This will be quick:
I've officially announced on my Facebook and Website that I am doing a play at The Old Globe this summer! I flew in from New York to San Diego on June 30 and started rehearsals for The Underpants on July 1st.
Believe it or not we are already off-book and have already staged the first draft of the show as I type. We are moving really fast and there is a certain level of preparation I need to bring in to rehearsals to keep up with the pace. Hence, I am very busy and won't be able to indulge in the nitty-gritty of what has been happening to me so far.
The thing to know is that I am really, really happy to be here in San Diego and I love the role I'm playing (Louise Maske - lead) and I thoroughly enjoy living through her journey in the play each rehearsal day. I'm also working with a great cast - which is one of the best things about this experience so far. Also, San Diego is such a great place to be in during the summer. It's always sunny but then there's a breeze so it's not too hot - perfect for strolling!
Alright, I need to review my lines and my blocking now. I'm really proud of the work we're doing in the play and I hope that a lot of Filipinos can see it!
This might be what retirement looks like...
I've been on a staycation since the beginning of June because my OPT/EAD Work Card was only approved on Friday, June 14 and I can't do any kind of work in the US without it. In a way, despite all the anxiety it caused, it did allow the space for me to rest. I had some money saved up. Knowing myself, if the approval notice and the physical work card came sooner, I would've started to work right away. I do truly, deeply, need a break and I'm glad I've taken advantage of it.
The Optional Practical Training (OPT) Program Approval delays are real:
Read: "Visa Delays at Backlogged Immigration Service Strand International Students" - The New York Times.
This phenomenon has affected me and my other colleagues who were on similar VISA statuses. On the one hand, I was comforted at the fact that I wasn't alone. The constant refreshing of my Case Status online to see if anything has changed, the calls back and forth between my prospective employer and the Juilliard Office of International Advisement, checking in on other colleagues to see if they had heard anything from their end. Realising that this was a phenomenon across many educational institutions in the US this year, not just Juilliard, and not just me - validated my concerns. Apparently, I wasn't just some crazy paranoid person waiting for my work card to arrive.
On the other hand, I am furious. It astounds me that a group of people who had this much power to affect the lives of thousands of people can take their jobs this lightly. Don't they understand that their processing times affect the financial positions of graduating international students who rely on jobs and internships right after graduation to pay rent, buy food, and basically, live? Many graduating international students from different schools have either lost their jobs or their apartments because they couldn't do any kind of work in the US without their OPT/EAD work card.
In other matters:
Read: This is a comforting interview with Claire Foy about dealing with her anxiety.
Claire Foy, "My anxiety was a tool to survive."
I could definitely relate to this deep-seated anxiety. The inward spirals of "What if's" (What if things go wrong, what if my OPT card doesn't arrive in time, etc.), the constant monitoring of my body for bites or rashes (New York City can be a filthy place to live - I'm sorry to say), the constant monitoring of my apartment for weird insects, the frenzied attempts to keep things together - have all been survival tools to compensate for my feelings of fragility and at times, isolation. These are probably after-effects from a traumatic time when I felt that many things were falling apart all at once and I have felt deeply and miserably, alone.
I have been in therapy for the past four years and this has helped a lot. I've also let go of many toxic relationships and leaned towards healthier ones. I'm at a point in my life wherein I can feel a growing desire towards LIBERATION, to unburden myself from old stories, old narratives, and make space for new things.
And then, indeed, to new things:
The terrific news is, my OPT/EAD work card finally did come through this week and so I'm off to do a play somewhere out of town beginning July 1st. I am not yet allowed to make any online announcements, but I'll be sure to let you all know once I get the go signal!
MFA Training COMPLETED
Can you believe it? I graduated from Juilliard. I can't even believe I can put those words together. I. GRADUATED. FROM. JUILLIARD. I mean, a little over five years ago those words did not even cross my mind. It feels unreal and yet, it is.
I wrote something the morning after the commencement. I meant to post it on my blog but after reading it I realised that I'm not ready to post it.
So this is going to be a lot shorter than what I initially meant it to be. I'll simply post more pictures instead.
All photos by Melissa Crucillo
There are a couple of logistical things that I've been waiting on for a couple of weeks now. While it is true that it is giving me anxiety, it is also giving me permission to take a vacation. It's been so great to be out of school after four years. I've been taking care of my mind, body and spirit and allowing myself to do things that bring me joy, pleasure and tranquility. Finally I have time to listen to podcasts, read books, go thrift store shopping, visit The Met again, or stare into space with my roommate's cat.
Here are some (new) places I've been and stuff I've been listening to or reading. I put an asterisk on my favourites!
Also, I highly recommend Kelly Diel's article, "The Wealthy Feminist." I've been curious to reinvestigate my relationship with money and to heal the guilt of having money (I got a fellowship) when I've been conditioned to believe in the idea of the "struggling artist," or the belief that "I am an actor and therefore I should suffer." As I move towards expansion, I would also like to grow financially and to finally be able to support myself and account for my own needs and expenses.
It's going to be interesting to see how this blog evolves within the coming weeks. I started this blog for the donors of the #GoFundRegina campaign to honor my promise of completing this journey. Now that I've completed it, I'm not quite sure what this blog would be for. I don't know if I'm going to continue writing, or if I'm going to shift the framework of the content. Regardless, I would like to write more and I am hoping that I will be able to share some pretty meaningful content in the coming weeks.
Los Angeles Actor Presentations
I was in Los Angeles for the first time between April 20-May 1 for the annual Actor Presentations featuring the graduating students of Juilliard (Group 48). I didn't know what to expect from this trip, to be honest. I unfortunately had to spend what I saved up for on something apartment-related, so my budget for this trip wittled-down. I also wanted to manage my expectations regarding industry-response (don't worry, it's all turning out okay).
Fortunately, I was surprised to be welcomed by a supportive community of Filipinos who have been residing in LA for several years. Some of them treated me out to lunch/dinner, some of them cooked for me, another treated me to see The Avengers: End Game, some took me out disco-dancing (who me??). Even though I was on a very tight budget, I still got to enjoy LA more than I was anticipating thanks to these people.
So glad to take a break
This "liminal space" in between LA showcase and graduation is so great. I'm on a self-declared vacation for now. In my first few days back in New York, my roommate was out of town so I had the apartment all to myself. I bummed around for a while, binge-watching GLOW on Netflix, cooking, etc. I did get to wash all my sheets and pillows so I was also productive.
Finally have a closet
I finally have a closet in my room! It took me and my cousin around 6 hours to assemble it but we did it! Here's a before and after look:
My roommate is foster-caring a 7-week old kitten named, "Pickles." I have a new playmate for now and she actually likes humans!
Lucy and Maeby both like to sneak in my room when I accidentally leave it open and I discover them either on my bed or hiding under my bed. So I have to make sure I leave my door closed at all times.
Last April 6-8 we had our final Actor Presentations in New York City (aka "Showcase") mainly for potential agents, managers, and casting directors. We also had special open dress rehearsals for the Juilliard Drama Community as well as for friends and family. It's an exciting time and I hope that in these shows I have planted seeds for future projects and prolific relationships.
I'm leaving for Los Angeles next Saturday, April 20 for our Actor Presentations LA show. I'm staying with a Filipino friend of a friend. If you're a Filipino in LA do say hello!
I get excited whenever I see my picture and blog post featured on the Juilliard Instagram page. My blog about my rehearsal process in Mother Courage and Her Children is available here.
I am an actress currently based in New York City. I received my acting training at The Juilliard School. Take a look around!