Friday, July 25, 2008


Our bus, and some of our ladies.
Sweet Sleeping Kit.
The Throne.
Aaron Galligan-Stierle, my dressing room mate, in our dressing room. Nice socks Aaron!
Costumes and my dressing table.

Julia, and Peter Saide chat it up by the Call Board.
Julia and Janet(our lead keyboardist) after dinner in the courtyard a CCP.
Momma Cat and Kittens in courtyard.

So…long time, no blog. Sorry, we are in tech week and even though I actually do have time to blog, I have not because…well, because its TECH WEEK!!! Historically this is the time for which all theater professionals gird their loins because it is supposed to be such a despised ordeal. The reality is that we work 11 hours out of a 12, with an hour meal break in the middle. The hardest part is the waiting and keeping yourself focused on the show over this stretch of time. So we tend to get mentally tired. But I’m going to call this rut a groove and go with it.

On Monday we moved to the Cultural Center of the Philippines, which was built by Imelda Marcos in the 70's?. It is a big hunk of concrete near Manila Bay where Lea has been performing since she did Annie here at age Nine; and she is in the same dressing room now! The theater seats about 1800 people and tickets range from 500 pesos to 70,000.00. That is US $10 to $140.00. As with most of Manila, there is this somewhat opulent theater next to a rundown amusement park called Star City, people are living on nearby sidewalks, and by US standards, the backstage areas are a bit busted. I emphasize “by US standards”, because I have to be continually conscious of the fact that US standards do not apply here. It is challenging not to judge by those standards. Judgment goes hand in hand with criticism and nobody likes that. Things are done differently here and that does not mean that it is any less valid or good, just different.

Okay, that sounds like politically correct bullshit.

Do I think things could be better run in this country? Hello, have you known me long? Of course I do! Do I have the solutions? Of course I do! If only the world was run the way that I thought it should be we wouldn’t be in the mess we are now.

How many times have I heard someone say, “It’s easy to criticize”? (DUH) Meaning, I guess, that it is easier than coming up with solutions and implementing them. So does that mean I should hold my opinions on what I observe unless I am willing to roll up my shirt sleeves and go to work on it? Was my Mom right when she said, “If you can’t say something nice, you shouldn’t say anything at all”?

I think that sometimes we see things that are not nice, or fair, or right. Of course these are judgments based on standards developed by our family and culture. But does that make them wrong or bad? Don’t we all think that the world would be a better place if we wiped out the causes of poverty and avoidable human suffering? Should we be silent when we see injustices against human kind because it is “not nice” to criticize?

All right, I know that’s a lot of palaver to justify saying that the backstage areas at the theater lack a certain “je ne sais quoi”! I’m trying to not insult anyone from here, but I think they would all agree with me that the joint is a little run down at the heels.

On the plus side, my dressing room, which I share with Aaron Galligan- Stierle, (see photo) is rather large and we have our own bathroom with a proper toilet seat (see photo) and plentiful (so far) toilet paper (both lacking at the rehearsal space) and a shower. I did trip the circuit breaker on my first day here by turning on the makeup lights. There were even dramatic sparks from the light fixture that was shorting out, but they have since fixed that. Overall it seems as if the AC has been turned off for long periods of time and the humid climate has moldered walls, rugs and furniture. But there aren’t many bugs! (Okay, now I’m just being a smart ass.)

Another good feature is the presence of feral cats in the courtyard where we eat our meals. (See photos) Two adult cats and a Mother cat with three kittens. We have been feeding them table scraps and dry cat food and hope to have them all fattened up by the time we leave and at least give the kittens a good strong start on what is probably a tough life on the streets of Manila. I love Kitties!!! And I miss our kitty Tooey.

I do look forward to our next day off and perhaps relaxing on a beach near by. Right now our schedule has us going 14 days without a day off until after opening weekend. We have only three days off left here before we close the show and I want to see as much of the Philippines as I can. After all, one of the main reasons we sought this job was for the travel experiences. We may have three days here after closing before we travel to China, and we hope to make good use of them as well. There are lakes within volcanoes within lakes, rice terraces in the mountains, beaches, Snorkeling, subterranean rivers, Tarsiers (Bush Babies), and Whale Sharks (sadly out of season). I wish we had the time and the equipment to back pack up into the hills where one can still stay with traditional tribal people.

I can’t wait until I am cleared to post pictures of our costumes. They are spectacular. You gotta know that I am working the robes with the five-foot trains. My buttons are Swarosky crystals, everything is trimmed in gold or silver and the fabrics are rich and patterned. I’ll post pics as soon as we are opened.

That’s all for now.

No comments: