Palm Sunday with Puppets

There are stories that are too old and too familiar but need to be retold, replayed, and restaged.  The life and death of Jesus Christ is the story that we all know but there will always a creative way to narrate it . I just watched Papet Pasyon, a puppet play  depicting the life and crucifixion of Christ. This was staged at Teacher’s Village in Quezon City by Teatrong Mulat ng Pilipinas, the first in children’s theater and puppetry in the Philippines. Amelia Lapeña-Bonifacio, Mulat founder, wrote the Papet Pasyon in 1985. Teatro Mulat has been performing  Papet Pasyon for free every Palm Sunday of the year. They hope to bring Christ’s story closer to children through puppetry.

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sorry for the poor photo quality of my phone… but the puppets are 100x better than this photo

 

with , Dr. Amihan Bonifacio-Ramolete, Department Chair -UP Speech and Theatre Arts and Jesus Christ puppet

with , Dr. Amihan Bonifacio-Ramolete, Department Chair -UP Speech and Theatre Arts and Jesus Christ puppet

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Puppeteer of Maria/ Mary

puppet 3

Puppeteer of Judas

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64 Mapagkawanggawa St., Teachers Vill., 1101 Quezon City, Philippines

64 Mapagkawanggawa St., Teachers Village, 1101 Quezon City, Philippines

You can also find  a collection of puppets, dolls and toys Teatrong Mulat

 

 

 

 

 

No art, no he-art

“The arts are not just a nice thing to have or to do if there is free time or if one can afford it. Rather, paintings and poetry, music and fashion, design and dialogue, they all define who we are as a people and provide an account of our history for the next generation.”

-Michelle Obama

Sometimes people ask why you buy books,  handicrafts, materials for scrapbook and painting, watch a play, a concert.  I wonder why people have to look for special reasons. I do acknowledge that there are more important things in this world but I don’t think that it’s a waste of money nor waste of time  to be involved in these art forms. I think art is an investment. Most of the time, we think art in terms of its cultural value. But art has a personal value and has a long term-effect to an individual (whether you are a sender or receiver of art). In the same way how food nourishes our bodies, art nourishes our senses. I am not saying spend more on movies and concerts and spend less on food and clothing. I am not saying go and watch an indie film. I am not saying buy a book even if you’re broke or start collecting comics and paintings. Engage in an art that is accessible and palatable to you. It may be a visit to a museum, studying make-up or reading a graphic novel.

Art is not for the middle-class, for the élite or educated. Some people are willing to spend for liquor and buffet meal but find it expensive to buy a book. Some people buy the latest gadgets but question you why you buy a ticket for a live performance. It’s strange because these are equally unnecessary for survival yet we find a high calorie dinner and an extra cellphone more acceptably rewarding.

So why is it not a waste of money and time?

Art is an experience
Experience may seem ephemeral but experiences cannot be taken away or stolen. An experience is personal, priceless and unique. You cannot copy experiences and you cannot borrow senses. Hence, a friend who shares you how convincing the movie is, how amazing the concert is,  is different from a friend who shares another apple to you.  What you notice a lot in a live performance, or what you see in a mural is not always the same with others.

wicked stage

Wicked Stage

Art makes us human
We are way beyond our biological functions. We are the only creatures that can appreciate design, craft, and showmanship. We sense. We feel. We favor certain sounds and colors. We critique. I guess we should practice what is innately unique in human nature. Let’s find beauty in shapes and sizes, find satisfaction in sounds, sights arrangement, and rhythm. Everyone has an inner artist.

found this painting on SM North

found this painting on SM North

Art gives us another way of looking at things
An example of this would be a bed scene or an adult scene. These are scenes that some people are not comfortable to watch and talk about. You try to close your eyes watching a nude scene because you think you’re not supposed to see it. I just watched Cock of Redturnip Theater and the adult scenes were very intimate. What’s interesting is that the actors are fully clothed and barely too close to each other.

cock

Art mirrors feelings, aspirations, and reality
As the common definition of art in textbooks, “Art is an imitation of life.” A piece of art is one interpretation of real objects, people, life events. He might be a designer, playwright, poet, makeup artist or a graphic artist. Sometimes, I watch a film, I discover not only new ideas, but new feelings, new dreams or maybe they are just suppressed thoughts that are overshadowed by daily routine. When you listen to music, or read a short story, you think there is a medium that identifies your emotions or represents your thoughts.

