held at Boho Sarapsody Bistro, Quezon City, last February 6, 2015. Alab was organized by a good friend and fellow LIRA member, Vins Miranda. She was joined by her co-teachers and equally dedicated ladies, Dinalene Castanar and Arah Rivadeneira. The proceeds of the said event would go to the reconstruction of the libraries in Tacloban, the city devastated by Typhoon Haiyan (Yolanda) in 2013.

Alab's Facebook promotional infographic

Apart from Manix Abrera, Eros Atalia (author of Ligo Na U, Lapit Na Me, and other books), Egay Samar (author of Walong Diwata ng Pagkahulog and Janus Silang), and Bebang Siy (author of It’s Raining Mens, It’s A Mens World, and other books) graced the occasion. These authors read sample of their works. I particularly liked Manix’s sharing of how he usually came up with ideas for his comics, which was truly inspiring; indeed, the materials are everywhere and inspirations are just waiting to be written (or drawn). 

Egay Samar reading his poetry

Manix Abrera sharing the story behind his comic strips
The funny Ms. Bebang Siy sharing an entry from her Nuno sa Puso book

Since it was an Open Mic guests were invited to read or perform their works, be it poetry, music, or portion of stories. I read a poem titled “Babala”, which was about the government’s warning against the eating of dead animals found on streets after the typhoon.

Me, reading my poem

The event was also a book drive. The books would be sent to Tacloban for the libraries that would be built. I was also able to buy Eros's books (Taguan Pung at Manwal ng Pagpapatiwakal and his Palanca award-winning novel, Tatlong Araw, Talong Gabi), Bebang's books (the two Nuno sa Puso), and Manix's Kikomachine Book No. 7 and a glow-in-the dark Kikomachine shirt.

Shiela and myself posing with Eros S. Atalia

The "hardcore" Manix Abrera

Wacky pose with Ms. Bebang Siy

Organizing Alab was a dream for Vins. I am very happy to be part of her project. That night, I was also reunited with a fellow LIRA member, our friend Imee Rabang (who writes very good poetry!), whom I hadn’t seen for 4 years! In the next Alab events, I would be helping Vins to promote her advocacy. 

Vins, speaking about the story behind Alab

LIRA Kilapsaw (L-R): me, Shiela, Vins, and Imee

Workshop Weekends I: Basic Watercolor Workshop at 10-A Alabama with Denver Garza

“Tell me, why did you sign up for this workshop”, asked Denver Garza, the facilitator of the Basic Watercolor Workshop I participated in last January 31, 2015. “I have been attending workshops, writing workshops, acting workshops, strorytelling workshops…now, I want to learn something new again and meet new people”, I told him. And after 3 hours, I, indeed learned something new!

The workshop was held at 10-A Alabama or the Resurrection Furniture and Found Objects Gallery. I learned that apart from being a furniture (and other found objects sanctuary) exhibits and workshops are being held there.

Resurrection Furniture and Found Objects Gallery, 10-A Alabama
Inside the gallery were cool stuff!

Cinderella's missing shoe, I guess.

I learned about Sir Denver’s workshop through Facebook. It was shared by a friend. The workshop that I attended was the second workshop already; I wasn’t able to enroll the first time because of a prior engagement. I was impressed with Sir Denver’s watercolor paintings, thus, I enrolled. The workshop fee cost Php 950 if you have painting materials already. That’s Set A. If you don’t, you may opt to choose Set B that include watercolor and brushes for beginners, for P 1,450.

The workshop kit

Some of Sir Denver's awesome works

During the seminar we learned about the different watercolor painting tools, such as the various kinds of watercolor, brushes, papers, and pencils. There’s basically a student grade (cheaper, for beginners) and artist’s grade (more expensive, for the pros) for watercolor, brushes, and papers. Brushes have different kinds of bristles. Papers differ according to thickness --- the thicker, according to Sir Denver, is better because it’s more absorbent.

Our "syllabus" for theday

We also learned about stretching (or preparing) the paper to be used, and of course, the various kinds of brush strokes. We also reviewed the color wheel so that we could achieve the effect that we wanted on our artworks.

Sir Denver explaining the techniques he applied in his works

Our final activity was lifted from a Kukology exercise. We drew a circle, triangles, and squares. We painted them with watercolor. Then, Sir Denver interpreted them, based on Kukology (Sir Denver is a psychologist).
My Kukology output (I'm way better than this! Hahaha!)

It was a fruitful day, indeed. The best thing about the experience is gaining new friends. Above everything else, I realized is that watercolor painting workshop enhances not only your artistic skill, but your EQ as well. Sometimes, to achieve the effects that you wanted, you have to wait for the initial pain that you applied to dry before applying another stroke. As one of my new friends said, “it’s a test of patience.”

Me and Sir Denver in an obligatory photo-op, haha!

There will be a 3rd session, I believe. I would like to continue painting and perhaps, enroll in the Level 2 of Denver Garza’s Watercolor Workshop Series.

Plays in 2015 I: Tungkol Kay Angela (a play by Joshua Lim So)

Mind-boggling. This is how I would describe “Tungkol Kay Angela” a play written by Joshua Lim So, which was awarded First Place in 2014 Don Carlos Palanca Memorial Awards for full-length play in Filipino. The play was directed by Banawe Miclat and was staged in Tanghalang Huseng Batute at the Cultural Center of the Philippines.

"Tungkol kay Angela" poster

It’s a play set in the future, around 50 years after EDSA Revolution. There were only three characters in the play – Pa, Ma, and Fred (performed by Roeder Camanag, Angelina Kanapi, and Vincent Kevin Pajara, respectively) . Pa and Ma had stayed in their house for as long as they could remember until one day, Fred knocked at their door. They welcomed him, invited to dinner, and talked about Angela. But who is Angela? Who is Fred? --- These puzzling questions make watching the play exciting!

“Tungkol Kay Angela” is one of those plays that you would want to discuss with your friends over a cup of coffee immediately after they “closed the curtains”.

My bestfriend Harold, myself, and Ma'am Jina Andaya, my former trainer in high school journalism, who's a also a Palanca awardee! We had a coffee after the play and discussed our views about what we saw.