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Archive for June, 2010

Milestone

June 2010 was a big month to be a comic book fan. Especially if you read DC, because, well, who reads Marvel these days? Straight off from the biggest and most succesful comic book event ever,  DC used the marketing and creative edge it had from Blackest Night in the celebration of their 75th year anniversary. (Yup, that’s right folks, DC has been producing comics for 75 years!)

But it doesn’t end there – June 2010 showed the release of THREE milestone issues. The fact is DC, together with the entire comic book industry, is historic in its own rights. It would be hard to find another company and arguably modern icon in today’s age that could root itself way, way back.

BATMAN 700 

Grant Morrison's continues his epic tale of the Dark Knight

Batman 700, on sale three weeks ago, continues Grant Morrison’s epic tale of the Dark Knight Detective. Beginning his run four years ago, Morrison has suceeded in revigorating the Batman mythos. In this chapter, it is a stand-alone story about the Batman of the past, present and future – Bruce Wayne, Dick Grayson and Damian Wayne, respectively. Yes, if you’re not aware, Bruce Wayne is not the current Batman, being trapped in the past more than a year ago.

Superman 700

Robinson ends his legacy, JMS start his own run

Superman 700, on sale last week, serves a dual-purpose. First, it serves to cap off the run of James Robinson’s World of New Krypton. For two years, we have seen Superman interact with his long lost people of Krypton only to have them die in last month’s War of the Supermen. It only begins the ‘Grounded’ arc of JMS which controversially makes the Man of Steel walk across America finding himself.

Wonder Woman 600

Simone says farewell to the Amazon Princess and JMS starts his own journey

Wonder Woman 600, on sale TOMORROW, will be Simone’s farewell issue as she ends her tenure as writer here. JMS will start taking up writting duties. Not a lot is known about what direction he is taking her. However, here is the tidbit: our favorite Amzonian Princess will be having a costume change! And a radical one at that. Here is the official costume designed by JMS and Jim Lee:

Wonder Woman's New Costume as of Wonder Woman 600

Personally, I’m not the biggest fan of it. The star-spangled swimsuit was a classic, just like Supes and Batty’s duds. But I do have faith in JMS and I’m interested to see what direction he brings Diana in. Excited for tomorrow!


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We have to put my PE class in perspective. So far, we’re doing tap dance drills, which are basically combinations of the basic ‘shuffle/hop/flop/etc’ basic steps. They’re not necessarily difficult per se, but tap dance is not just dancing to a beat, it’s creating a beat of itself. Today was no different than before, with Professor Kimpo calling out steps and me, in my usual position, at the front yet at the side.

Then suddenly she pointed at me and said, ‘You, go to the front of the class para magayahan ka nila.’ At first, I thought she was referring to the person either beside or behind me. It was a surge of both shock and ‘what-the-hell-is-going-on’ moment I had when I timidly took my position at the center. The thing is, I’m really not confident with my performance. I know I could get the steps easily, but putting me in front really scared me. What if I make more mistakes and they copy MY mistakes? What if I suck and everyone could see? (Hence, why I was hiding at the side.) 

However, I decided to just forget it all and concentrate on the dance. If I make a mistake, so what? I’ll gladly retreat back to my corner. I cleared my mind and focused only on the steps Prof. Kimpo called out. And, believe it or not, I got almost all the steps first time around! I could feel the adrenaline rush inside me as people around me were asking me if they were doing the steps correctly or if I could do the choreography with them.

Right. Being put in the front of the class is a big ego-booster from yesterday’s fiasco. (See previous post)

Anyway, another interesting (and totally unrelated thing) happened that afternoon. We were supposed to watch Virgin Labfest VI at CCP. It was sort of a rush decision for us 131 students, yet we found happiness in rushing. Had I been given a choice, I personally would not have chosen to watch it because I’m still a little bit bitter that they didn’t choose to stage the one-act play I submitted ‘Bro.’ (TSK!) But then again, it’s life, we win some, we lose some, we move on. 

VLF VI was at a literally, although not figuratively, Black Box theater. Let’s really REALLY not discuss what a black box theater really is because that’s going to take one whole essay. Anyway, this was Set C (Pecado Mortal) and there were three plays staged. I thought they were, for the most part, really good and even borderline brilliant. The twist in Floy Quintos’ ‘Suor Clara’ was really unexpected. My mouth turned into a little ‘O’ when I heard Clara point at the priest and say the defining word of the play, ‘Salvi.’ Everything just clicked. Issa Borlaza’s ‘Sa Package Counter’ directed by the awesome Chic San Agustin of Dulaang UP (who celebrated her birthday the day before!) was both charmingly humorous and tastefully gory. And finally, UZ. Eliserio et al’s ‘Matyag’ presented an eerie rendition of a social taboo that sent chills to practically every audience member even just as they were putting the set-up.

