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.
You can also find a collection of puppets, dolls and toys Teatrong Mulat
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 like watching plays. 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.
 (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”)