Wednesday, April 23, 2003

Memory Lane: Theater

Since I graduated over a decade ago (almost 13 years to be more exact), the passion to create stories never really struck me. (Though there was that short stint on a four-issue comics thing in 1993-1994 that had a good start but spiralled down into that nostalgia void.) Instead, my interest reared its head towards acting for the stage. I had performed in a number of plays for La Salle's Harlequin Theater Guild in 1993. If I may list them down: Agatha Christie's Towards Zero, Susan Glaspell's Trifles, Wilfrido Ma. Guerrero's Forever, and Shirley Jackson's The Lottery. In 1994, I auditioned for a professional production -- Angels In America for Monique Wilson's New Voice Company -- and astonishingly bagged a part. The sleaziest one. My first intense kiss with a guy, and it had to be in front of hundreds of paying patrons.

Reviews were mostly bad, and I wasn't surprised. The role of Louis Ironson called for knowledge in and affinity to American political history which was waaaay beyond me. Was I hurt because of the reviews? Of course, but not overwhelmingly. It was my first professional production. I did my best, and that was enough.

In the New Voice Company workshops, I did two other plays: AR Gurney's The Dining Room and Anton Chekov's Three Sisters. Then there was that other musical variety production I Want To Make Magic (where I had to sing). The workshops gave me the opportunity to hone my acting skills and maintain confidence on stage. Those years were some of the most creatively inspiring ones I've ever had. Until now, I miss them.

After my stint at New Voice, I did two 'indie' plays, what you might call off off off off off really off Broadway types. One was an AIDS play called Waiting For Homo, the script of which was extracted from the Net (Again, I had to kiss a guy there.). The other was Chekov's The Boor where I played alongside Jackie Castillejo (a fantastic actress). Since that last play in 2000, I haven't set foot on the theater stage. I would have given it another go, but most of the shows being produced now are musicals.

My stint in theater helped me become more acquainted with the structure of scripts and the inner workings of human motivation, and this experience I carried over to making comics. The pages stand in for the stage and characters are the actors, while I pull the puppet strings as the omnipotent omnipresent god. Mwahahahah *sigh* I'm thinking of going back to reading theater scripts to add to my creativity reservoir. Whatever works.

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