MOTHER COURAGE AND HER CHILDREN
So we finally wrapped up our production of Mother Courage and Her Children last February 24, 2019. I do admit that it's been a month since I have posted on my blog. However, I have been in extreme circumstances for the past month and I had to deal with multiple things all at once.
Sometime in the last week of December 2018, I felt a lump on my right breast. I had it checked at Juilliard's Office of Health Services in January 2019 and was recommended for an ultrasound. When I got to do an ultrasound (with a referral from Juilliard), they recommended that I do a "Guided Core Needle Biopsy." That really freaked me out especially since this was happening in the midst of rehearsals for Mother Courage and Her Children. I got a second opinion from a doctor at Weill Cornell Medical Center and in the end, the two women OB-GYN's that I consulted with recommended that I go forward with the biopsy. One of my closest friends accompanied me to the procedure on the week of the opening of Mother Courage. It was a successful procedure (no infections, etc.) and two days later I got the news that the results were "negative." So I'm okay!
On top of all that, the lease-owner of the apartment I was currently staying in got a letter from the building's management company saying that they will not be renewing her lease at the end of February - which is right around the time Mother Courage closes. I had to look for apartments with some potential roommates during the show-week of Mother Courage. We must have seen 23 apartments in a span of a week. It was exhausting. In the end, our main 2 apartment options didn't work out and I am now temporarily staying in my uncle's friend's spare room in the lower east side for a month until I figure out my housing situation.
MOTHER COURAGE AND HER CHILDREN
I did get to complete the whole run of Mother Courage on top of everything else that was happening in my life. It was a humbling lesson. I worked very hard at the summer of 2018 to plan and prepare for my fourth year life (housing, health check-ups, etc.) so that everything was set health and housing-wise (and then some) for my fourth year and life after Juilliard. How ironic it was that right when I am playing one of the most demanding roles of the Western canon, that all of these challenges will come to me all at the same time? It just goes to show that I can plan my life carefully to a T - and yet there will be things that I won't have any control of.
Many people who are very close to me might agree with me when I say that I can get quite intense. The thought, care and energy that I bring into my work and my process also applies to many areas in my life. When the universe does things like this that sort of jumbles everything, it can be very frustrating for me. I will protect and lay claim to what is important - I made sure that my work in Mother Courage took precedence. But when the universe continues to jumble things up after I have just carefully placed things in order, it can get me weary. Maybe I need to place a lighter hand on how I handle certain aspects of my life, knowing full well that nothing is forever.
There are indeed some exciting things that are cooking for me but it's too early to post about them. It is good to know that there are good things I can hold onto in the midst of some inconveniences.
Also, if you are a reader in New York City and know someone who has an available room in April do let me know!
Mother Courage and Her Children
Not all great experiences need to be joyful. I am deep into rehearsals for Mother Courage and Her Children and while it is indeed an incredible gift and opportunity to be playing the title role, I am doing so in the midst of a number of "adult life" challenges - which I don't need to elaborate on. Before I moved to New York City, I remember having a habit of posting "Life and Career Highlights" on my social media platforms - which is not really a bad thing in itself. However, I realized that it would neither serve me nor anyone to cultivate this idea that my life is perfect in every single way just because I get to go to Juilliard and live in New York City. I don't really want to contribute to the number of picture-perfect lives that I often see in social media and instead offer a more complex narrative.
It is indeed an incredible gift to play Mother Courage and I am bringing all that I've learned from the craft and from working in the theatre into my work in this story. It is my hope that this experience will further help me grow into the actress and artist that I've always known I was deep down for many years - the deep and large part of my Self that has long been seeking an outlet and expression. I sense Bertolt Brecht's Mother Courage and Her Children is a great medium for that. I am already sensing a largeness and a fullness coming out of me as a person by exploring this role. I am grateful to my teachers who have given me this opportunity and I hope that my life beyond Juilliard will be ripe with people who see beyond the stereotype that comes with how I look and see me for who I am as the person, artist and craftsman that I am.
What's to come
I know that I tend to get ahead of myself as I still have "Actor Presentations" for industry people this coming April but there are times when the uncertainty of life after Juilliard creeps in every now and then. This is the life that I chose and I know it would be best for me to learn to live with uncertainty and to make friends with it and also to trust it.
Random Self-Care victories
Happy New Year!
I didn't feel like getting into the "New Year round up" trend that most people seemed to have done on Facebook and Instagram. I opted to hibernate and disappear for a while, which felt really good. After a week of "rest" and not doing any work in New Jersey, I went back to New York City for the last half of my last winter break as a Juilliard Drama student and began focusing on Mother Courage and Her Children.
I don't have production pictures to show, because we're only on our second week of rehearsals. We started our official table work last Wednesday, January 9 and now we're up on our feet! I am pacing myself, because I would need all the stamina I can get to tell this story clearly and deeply.
I have nothing much to say except that I feel as if I am in a very good place - though imperfect. A lot of things are cooking, and what's to come seems brimming with possibility.
I did miss my family in the Philippines over the New Year's Holiday. They all went to Bataan together, and I was drooling over the pictures and Instagram stories as I was trying to get off-book.
MY CUP IS FULL
I've never felt overwhelmed with good things. This is all new to me. We wrapped up an incredible, incredible run of Into the Woods on Monday, December 10, followed by a reception for the First Drama Division Holiday Gathering. My godmother flew in from Manila to catch the last show, and there were also a number of Filipinos who came to see it.
I never mentioned that I played Little Red Riding Hood in any of my social media because I tend to get superstitious about these things. Now that it's over I can finally post pictures!
Costume Designs by Valérie Thérèse Bart
Also, my interview with Into the Woods director, Sarna Lapine, is also available at the Juilliard website. To read the article, click here.
The Annual Juilliard Drama Open-House
Last Friday, December 14, was the annual Juilliard Drama Open-house, in which Drama students can invite family and friends to observe classes. It's sort of a "day in the life of a Juilliard student" event. Since my godmother was visiting from Manila, I put her name on the list! This might be the only time that people can take pictures of classes for family and friends.
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
I am a Graduate Drama student at The Juilliard School from Quezon City, Philippines.