We're nearing the end of October and we're all busy preparing for Pericles this coming October 28 and 29. While we've still kept up with our classes and rehearsals, we were also able to see a lot of shows the past few days.
1. A View From The Bridge (October 20)
Juilliard Drama got us tickets to see Arthur Miller's "A View from the Bridge" at the Lyceum Theatre
2. Juilliard Drama Showings
Second Years: Balm in Gilead by Lanford Wilson
Third Years: Snore by Max Posner and Thinner Than Water by Melissa Ross
Fourth Year: Seven Guitars by August Wilson
It is such a treat being able to witness the work of actors who have been in the program longer than I have. It gives me something to aspire to and work towards.
3. Herald Square
I went to Herald Square on 34th Street this Sunday (October 25) because I wanted to know what the fuss was all about. Turns out Herald Square is this huge shopping district in New York City and home to one of the largest department stores in the world, Macy's. I went around to scout for warm clothes and scan for prices before buying anything for the winter season. Ended up buying 2 pairs of HeatTech socks from Uniqlo.
After hours of walking, I suddenly felt a kind of disconnectedness. I longed to go back to Juilliard. I longed to go back to the place that housed a community which was life-giving. It's interesting to me that I decided to go out and explore to "get out of the School" for a change and just after a few hours away I wanted to hurry back to the School. There is something about being surrounded by clothes and shops and all these people trying to buy stuff that made me feel so alone. Ta-Nehisi Coates says it more articulately in "Between the World and Me":
"for the first time I was an alien, I was a sailor - landless and disconnected. And I was sorry that I had never felt this particular loneliness before"
When I got back to the Residence Hall I took a 30-minute nap and got dinner at the Juilliard Cafeteria. I was eventually joined by two Group 48-ers which made me feel a lot better again. I do not have answers for loneliness, but I have discovered that crowded malls or shopping centres have a way of sucking out my life-force and that I should be more conscientious about actively seeking out what magnifies my spirit vs what sucks it out of me.
1. MOMA field trip last Monday October 5
Group 48 and Rene Houtrides (our teacher in Point-of-View class) walked to MoMa (Museum of Modern Art) along 53rd Street Fifth Avenue last Monday to check out the exhibit on Picasso's sculptures. It was challenging to appreciate an art form or medium which I was not familiar with but I tried really hard.
2. Standing up for an hour and fifteen minutes in Movement class last Tuesday, October 6
We did an exercise in Mark Olsen's movement class in which we had to stand up from a lying position in a slow continuous motion for an hour and fifteen minutes. This exercise, if I'm not mistaken, is a derivation of a Japanese Butoh exercise. From a lying position, we slowly moved a finger, then a hand, and then an arm - whichever suited us - as long as we did it in a slow and continuous motion until we made it into a standing position within the duration of one hour and fifteen minutes. There was a point in which I wanted to scream because I was in such an awkward position. And yet the only way for me to get through it (within the principles of the exercise) was to trudge on ever so slowly. It taught me, in the end, that pain is just pain and I can get through it, however excruciatingly.
4. Chill Weekend
I was craving for a time to breathe since I mostly spent the entire week running around from class to class or errand to errand. I did not go to anything "new" except hear mass in a Church nearer the school. St. Paul the Apostle Church is on 60th Street and interestingly has contemporary art displayed in it alongside religious figures.
Also, there was a "tiangge" of sorts within Lincoln Center last Sunday. The selections were not within bargain prices at all but it was fun to look at them.
We just finished three weeks of table-work for our First Year Discovery Project: Pericles by William Shakespeare. Roles were given out and we're all deep into rehearsals and memorizing. Showings will be in the last few days of October!
1. Laura Linney
Laura Linney went to Juilliard last Tuesday (September 29) afternoon during the Community Meeting of all Drama Students. She shared her experiences as a Drama Student in Juilliard (Group 19) and as a working actress. We were all enthralled by her and I was amazed at how someone of her stature can feel so human and yet someone to aspire to at the same time. In the past, when I met someone relatively "famous," I I found it difficult to "access" that person. It was as if there was a wall which divided me and that someone who was more "well-known." Coming across Laura Linney was the first time in which I felt that someone of her "size" can be accessible with such ease. It was as if she has always been one of us. What a great kind of human being to aspire to.
