Post-participation in Virgin Labfest, I got a little bit more confident to pursue auditions. I tried for Dalanghita’s Kung Paano Ako Naging Leading Lady musical, Dulaang UP’s Haring Lear to name a few. I was lucky to be cast in DLSU CSB’s Palasyo ni Valentin under the direction of the acclaimed Nonon Padilla. Written by the late Mario O’Hara, it is an award-winning literary piece which was first performed at PETA years ago.
The play, which renders the audience as actual audience in a cinema is shown the story of Valentin during the World War II. The piece weaves Valentin’s past to the now through his own drunken storytelling. Elements of Japanese Noh theater and vaudeville were creatively used by the director to portray the whimsical and the demons of Valentin’s heartbreaking past with the theater actress, Diding.
I had two roles in this play, one of Violy – lover of Valentin’s apprentice; and as a slave – a dark mimicry of Diding which was added by our director for this role. Although I didn’t have speaking lines, I had lines to deliver in the form of sign language which became an interesting mix in this production.
During the first few readings, I was confused by the elements being thrown in the play. I thought to myself that I can never comprehend the genius of Nonon Padilla. It was after all, a difficult piece to begin with. But that’s also the allure of it. At the end, everything made sense. And the silence fills you with scenes replaying in your mind. At least, that’s what happened to me.
Never in my whole life have I thought that I would soon be in a production with my first theater mentor, Miss Sherry Lara. During Labfest season, I was already so excited that we were together in a Set! Acting with veterans and being taught by them are two different things. There’s only so much you can learn being taught. Watching them act everyday during rehearsal, you get to see the little things they change to improve their delivery. To me, being able to see incredibly talented people rehearse is the best learning experience in theater.
I’ve mentioned in my Labfest post, that I feared being bored by a whole month’s rehearsal. Reading and doing the same things over and over again. But no. Everyday, there is something new to learn. I’m still really amazed. If only I had taken an interest in theater sooner.
The people you meet, and the friendships you make, all for the love of the same thing…
This is my first full production experience outside a recital. I wonder what’s next for me. I hope to continue learning and working with awesome people – actors and production staff alike.