The acting was good, the directing was good. Although as a small nitpick, I feel that the blocking is more suited for a Proscenium staging rather than a thrust one. Speaking as someone on house right, there were times when I couldn’t see if they were kissing, what was on the bag, etc. But that’s really minor. I feel that the strongest thought the set gave was the impact it gave its audience. Everyone could not get the image of the fetus out of their mind. And even during scenes of the final play, some of the audience members were covering their eyes. And we can’t blame them – theater is THEIR experience and if they can’t process it, that’s alright as well. 

One thing I’ve realized is that plays that have two characters tend to have circular dialogue. Understandable, but fascinating as well. 

On a closing note, I personally wonder what it’s like to be an actor for a play that tackles something that’s morally taboo. And not just scraping at the issue but really immersed in it. Most of the productions I’ve been part of have been fun, they’ve been comedies, they’ve been light, etc. I wonder as a creative person how would you enter and interpret something that would potentially violate audience’s minds. It’s earthshattering. It’s intriguing. I want to try to be part of a production like that sometime.

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In class, we had this activity on first impressions. We each took a piece of paper and passed it around in a circular pattern with each person in the circle writing down his first impression of you. The paper goes around so that every person in the class would get to write something about you. The chain stops when your paper finally completes a whole round and gets back to you. After class, you personally get to read what other people wrote about you.

Here is what was on my paper:

Smart. Serious. Silent. 

At this point I felt moderately happy. 

Boyish

This made my day. I always make it a point to pretend to be straight. I’ve been stating this ever since, but I don’t really appreciate it when people make a statement about my sexuality based only on my appearance and behavior. 

And finally at the very top:

Genius-looking.

I really got flattered. I felt a large smile creeping on my face and my ears getting all tensey-tense at my head. I was all giggly, starting to fold my paper again when I saw this at very top:

THE GUY IN THE ATENEO SHIRT.

I wasn’t wearing an Ateneo shirt. In fact, the guy in question, John, was seated at my right. It was apparently a case of mixing up our papers with each other. Long story short, I ran into John back at THY, we exchanged papers with each other and I got the usual ‘energetic, funny, friendly, mataray’ comments. There were a couple of nice ones like ‘mukhang addict’ (which I presume came from Fitz) ‘quiet‘ (yes, it was strike-throughed) and, my favorite, ‘street chic.’ Not that I don’t like them, mind you, we can’t really impose first impressions on people. (We can do things to ourselves to change the way people view us but that’s for another blog post)

All I’m saying is it was a nice feeling to be thought of as boyish even for a couple of minutes. 🙂

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Less is More

Right, so the day after monologue day for Theater 131 was monologue day for Speech 121 (Oral Interpretation). The girls all had the same piece, which is an emo love poem the title of which currently escapes me, while we boys had ‘Queen’ by Ronald Baytan.

I had three things to factor: (1) greatest critic given to my acting from theaters 12, 100 and the 131 monologue was that there’s just too much going on. Restraint and focus of energy should be always thought of. (2) Oral Interpretation is generally more toned down then acting. Let’s not get into the nitty-gritty differences, but, yes, Oral Interpretation doesn’t have the blocking, costume and characterization acting has. And finally (3) the piece is really, really gay that I could just get carried away by it.

Although not mediocre or unprepared, my performance was very simplistic and toned down. No blocking. No props. No fast hand gestures. No jumping. No kneeling. No shouting. Just me sitted on a chair. I remember Sir Dex saying that everything should be about the truth behind every single line. I aimed to feel every line, give emotion and life to every statement there. 

Though I did not aim to be the best performer, I got surprised and pleasantly pleased when a couple of people said that I delivered the best performance of the day. Yey to me, this is turning out to be a fun class after all! Imagine that, I can deliver a good performance without sticks, belts and coats!

I’m really happy with both my performances in Theater 131 and Speech 121. I feel that at the end of the semester, I will look back at my two diagnostic performances and see the changes I’ve had this sem. 

Here is the full text of ‘Queen’ by Ronald Baytan taken from panitikan.com

Queen
by Ronald Baytan

Mama, the rhinestones are falling one by one
Because I always put the crown on my head
When you and Papa are sleeping. Imagine:
A fairy at the center stands with her wand
That stirs glowing waves of magic like sea
Shells in the dark. The crown is divine.

Mama, the gown I wore that night is fading
In the closet, unwashed black velvet exuding
Beauty irretrievably gone. It’s a backless
Sleeveless tube with big slits on the side,
Silver sequins on the padded bosoms, and white
Gloves for the spectacular beauty that I am.