2. Taught "Bahay Kubo" to Group 48
A couple of weeks ago Richard Feldman (Associate Director, Drama Division) asked me if there was any Tagalog song that I would like to teach to the class. After a few days I got a sheet music of "Bahay Kubo" online and went over it with Henry Jenkinson (Group 48) who had a music degree in Cambridge to see if it was feasible and simple enough to teach to people who had no background in Tagalog whatsoever. So last Thursday we eventually did! I was a bit nervous about it but Group 48 is such a special and generous set of human beings that they did learn it quickly and quite decently! I do not have a recording of us singing it (electronic devices are not allowed in classrooms) but you wouldn't think that a bunch of people from all over the world were singing it if not for a few pronunciations.
3. LOEWS Lincoln Square 13: "99 Homes"
I won a free movie ticket during Orientation and decided to use it to cut myself some slack and watch a movie last Saturday night. I wanted to see "The Intern" but it got sold out on the time schedule I wanted so I chose to watch "99 Homes" instead. I had no idea what the story was about or who was in it but I was eventually blown away by Andrew Garfield's performance as a man torn between his drive to feed his family and to be able to live with himself in a profession that drives families out of their homes in a system that propagates greed and corruption.
4. Central Park Zoo
On Sunday, (October 4) I went over to the Central Park Zoo after cleaning three bathrooms in my suite (yup). This was for a homework in acting class. It was a pretty small zoo which had penguins in it! It's hard to believe that there would be penguins in a zoo within New York City. I also saw a squirrel for the first time too, and it wasn't even part of the attractions. I entered through the zoo entrance, and there it came squirming across the pathway in front of me with its tail like a large broom.
Since it took me not too long to walk through the entire zoo, I had time to sit and enjoy the view. The weather was beautiful in the sense that it was sunny but with the wind of fall in it. My favorite part of Sunday was sitting on a bench and taking in the view of Central Park with the cool breeze and the sounds of water gushing through stones and the random chirping of animals.
So we did survive the third week quite decently and we're on to our fourth week. By then, we would have been in classes for an entire month! What a feat it is to realize that I have been living in New York City for over a month now, and I'm doing quite well in terms of adjusting.
After this week expect my blog posts to come more randomly instead of the neat weekly posts. School work is beginning to pile up as we delve deeper into our training.
First Day of Autumn: September 21, 2015. It is starting to get chilly and I began wearing thicker sweaters to class.
1. New Juilliard Ensemble
Last Monday, September 21 we got a chance to observe founding director and conductor Joel Sachs in rehearsals with the New Juilliard Ensemble. The rehearsals was for a performance that they gave last Saturday (September 26) which we also got free admission for.
For Kate Wilson's Voice class we were assigned to bring our "Anthem Song." I picked "Kailan" by The Eraserheads. This made me nervous as I was aware that I was bringing in a song that was in a foreign language and would risk its not being "understood." Also, I love this particular song for personal reasons, and to reveal myself by sharing a song that I love which meant so many things to me at the same time was quite a step.
It was interesting to observe how my colleagues responded to the song even though they could not understand the words. Some were truly surprised that such music existed in mainstream Filipino culture. They seemed to enjoy the twist in the end, though.
I surprised myself, too. Despite the uncertainty and hesitation that I had with me prior to playing the song, there was no question on how I truly still enjoyed listening to it even though I was the only person in the room who understood the words. And I love the beautiful people who allowed me to indulge.
3. Metropolitan Museum of Art
On my free day this week I decided to visit the Metropolitan Museum of Art (E 82nd Street, Fifth Avenue) for the first time. It's huge! I was there between 3:00 - 5:30PM this Sunday.
4. Random: Morton Williams Supermarket
While I was walking to St. Malachy's at 49th street last Saturday, I came across this Supermarket called Morton Williams (59th Street, 9th Avenue) which was open for 24 hours. I bought a set of 12 cupcakes for $3.99!
We are on to our third week and this is the week that a lot of people have made us particularly aware of. It is said that the third week is the week when the intensive schedule begins to creep into the stamina of the first years. Once that week is done, first years would normally regain a newfound strength and finally get into the swing of things.
We are going to take this week one step at a time.
We'll see you on the other side :)
I am a Graduate Drama student at The Juilliard School from Quezon City, Philippines.