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
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.
I am a Graduate Drama student at The Juilliard School from Quezon City, Philippines.