Theatre Producers of Color - 2023 Cohort
I’m thrilled to announce that I was selected to be part of the Producing 101 2023 Cohort under Theatre Producers of Color (TPOC). They had their biggest number of applications this year (around 300) and I am so excited to join 24 other producers in their Class of 2023. I’m very grateful to TPOC for opening their doors to international producers to have access to their wealth of information, resources and community!
The Producing 101 course is an 11-week tuition-free course aimed to equip BIPOC producers with the fundamentals of commercial producing.
When I graduated from Juilliard in 2019, I was hungry to get to know who I was outside of the rehearsal room as an actor. I grappled with a niggling question, “Is there more to life than this?” It’s been a slow and sometimes scary/arduous journey in finding those answers. My word for 2023 is “clarity.” Early this year, I had the clarity to apply for TPOC’s Producing 101 course as I’ve always also seen myself producing my own films and theatre projects. I am so excited to acquire the tools to produce the stories I want to tell, pay artists what they deserve, choose collaborators who align with similar values and ambitions as mine, and yes, empower the stories of people who look like me.
I have to admit, I’ve always dreamed of being featured in these publications :)
I posted this on my Facebook timeline on Sunday, May 22 (PH Standard Time), and I thought it deserved a place in my blog, so here goes:
When I flew back home in mid-2021, I found out that my household does not segregate. Well, there was a bin for biodegradable waste, and then another bin for everything else. No recycling bins for plastics, glass, cardboard/paper or whatsoever. A few weeks later, thanks to some friends and online searching, I discovered a few local companies that recycle a number of things. These include plastics, Styrofoam, glass, cardboard, scratch paper, old linens, and more recently, tarpaulins. Since then, I’ve managed to get a few household members on board with regards to cleaning used plastics (from junk food, shampoo bottles, C2 bottles, you name it) and drying them prior to throwing them in a separate bin to be dropped off at a recycling station every 2 weeks. After roughly 6 months, I’ve transitioned my household to begin segregating cardboard boxes and paper. We’ve continued this practice to this day.
The recent results of this month’s national elections have left me feeling overwhelmed, scared, and dismayed, to say the least. I even remember telling myself that if Leni Robredo wins, I shall take a more active part in nation-building. That did not happen, but there is no turning back for me now. What other things can I do to help my country that would less likely lead me or any of my family members in jail? Well, luckily, there is an Angat Buhay NGO program in the works to be launched in July 1 – but what else can we do?
This is a long intro to say that if you want to help the country in any way, regardless of which camp you’re in, you can start recycling. In a March 2021 article at The World Bank, it says that the Philippines generates 2.7 million tons of plastic each year, and an estimated 20% ends up in our beautiful oceans. That is not good. In the 2022 presidential debates, I don’t think I heard of any platforms about increasing circularity, waste segregation and recycling initiatives. It probably wasn’t going to be any candidate’s priority anyway, so for those who have the resources to do something, well, then, do something.
Here are some local companies that you can follow to get you started on your recycling and low-waste journey:
It’s not a good habit to live life as if someone will always be there to pick up after your trash and your mess. If we want to fight for a clean government, we can begin with our own household.
“There is no such thing as ‘away.’ When we throw anything away, it must go somewhere.”
– Annie Leonard
*Update: Here's an article from Spot.ph: "Best Places Where You Can Drop Off Your Plastic Waste" as another helpful resource.
Here we go, life.
I had been looking to expand my cooking repertoire for some time now and wasn't sure where to look. Fortunately, I came across a book title while listening to a podcast while in San Diego this summer. The book is called, "Midnight Chicken" by Ella Risbridger. The speakers in the podcast gushed about the beauty of the prose of the author. This was no ordinary recipe book, but a book to fall back in love with life and the world.
This - this collection of recipes - is the story of how I learned to manage again: a kind of guidebook for falling back in love with the world, a how-to of weathering storms and finding your pattern and living, really living."
More accurately, the Tall Man taught me to cook, or more accurately still, he taught me that cooking was something I wanted to do. He taught me to enjoy cooking, to delight in cooking, to use cooking as a kind of framework of joy on which you could hang your day. A breakfast worth getting out of bed for. Second breakfast. Elevenses. Lunch. Afternoon tea. Dinner as glorious reward for a day done well, or consolation for a day gone badly, or just a plain old celebration of still being there, of having survived another one. Supper. A midnight feast.
"I love to cook because it's all about intuition and invention, about looking deep into the stew and trying to predict what it might want and need."