Art when done with good taste, it adds depth to humanity
I don’t want to sound too serious nor do I want to sound like an activist but sometimes art gives inspiration. A novel can call for a revolution. Paintings teach history and religion. Spoken word poetry (I’m such a big fan) makes beautiful life stories.

Art is a product of hard work, great minds, and talent
This explains why a piece of art is pricey. Every product of art has to go through a creative process and every artist deserves a talent fee. By supporting what they do, you are continuing the  legacy of a special breed of human race who are passionate in what they do.

 

Because you deserve to be less miserable

Source: Imdb.com

I cannot not blog about Les Misérables because I waited for seven hours in the mall, just to watch the movie. It was one of the longest days of my life! Much has been said and I think I have no right to give a critique on a movie that is million times bigger than I am. But allow me to share my penny of thoughts on why people who are not fans of the musical should watch.

It’s classic

It is based on the novel of Victor Hugo which is oftentimes included in the list of books you must read before you die. The novel has made so much influence as it talks about justice, poverty, and sacrifice. This is one of the literary influences of Jose Rizal. Then later on, it had a musical theater adaptation. And when you talk about theater, it’s one of the first few plays that come into your mind.

They sing truthfully

The music itself is one of biggest reasons why I wanted to watch it and why other Filipinos want it too. I’ve been singing the song On my Own since high school but I just could not nail it. Songs from this musical have been popular choices for audition. For us, musical theater fans,we are curious on how these songs we have loved will be interpreted in cinema. Generally speaking, I like the actors realistic way of singing. In the film, they are not technical singers who have too much vibrato, too much inflections, too much clean and clear notes. That’s difference between singing on stage and singing for movies. If you’ve heard the songs, you will understand them more after watching the movie. Not only you will learn the story behind the songs but also the depth of the character’s emotions. You will know the pain of a prostitute and of a dying loved one. You will feel the passion of revolutionists.

Anne Hathaway is an A+++ actress.

Having a soundtrack of Les Misérables anniversary concert and listening to a lot of thespians, I guess we all have our own preference or what others call “standards.” But I must say Anne Hathaway’s rendition I Dreamed a Dream is one of the most truthful performances.You can almost cry with her. She only had short time in the movie but it was very memorable. She really deserves an acting award.

At times, it feels like watching MTV.

There are a lot of scenes that look like MTV. On my own scene reminded me of the ones I watched in MTV, like singing and crying in the rain. I compare those scenes to music videos because Tom Hooper loves close-up shots. It is as if the actor is singing to the camera. This kind of shot is an opportunity for actors to show their acting prowess. I know some viewers don’t like these close-up shots but it was a refreshing way of reiterating a very familiar story. That’s also a privilege for us audience to see closely the facial expressions of actors. You cannot have that on theater stage.

Drama sells

I personally love tragedies. As you know, I like to watch men in pain and hear stories about death. I think we can identify ourselves more in tragedies than sweet happy endings. There are a lot of dramatic scenes. They say,”the movie will make you cry.” I did cry a little during the last few moments of the movie and stopped myself for crying more because I did not want my friends to make fun of me.

It’s too much

The story will not be beautiful if the storyteller does not know how to deliver and we owe it to the the people who worked hard for the movie. It’s a 157-minute film. You get your money’s worth comparing on how much you spend for a Starbucks coffee that lasts for less than five minutes. There are too many characters that you will fall in love with. There are too many songs that you want to sing along with. There are too many stories inside a story. There are many themes that make all the scenes relevant.  If you really want to heavy acting, lots of singing, and endless tears, go watch it.

Oh, and a friendly reminder:

Photo from Dennis T. Sebastian

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Dreams Change

Your dreams change as you grow old.

You probably realize that when you are already done with college or have been working about two to three years like me.

I was reminded of my childhood dream when the buzz of Ms. Saigon audition was spreading all over the news and social media. God knows, I’ve been wanting to be in Ms. Saigon and be Ms. Saigon. After having performance-related subjects in college, theater workshops, meeting theater artists, auditions, and snippets of theater performance, my theater dream blossomed and blossomed until it shrank ironically. I got to know myself. I discovered my strengths and bitterly accepted my weaknesses.