Mama, my shoe size is ten, and the pair I bought
Is plain, pure black, four-inch heels like ice cream
Cones, enough to make me feel like Diana.
When they stab the marble floor, I hear
The clicking of light, regal steps from a castle far,
Far away. One night, the queen knew.

Mama, my sash is kept in a hidden drawer
Where secrets abound as beautiful boys thriving
On paper. It is white, laced with gold strips
On the side and reads: Miss Gay Universe 1995.
They all loved that beauty, your son, when he
Walked. No doubt, the ribbon was made for my hips.

Mama, as you sleep in the other room, I am
Sushmita, head up, teeth white, lips red and wide,
Hands touching hips, foamy bosom out, tummy
Tucked. In my mind, Mama, I am holding a fresh bouquet,
Waving to a feverish crowd, and you are there crying
Because it’s your son’s farewell walk as queen.

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I jumped over the moon!

Today was monologue day for theater 131 and, as I stated before, I performed ‘Over the Moon’ from Jonathan Larson’s Rent. For inspiration, I used a little bit of Idina Menzel, a little bit of Eden Espinosa, a little bit of Carla Guevara-Laforteza and, of course, some parts that I originally came up with. I came rehearsed and prepared with every line memorized. The problem though was I didn’t anticipate the vocal toil of jumping up and down coupled with high-pitched ‘only thing to do is jump over the moon.’ Long story short, had to cut the ending a little bit because I was running out of breath. The good part, though, was how everyone moo-ed with me at the end. Imagine, the utter failure it would have been if no one moo-ed. 😦

I took in the comments and critics given by Professor Estrella and my classmates and I’m going to use them to improve my monologues in the future. (Huwow, may personal growth!) Perhaps, ‘Over the Moon’ really wasn’t the best choice for a diagnostic monologue. It is more of a vocal piece than an acting one. But I really wanted to do this piece since like, ever. Yet, all opportunities in my previous theater classes restricted me from doing so, so I went with it now.

At the end of the class though, I feel that I was able to give an above average performance and I’m quite contented with that. (Fine, you can disagree with me, but I don’t care.) I believe that it is moments like these that could help remove the negative stigma of last sem’s 110. 🙂

Tomorrow, another monologue, Queen! Can’t wait.

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‘Ikaw, bakit nandito ka na naman? Baka mawawala ka na naman sa gitna ng sem gaya ng nangyari date? Sabihin mo na ngayon habang maaga pa. Hay nako, nagpromise ka din last sem sa Arturo, anong nangyari? You have to prove yourself worthy to be in this class.’

These words stung me deeply this afternoon. No, not because they may sound mean and all, but that everything stated there was true and I never acknowledged those facts. I can and have apologized about that countless times already. Apologies can only get me elsewhere though. I need to do something so good that the stench of a forgotten practicuum could be forgotten. I don’t want to be known as the person who quit in the middle of Arturo. I am so much better than that.

I think I deserve everything said against me, whether to my face or just the usual backbitching. I haven’t proven anything yet. I don’t have golden credentials, I don’t have a montage of experiences. Had the tables been reversed, I am sure I would be bitchier against a person who had the audacity to drop the required practicuum and yet got accepted to the program. That’s why great thanks have to go to the people in the department who can consider me friends. 

I have to work my ass off this sem. I have to prove that there is more to me than my bad performance in 110 (maybe, my good performance in 100? 🙂 ). My reputation in the program is on the line. And I refuse to give that up.

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Following a three-day weekend, Tuesday’s still aren’t the perkiest mood-lifters. I only have two classes, tap dance and Shakespeare, and, while interesting, nothing beats having a nice little major around, right? 🙂

Finally got around to having my own pair of tap shoes! Cost a pretty 1,600 pesos, but what the hell – TAP SHOES! I always stay in the front of the class and the highlight of today was when the girl behind me approached me and said, “Ang galing mo ah, alam mo ba ikaw ang sinusundan namin in class?” It’s short compliments like this that make me smile. Of course, it is pressure. I have to make much less mistakes, not just because of my grade, but because everyone thinks I’m infallably good. Which is a problem because I really am not. I am perhaps an above average dancer, but I make a lot of mistakes at practice and it really eats me up inside.

Shakespeare class was interesting. Classmates with two other theater majors! (Garet and Cat) Cool. Our homework from last meeting was to answer the question “Why am I in this class?” I was initially surprised that almost all my classmates answered the same old ‘Shakespeare’s the best‘ ‘He’s the world’s finest‘ etc etc. But I was more pleased when Professor Ick’s lecture agreed with my opinion that Shakespeare as an institution is undeniably popular and merit should be given there. However, as a writer, he should not be considered the best. In my opinion, just above average. (Like my dancing.)

I really want to practice my tap dancing in my room but I live in the second floor and I’d hate for the people downstairs to come barging up, banging on my door and telling me to shut the hell up. 😛

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