The school embarked on its nth school play. This year, they decided to do the stage play Grease. I watched the gala performance last night with my friends and it turned out that it was also alumni night where most of the main characters were previous stars of the plays we have done in the past. Seeing them perform last night brought back a lot of memories! I used to do the stage before.
My first assignment was way back in 1985 when we did the King and I. I designed the stage and the school contracted someone else to execute it. It was directed by Mr. Tony Espejo and it was the first time that I have worked with a professional director. If I remember correctly, the following year, we sought the help of the Repertory Philippines and staged South Pacific. This time it was the other way around. Someone designed the stage and I executed it! We also did Carousel, Annie and the Sound of music.
The stage is not really new to me as I used to be in school plays when I was in the elementary grades at La Consolacion School in Caloocan City several eons ago. I used to perform. However, it stopped when I got to high school. My priorities changed.
The stage is a wonderful place to work in. The fun part is in the rehearsals. We would stay at the theatre until the wee hours of the morning rehearsing. We would tremble and sink our heads everytime the director was not pleased and cursed! I remember how the kids would turn yellow when Tony Espejo, the late Bibot Amador or Baby Barredo shouted unmentionables. But that was part of the discipline. This was the time when I was no longer onstage and just watching, waiting for them to finish so that I could continue my work, adding on or taking out from the design as needed. It always had to be perfect as on stage, each performance will practically be the last! No more repetitions. Once you've committed a mistake, that's it! You cannot say sorry to the audience and ask them to forget about it as you go back to where you have left off. Discipline and perfection! That's what you aim for.
Last night's performance may not have been that perfect as the singers sometimes would turn flat on a few bars but the dancing and the overall mood was almost perfect! I am particularly proud of my co-teachers who joined the production. They did well. Kudos to the performers and looking forward to next year's production!