Friday, June 27, 2008

Sweating like an oldy

I've only got a minute or two until a vocal rehearsal, but I wanted to chime in by saying that I am WORKING. I didn't realize that I was going to be dancing in a big opening number. It is great fun. Our choreographer Vince is rather mercurial and puckish and his choreography is very precise and clean. Unlike me. But I am getting it and it is busting my hump. But it's a good thing because I have been eating like a King. Get it... like a King!!!

Gotta go sing

Spiders are EVIL

Jefferson got bit by a spider at the theatre yesterday... this is blog-worthy because Jefferson gets bit by weird things in strange places. It's as if these little critters see his Man-flesh, cry out "yum"and chomp away. Now, we all have gotten bug bites... but I'm talking more dramatic here. Jefferson was bit by an exotic centipede in Japan many years ago. Our friend, Toshio, joked that the bite would turn JEFFERSON into a centipede as well (and would make crazy hand and face gestures at the same time.) In Florida, he was bit by a Brown Recluse Spider... the one that makes your skin decompose... which resulted in a HOLE in his arm and two trips to urgent care... it was pretty gross. SO... I'll let you know what happens. I don't know anything about Filipino insects, but I DO know that Jefferson likes to crawl around on the floor and stick his hands into creepy puddles and stuff like that...

Oh, and it's our ANNIVERSARY today. ELEVEN years! And it's just brilliant that we are together! Marriage has been the biggest learning experience of my life and I am so thrilled that I get to be in it with such a special and loving man, Jefferson. To celebrate, we are going to a highly recommended Thai restaurant for dinner tonight and a Walking Tour and couples massage tomorrow on our day off.... lovely.

One more thing, CINDERELLA is going to be amazing. Have I told you that? I had a little breakthrough with the Stepmother yesterday. Something had not been working for me.. I was trying to make her too human and was losing her power and strength in the scenes. Bobby, our director, reminded me that she truly is the force of evil and wickedness in this piece... Cinderella's oppressor, the antagonist. I needed to get back to the archetype of the villain, on a mythological/fairy tale level. Of course, how do you "play" evil? You don't... every villain throughout time truly felt that they were completely RIGHT and justified and setting the world in order.. ie, Hitler or Cruella D'Evill. So, I plan on playing the role of the HERO and just letting the audience judge accordingly. Yeah.... God, I hope they hate me. :)

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Juria's Salon Special

Isn't it interesting how we always want what we don't have? For example, the curly haired person who straightens their hair every morning and the straight haired person who gets a perm... Well, I am applying that old truth to Americans and Filipinos, and their skin color! Americans seek out tanning. Forget skin cancer, we know better but it doesn't stop us from going to tanning salons or laying out on beaches. And if we want to be good, we use sunless tanning sprays and lotions which is really crazy when you think about it (putting brown dye on our skins.... nice. And by the way, I'm having a Mamma Mia flashback right now.) Well, the Filipinos want to WHITEN their skin apparently. Yes, you heard me. These people who are naturally beautiful shades of tan, buy whitening and bleaching products so they can lighten up. Yesterday I went to the "Let's Face It" Salon to get a massage and saw rows of people... getting their faces whitened. WOW.

Excuse me while I bargain brag... although I love beautiful spas and massage centers, when it comes right down to it, it's the massage that matters, not the setting. I also know that you can spend alot of money and get a bad massage and a little bit of money and get a good one. Thus, my decision to spend my afternoon off yesterday seeking out my favorite form of therapy... cheaply. This led me to the Salon (mentioned above) which was a mere 2 minute walk from the hotel. It was a little crazy cuz all the locals started giggling when I walked in. I asked for the shiatsu/swedish combo... and got a GREAT MASSAGE. This girl was committed. And strong. And the fee for this 60 minutes of satisfying bodywork? ELEVEN DOLLARS! Jearous?

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Juria's two cents

Shrinky spectacularly provided the inaugural post for our new blog... but I wouldn't be Juria if I didn't feel compelled to offer my own TWO CENTS.
Here are some of my initial thoughts:

-Currently, we could be in any large American city ( one with alot of Fillipinos in it!) It's the fact that we are staying in a 5 star hotel in the middle of the commercial/shopping/dining district across from a huge mall. It's an English speaking country and we could eat at an Outback Steakhouse, Wendy's or Tony Roma's at will. We could shop at the Gap or drink at Starbucks. OR... we could try a corn milkshake and some pancit noodles! I feel confident that we will experience a more traditional Filipino atmosphere when we can get off our beaten path and venture a bit. There is one thing that is undeniable however... the customer service and friendliness far surpass many big US cities- and I know cuz I've been to 'em.

-This production of Cinderella is going to be spectacular. Seriously. Lush and beautiful. It's quite thrilling. Lea's voice? effortless. The costumes? Italian coutoure extravagance. The cast? diverse and smart. The sets and lights? top notch. The score? tuneful and ballad-y. The dancing? clever. Oh yeah, and I get to yell... alot. At everybody. It's going to be fun.

-Shrinky and I ate lunch at a restaurant today and it came to the equivalent of 5 bucks. For both of us. Also, I've heard of a good spa where we can get hour massages for under 20 bucks. Let the bargains begin!

-Now, if I can just stay awake long enough to completely enjoy it all...

Sunset at Seven

I'm wondering why the sun sets at 7pm. Have we crossed over into some other world where the the flushing toilet water swirls counter to that in New York? The sun set at about 9pm there.
Maybe it is winter here. That would explain the muggy heat and typhoons.
Speaking of typhoons, "Frank" just passed through. we did not see much of it. Our plane landed just before it hit the Manila area. The next day we did get to see trees bending and rain coming down in sheets as the wind howled through the streets outside the Dusit Thani Hotel.
For those of you just joining us, Julia Cook and Jefferson Slinkard have now been three days in the belly of the beast that is Manila, Philippines. We are hear to rehearse and open a new version of Rodger's and Hammerstein's "Cinderella" starring Lea Salonga. Julia plays the cruel Stepmother and Jefferson plays the kind but frugal King; soon to be father-in-law of Cinderella.
We left NYC on June 20 and arrived in Manila on June 21. We are twelve hours ahead of EST.
(That might explain the whole sunset /toilet flush thing.) We rehearse for six weeks and then perform in the "house that Imelda built" until the end of August and then we are on to China, Thailand, Korea, Singapore, Malaysia, and other countries TBD.
A few highlights for me so far:
-Landing in Hong Kong at night and seeing a building on fire on a mountainside. It was strangely beautiful and lonely.
-Walking around the neighborhood at 6AM (remind me to tell you about jet lag!)
-Eating the eyeball of a grilled Tilapia ("it tastes like chicken!")
-The fantastic breakfast buffet at the hotel
-The bus ride to the rehearsal hall. I can't wait to get out and see the city not through a window.
- Lea's Mother's bread pudding!!!!
-A really talented and wonderful group of people to work with.
-Excedrin PM and 10 hours of sleep.
Did I mention Jet Lag? Long days of rehearsal (they're making me dance!) and very little sleep don't mix well. And that means that as I write this at 8PM, I am starting to fade. Julia is already zonked out on the bed and we haven't had dinner yet, so goodnight for now. There will be more tomorrow.