Into the Woods Tech Week
We started to tech Into the Woods last week and we've just begun our first two dress rehearsals. I am looking forward to the rest of the process. This has been such a meaningful journey and I am constantly reminded of how lucky I am to be cast in this production and to be able to get to work with the people who comprise Into the Woods.
I've had such a long journey with my singing voice and I feel as if there are things that are only (and finally) have begun to come together now. I am grateful to be in a space where I get to dig-in a musically challenging piece before I go back into the professional world. I love to sing and I hope that singing will integrate its way into my career in many creative ways.
I am so tempted to post pictures of my costume but I'll wait until we officially open before I do!
AGOS at the Juilliard Journal
My article about the world-premiere of Josefino Chino Toledo's Agos: For Narrator and Chamber Ensemble is now available online at the Juilliard website. Check it out!
Drama Meets New Music for Ecopolitics by Regina De Vera
We Finished Blocking Into the Woods!
This past week was a marker for our production because we finished blocking the entire show last Friday! We were able to run the whole of Act 2 last Friday and Saturday and we’re getting ready to review Act 1 on Monday. This has been an unexpectedly enjoyable and meaningful process and I’m quite sad that it will be ending in a matter of weeks. In the beginning, I was reluctant to have our rehearsals over at the Signature Theatre (42nd street) instead of at The Juilliard School because I wasn’t used to commuting to another venue in order to rehearse. The Juilliard building has been such a familiar space for me and my dressing room has turned into another home where I have mostly all the stuff that I need from my own dishwashing soap, to my toiletries, to my study materials that commuting to another venue, where I don’t have a space to stow away my belongings or where I have to bring most of my stuff as I commute, didn’t seem appealing to me. Commuting pains aside, I found it unexpectedly refreshing to be working at a different venue outside of the school. It feels as if I am a little different and my colleagues are a little different outside the Juilliard building and we get along pretty well!
Fourth year continues to be a meaningful phase of the training in the sense that it feels as if I am getting this one extra year to refine minute aspects of the skills I’ve painstakingly worked to get into my body for the past three years. Sarna Lapine (director) is a sensitive, firm, imaginative and grounded captain of the ship that is our production of Into the Woods. What I find most rewarding in this process so far is that I don’t feel so much that we’re doing a musical – even though the Sondheim piece is very challenging musically – but more so like a Shakespeare piece set in music. The fierce rigour that I’ve applied to text and scenes for the past three years is proving to be valuable in this process. The songs feel like scenes and my solo feels like a soliloquy – which is very rewarding for me as an actress.
Ever since I’ve moved into my first apartment I’ve begun to question what it means to live a life and what kind of day-to-day existence would be most rewarding for me. I’ve been observing other people in my life and in asking them about how they’ve spent their weekends or their rare and unexpected free evenings, I compare them to how I myself had spent them and end up questioning whether I’m living my life to the fullest. This might be something that I would continue to question over the next few years. I remember when the first rehearsal of Into the Woods was fast approaching, I began to get jealous of my other colleagues from Group 48 who were in other productions that were to open earlier in the season (i.e. Nora and Detroit ’67) because they were to close sooner and will have more extra time as the holidays approached while me and my other colleagues in Into the Woods would be working hard even during the Thanksgiving holidays. Even if that is still the case, I realized that working on Into the Woods was the happiest I’ve ever been so far this school year, no matter how rigorous. Working with people who are extremely talented, who work hard, who are generous and mindful of their colleagues on a project that has a lot of meaning, and which makes us grow as artists – that is part of a good life.
Busy, busy, busy
I'm gonna steal a technique of a friend of mine wherein he sets a timer for 10 minutes and writes. Here goes...
I promised to post some behind-the scenes pictures of Into the Woods. Here are some costume sketches and design inspirations from our costume designer, Valérie Thérèse Bart, below:
Watch out for it:
My article about Josefino Chino Toledo's Agos, came out at the November 2018 issue of The Juilliard Journal. Once it becomes available online, I'll share it on my blog. I've also interviewed director Sarna Lapine for an article I'm writing for Into the Woods. It will come out in December.
Into the Woods!
We start Into the Woods rehearsals tomorrow! This will be a short blog post because I'm very busy but I don't want three weeks to go without a post.
I've been learning my songs in small increments for the past few weeks and I'm happy that I was able to learn all my parts before our first rehearsal tomorrow. Well, I haven't memorized them all but I do know what's going on when I sing them!
I don't really have a lot of updates. I've been busy either looking for scenes for Actors' Presentations, learning scenes for on-camera and/or audition techniques classes and work-study. As the days go on and I get more Into the Woods updates, I'll post more.
"Agos, for narrator and chamber ensemble"
The world-premiere of Josefino Chino Toledo's Agos (Flow), concluded last Tuesday, October 2, 2018 and I was very happy with how the work turned out. I'm writing an article for the Juilliard Journal about the event so I won't say much here.
I do want to underscore the origins of Agos. It all began with typhoon Yolanda/Haiyan, which ravaged Tacloban, Philippines in 2013. Filipina writer Soleil David wrote an incredible article in her blog entitled, "Resilience is Dirty Word."
It’s a word that seems like a compliment, but it’s also a word that excuses the circumstances that led to resilience. It’s a word that does not assign accountability. You’re resilient, so nothing I hurl at you can break you. Never mind that the effects of climate change has such a devastating effect on a country whose carbon emissions are negligible, the people in that country are resilient, they’ll keep going. The truth is that the people in my country are resilient, because they have no choice but to be resilient.
Filipina poet Joi Barrios-Leblanc then wrote a poem inspired by the article called, "Sumpa ng Kawayan/The Bamboo Curse."
The Filipino version of the poem is where Josefino Chino Toledo built the narrator and chamber ensemble piece from. I served as the narrator. The New Juilliard Ensemble played the music. Joel Sachs conducted. I have a lot more to say about the process of putting the different elements of the work together, but I'll save that for when the November issue of the Juilliard Journal comes out. If you are curious about how the event played out, you can read a review of the concert here.
Ms. De Vera gave an equally emotional reading in Tagalog, so emotional that it resembled Schoenberg’s Survivor from Warsaw. Musically, Mr. Toledo varied each verse with consummate skill. Initially an orchestral rolling and roaring, then what sounded like a Luzon folk song, followed by more tumult and more folk material.
Into The Woods
We officially begin Into the Woods rehearsals on October 22. A number of us, me included, have begun to study the score. Our singing coaches, Deborah Lapidus and David Gaines, are giving us extra support in this process, which I am very grateful for. Again, I didn't have this much support and guidance in my singing when I was working in the Philippines. Then, it was something I had to seek out and pay for on my own in my limited free time. Now, I've got people who are going out of their own way and creating time for me (and the rest of the cast) to give extra support. It's so much easier and faster to grow this way than to be hustling and figuring it out on my own.
I am a Graduate Drama student at The Juilliard School from Quezon City, Philippines.