New Jersey: "I deserve this. I deserve this."
Sometimes I feel that all the good fortune that's finally been available to me upon coming to Juilliard is a reward for getting through all that shit in my previous "life." I'm not really sure how life works. But then again, what's the use of making that entire journey only to live the same way? I'm here to build a new story for myself. And that rebuilding requires change, change, change.
Giving Self Permission
I didn't bring any school-related notebooks or books with me to New Jersey. I promised myself I wouldn't do any kind of "work" for a whole week while I'm in New Jersey for Christmas. As a gift and an act of love for myself, I decided I will leave myself alone for a week and give myself permission to "not do" anything. Or rather, give myself permission to do things that I normally wouldn't allow myself to do during the school year. These include: waking up any time I wanted to (no alarms), or sleeping any time I wanted (afternoon naps are the best), eating sweets when I want to (there is always an abundance of food in Tita Lea's house), drinking coffee, eating a croissant or a bowl of cereals at night (the Jhocson family has a wonderful habit of midnight eating) while watching bad-TV with the folks, or chatting about life, love, and career with my cousin until 4:30 in the morning. All this time telling myself: I deserve this, I deserve this.
Wrapping up the First Semester of Second Year!
I have turned into a working bee this first semester of second year. What I mean by that is that I used this first semester to work almost ceaselessly on specific areas in the training I targeted: Standard American Speech and the Alexander Technique. Scene study and singing come close. Second year to me is about identifying personal habits (in the craft) and equipping myself with new ones that are more useful in the long term. It was important to me that I had specific tools “in my body” so that they become second nature to me for deeper work.
In my quarterly reviews, some of my teachers have brought to my attention aspects of the process where I tend to “overwork.” I am going to use the winter break to mull over aspects of the process where I can get my hands off, where I can give myself credit for the work that I’ve already done, where I can allow the process to work on me rather than me “working it,” where I can empty myself so that I can “receive,” where I can allow primal aspects of myself to come out more fully.
On a personal level, I have identified internalized authority voices in my head which tend to “keep score” on certain aspects of my life (when I do laundry, groceries, how I cook my food, how and when I clean the bathroom, when do I allow myself to buy certain things that I like, etc.). Upon identifying them, I realized that most of the time they are no longer of service to me. Moving forward, I would like to give myself permission to “come out of hiding.” This can mean many things: articulating what’s in my head as soon as thoughts come rather than wait to be given permission to speak, giving myself permission to go to places that frighten and delight me at the same time, and trusting the strength and light that is already in me.
In the meantime, I cannot wait to crash into my aunt's house in New Jersey and do nothing!
Shakespeare Week: Julius Caesar
The past two weeks after the brief Thanksgiving break has been all about preparing for the "showings" of Hamlet and Julius Caesar. It has been both a challenging and rewarding time. What is especially unique about the Shakespeare slot is that because both casts of each production are so small, each person's storytelling responsibilities becomes more magnified, at least that is what I felt. Julius Caesar was the production in which I felt most part of the creative process compared to all the other Juilliard Drama Rehearsal Projects I've been in so far.
A lot of second year has been about going in deeper into the work that has begun in first year in a more specific way. I took this Shakespeare slot as an opportunity to delve in deeper into my practice of the Alexander Technique (both in rehearsals and in life beyond the school building) and the Standard American Dialect (or the practice of good speech in heightened text). Some of the key challenges in this slot was the balancing of technique and humanity in the storytelling. Most of the time I felt like a juggler with three or four balls up in the air at once (speech work, Alexander technique, intentions, circumstances, scene partners, etc.). I also came up against several of my habits (i.e. my Filipino dialect coming back with a vengeance when I am in a heightened state). There were a lot of frustrating moments as I oscillate between old habits in the process of reinforcing new ones, but this is all part of growth.
One of the gifts that revealed itself at the end of the process was that because our director, Jenny Lord, never "fixed" any specific blocking, I was forced to come to the playing area in front of an audience with an awareness of the possibility of change. My level of "awakeness" became heightened, as opposed to being locked into a certain choice or a certain way of going about things "show after show."
Juilliard Admissions Blogs
I am a Graduate Drama student at The Juilliard School from Quezon City, Philippines.