BEEN CAUGHT UP
I'm sorry I hadn't posted in more than a month! I had been caught up with several "life" stuff, which included renewing my passport at the Philippine Embassy, chasing after my ex-landlord for my old apartment's security deposit (a pain in the ass but I got my money back), finishing up the last stretch of my internship, and preparing for fourth year.
Smokey Joe's Cafe
There were some good things that happened and are happening. One of them was getting to watch Smokey Joe's Cafe on Broadway last August 11. Very few people know how in love I was with the original cast of Smokey Joe's Cafe when I was in high school. I consider Smokey Joe's Cafe in the same league as Singin' In the Rain and West Side Story in terms of inspiring me to pursue a life in the theatre. My godmother gave me a DVD of Smokey Joe's Cafe in high school and I would watch it every day on the floor in a split position while taking notes on how to perform because I wanted to be flexible and a great dancer like the performers.
When Juilliard announced a ticket offer for the revival production of Smokey Joe's Cafe, I ordered two tickets so that my uncle can join me. It's better to share my joy with other people rather than go through this experience on my own. An especially poignant moment for me was when the cast sang "Stand By Me" during the finale, and I felt like crying. It has been a long journey for me. Starting as a young starry-eyed teenager and to come to see the show live as I enter into my fourth year of training at Juilliard Drama at 29 years old made me think that all the failures, the shortcomings, the sacrifices and the work has been worth it after all. If something like this can come full circle, then there must be some deeper meaning and purpose to my journey.
I normally do not stay after New York City shows to have pictures taken with performers. But this was special, so I bought myself a poster and had a picture taken with two of the performers who stayed after the show:
Internship with Jerome Butler (Jobu Productions)
One of the things that have kept me busy this summer, apart from moving into a new apartment and summer work-study, is an internship with one of my dialect coaches, Mr. Jerome Butler. Early this year, I was thinking a lot about arranging special dialect sessions to refine a general American dialect as part of my skill set so I can play a wider range of characters (i.e. Asian Americans born and raised in the United States as well as new immigrants). I figured this will be a basic, practical and highly important skill set that I need to acquire if I want to work in the United States at the completion of my training.
I am very grateful that this internship has worked out. I think I might have been the first Juilliard actress to intern for Mr. Jerome Butler, and I have submitted a grant proposal to the Juilliard Office of Career Services specifically for this endeavour. Jerome Butler is a great boss and a highly conscientious and culturally sensitive dialect coach. My perception of dialect work, the different ways in which people from various cultures speak, has broadened to a great extent not only because of our exercises, but also because of our in-depth conversations about language and humanity in general. What was also personally empowering about this experience, was the way in which Jerome has welcomed my voice and opinions in the room that made me feel that my voice was valuable. It also helped that since I was the only Juilliard person in the room, I didn't have to fight or compete with anyone to put my voice on the table since I had no competitors. The new-found sense of worth I have acquired by working with Jerome has proven valuable when I had to face my colleagues in the rehearsal room once again.
CRAZY RICH ASIANS
Okay, I have to talk about "Crazy Rich Asians." No matter what you think about the movie, I think that this movie is good for the Asian American community. It reveals a different side of us apart from what is usually presented in Hollywood films. There are no Asians doing Kung Fu or martial arts in the movie or being made fun of by non-Asians. Instead, we have a diversity of actors and actresses of Asian descent who fall in love, get heart-broken, are torn by family ties, reunite with old friendships, etc. In short, we see people who look like us in human experiences represented onscreen that were once only available to white people. Also, as an artist who has come from a country with a history of colonization, it mattered to me that people from other cultures can see images of Asians in high status positions, without anyone making fun of our accents.
Whatever you think about this movie, it will open doors for more stories with Asian characters represented onscreen.
Plus, I'm afraid Henry Golding has ruined all men for me. Ahem, ahem, he's married.
FOURTH YEAR! Playwrights' Festival
On a personal note:
I am grateful for all the shit I've pulled together this summer with the help of other people and the universe. New apartment, the internship, head shots, passport renewal, life stuff, etc. I remember how scared I was during my first summer in New York City back in 2016. I was scared of living with strangers, scared that I didn't know how to cook, scared to live outside the comfort zone of the Juilliard Residence Hall, there was so much I didn't know. I remember feeling a vast void upon returning to New York City from visiting the Philippines in 2016. Slowly, I have developed a few healthy relationships outside of Juilliard and have been more adept in living in New York City (I am also a great cook and make epic meal plans). This year, 2018, I managed to pull out of a terribly unhealthy old apartment and living situation, move into a larger, less expensive, and healthier living situation and work in a setting outside of Juilliard through the generosity of Mr. Jerome Butler. I'm making progress.
Also, I am very grateful for my casting this year and I will announce my roles as the productions approach. In the mean time, here is my performance schedule:
By Josefino Chino Toledo
Text from Joi Barrios-LeBlanc’s “Sumpa ng Kawayan” (The Bamboo Curse)
Conducted by Joel Sachs
Performed by Regina De Vera (Narrator) and the New Juilliard Ensemble
October 2, 2018
Peter Jay Sharp Theater
INTO THE WOODS
Music and Lyrics by Stephen Sondheim
Book by James Lapine
Directed by Sarna Lapine
December 6, 2018 at 7:30pm
December 7, 2018 at 7:30pm
December 8, 2018 at 2pm and 8pm
December 9, 2018 at 7pm
Stephanie P. McClelland Drama Theater
By Bertolt Brecht
Directed by Moni Yakim
February 17, 2019 at 7:00pm
February 20, 2019 at 2:00pm
February 23, 2019 at 8:00pm
February 24, 2019 at 2:00pm
Stephanie P. McClelland Drama Theater
“While Juilliard Drama Division performances are not open for review, we invite members of the press to enjoy these productions featuring the next generation of actors.
Extremely limited tickets for $20 will be available beginning September 20 at juilliard.edu/calendaror at the Juilliard Box Office. Full-time students may purchase tickets for $10, only at the Juilliard Box Office. Tickets may get released closer to the date of the performances, so please check back.”
Juilliard Drama 2018-19 Season Press Release:
I am a Graduate Drama student at The Juilliard School from Quezon City, Philippines.