I questioned if it was a dream worth fighting for. I can deliver a line, fill the stage with the decibel of my voice. But I don’t have outstanding looks that can compensate my mediocre talent. I can sing the right notes, but not stellar enough for a country that has a lot of singing talents planted everywhere like coconut trees. And as I met a lot of people who were also into musical theater, I found out that there were a lot of girls who sounded like Lea Salonga. They didn’t intentionally imitate Lea but her voice and her songs had become the template, the way Whitney became the standard for pop singers. And did I mention to you that I have two left feet? I have poor body coordination. I’m not a dancer. Not only that, there are so many things in theater that I don’t think I can handle such as the pressure on stage, the number of  thank-you auditions,  to open yourself more to rejection, correction, intimidating personalities. Sometimes, it’s only beautiful when it’s a dream. Sometimes it’s enchanting when these things only happen in your head. Having said all of this, I knew I had my limitation. And if you want to survive in this competitive industry, you have to be versatile. Apparently, I’m not.

I thought of this while I was controlling my left leg from moving during our rehearsal for a play. I just realize that this is not something I can claim as my own. Don’t get me wrong. I still like theater but it is now just a dream I dreamed. I kept the lyrics of “I still believe” in my music sheet folder and decided not to go to Opera House for auditions.

It’s not that I’m frustrated. I’m just enlightened? Reality pinched me in a harmless way. Perhaps what I want in life is to shine, to be at my best. And theater is not exactly the place I can say I belong. Everyday, life gives me more questions. Where do I belong? What other dreams are there for me? Can I create another dream? Is it too late?

I find comfort from this quote of C.S. Lewis.

dreams change

Life’s a Stage

I like watching plays[1].  For one reason, every action and every line on stage is done by an artist’s interpretation. A play may resemble a story in real life but its presentation will never be something close to real life.  Theater follows some conventions that are not applied in reality. We don’t sing when we talk to people like those in musical theater. When we talk to ourselves, we don’t speak out loud, the way an actor delivers a monologue.  Of course, concerts are also an artist’s invention that gets instant reaction from audience. But in theater, all elements on stage are intertwined. The panels on stage, the lights hanging, the actors moving on certain directions, the props, and the costume are not separate elements but all fall in a collaboration. And this leads me to compare life like theater.

Life is like theater. It is not a series of random events. It is an organized chaos. When a crowd quarrels on stage, they do not look in disorder. It involves  some blocking and choreography. All these; fingers pointing, eyes squinting, walking from downstage to upstage are building a story. A story is a series of interrelated events.

Everything that is on stage is there for a reason. Actors are taught to enter the stage with a reason. Actors don’t show the audience that they enter on cue. Professional actors do not show movements because those are part of their choreography. They dance because they are happy. A prince enters the stage because he is going to meet his princess. Sometimes, an actor does not know how to execute what the director wants him to do. When he dances on stage, all the audience can see are dance routines. He has the moves but he does not have the mind of the choreographer. He does not know the reason he is speaking his lines or doing a movement.  In occasions like this, the actor perhaps might be shortsighted on what the director wants to achieve on a scene. He does not know  the story or perhaps he does not know how he can contribute to the story.

In life, we may be like this actor. We cannot do what is required. We question circumstances in our lives. We just have to trust our Director above, who sees the entirety of  every scene in our lives, that everything we do will fall in the right place. For we are merely players as Shakespeare said. Sometimes, we are poor in wisdom that we cannot see the bigger picture and the bigger reason. We just do not have the mind of our Director.

Treat life as a stage. Do your part or do some parts. Have faith in your Director that all the things you do will work accordingly. Whether you are working on the sounds and adding lights in stage, singing in a chorus, God is weaving a beautiful story in you.


[1] (My professor Theater 100 in college said, “You don’t watch a ‘play’. You read a ’play’ and watch a ‘performance’. Perhaps for academic purposes, this is how they use the word ‘play’ but for some publications like guardian, the ‘play’ is the play we know”)

Snapshot of Bona

Snapshot of Bona:

It is a show that can make you laugh as you watch actors deliver witty lines naturally. It has much entertainment value as you pick some insights.

PETA Bona

Why watch

The play is about a fan obsessed with a wannabe actor.

Because at some point in our lives, we have been like Bona, a fan whose loyalty is sometimes irrational and disillusioned.

I always pee every time I watched Eugene Domingo’s show 😀

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