I read from the book every night before I go to bed and it calms me down. In a way, the book provides a map to a life I want: rich, warm, hopefully with some magical company. When I am having a dull or a rough day, cooking dinner grounds, re-centers and comforts me (the cat helps, too). I am hoping that this book will give me a set of clues as to how to continue to rebuild my life, according to my terms, moving forward.
"There is a moral here, maybe: there will always be a time when you want more than toast; there will always come a time when you remember that life had something else in it besides crying. Woman cannot live by toast alone - and although it might feel, at some points in your life, as though the effort to make anything else might kill you, that will not last. There will be another feeling. You will wake up one morning and remember other things: the ripe sharp-sweet burst of a good tomato; the kick of a chilli; the salty, meaty bite of an anchovy. Nutrients. Vitamins. Colours."
I apologize for not having updated my blog in so long. So much life has happened while I was in San Diego and I had to prioritize a number of things over my blog. I've been back in New York City for almost two weeks now and have been pleasantly surprised by the number of auditions I’ve had as well as how productive I've been in attending to important life stuff.
San Diego, CA
My last update about The Underpants was about opening night! So much has happened since then. My stay in San Diego has given me a lot of space to deeply reflect about what has happened to my life so far, what I have learned, as well as what I want more out of life. As some of you may know, The Underpants was my first professional acting job after graduating from The Juilliard School this May. The Underpants was a moment of great transition. I am grateful that it accompanied deep healing and most of the time, magical moments between nature and between people.
I am going to share with you some production photos, as well as some of my adventures in San Diego, California!
Photos by Jim Cox
Scene Design by John Lee Beatty
Costume Design by Alejo Vietti
Lighting Design by Philip S. Rosenberg
The Underpants was directed by Walter Bobbie
SAN DIEGO ADVENTURES
New York City
I am happy to report that I've not been as lonely from missing San Diego and The Underpants as I had anticipated. I've been extremely productive: going straight to a part-time job (a life-saver), getting vaccinated (HPV Vaccine!), enrolling in a health insurance plan (thank you, Actor's Fund), going into four auditions (hell yeah), seeing Felix Starro at Theater Row (an important event for Filipino Americans), deep-cleaning our bathroom (very proud of it), among other things.
I am contemplating on the idea of "thriving" and how I would like to integrate more ease into the way I move through the world. "Survival mode" as a way of being had been deeply ingrained into my psyche as a result of where I came from and what I needed to do in order to get to where I am today. Part of how this emerged into my awareness is how I've noticed that I am finally surrounded by a close-knit group of people whom I feel safe with. Within this close and intimate community, I feel a part of my soul thriving. In my conversations with some people in San Diego, I have felt deeply seen, heard and appreciated for who I am. I was once reminded of the healing power of another person's attention, compassion and generosity. I took the love I received and brought it with me back to New York. I hope to keep that love alive in the face of the uncertainty of the path I've chosen.
"The soul selects her own society."
- Emily Dickinson
While it is true that I had been very busy these past few weeks (but not as crazy rigorous busy as when I was still at Juilliard) - I did have a pocket of time to explore a few magical places in San Diego. I didn't take many pictures because sometimes I think that the act of documenting an experience can take away from the actual experience. I did manage to get some videos, but I don't know how to post them here! These 'magical' experiences involved a cliff overlooking the sea, three pelicans, a sunset, a rainbow (while the sun was setting!), several scoops of gelato and sea lions.
Tech and Previews: The Underpants
One of the things that made me truly want to do this project was the potential artistic growth that I can derive from exploring and playing Louise Maske in this play. I was drawn to her journey of her coming into her own as a woman which was triggered by a wardrobe malfunction. New characters come into her life as a result of this wardrobe malfunction and she gets to have new experiences because of these people. In contrast to Mother Courage, who makes things happen in order to survive - life happens to Louise Maske (although I am still doing a ton in this play). I was interested in a journey of listening, allowing and responding - something that was different from many characters I have played in the past, and very different from how I am used to operate in the world as myself. I was also very excited about playing a woman who discovers that she is a sexual being - an aspect of the human experience that wasn't as present in the roles offered to me within the last five years.
There are some excellent articles that came out in the past week relating to The Underpants. Here are links to some of them:
1) Manila's Regina De Vera 'loses' underpants in Steve Martin farce, Inquirer.net
2) Revival of comedy 'The Underpants' brings Steve Martin's comic voice back to the Old Globe, San Diego Union-Tribune
Previews and Opening!
We've finally opened the play after four previews and it feels like a somewhat "magical" time - despite the occasional feelings of self-doubt. I'm going to ride this wave and see where it takes me.
I am a Filipino actress alternating between New York and Manila. I received my acting training at The Juilliard School. Take a look around!