Sunday, March 17, 2013
Woe to Agamemnon king of Argos!
It's been approximately two days since our class did our black light flip card presentation of Electra by Euripedes and I am still on what I call a "Classics High." In late January, our professor, Miss Schnabel told us that we would have to interpret the play Electra. Our presentation would be considered our final exam. The first thing I did was ask Krissa, our block rep, what she wanted done. And she was like, 'Kahit ano! We have 7k to spend.' The second person I talked to was Elaine who helped write the script and was there since day one. And the third person who knew about almost everything was Tricia who reserved rooms, made sure we had props and bugged people. Then, after those three people knew about the plan, things got crazy.
My number one problem was that we had no money to spend. I thought that the school would give us our 7k and we could just waste it all on props and food. Heck, we had to pay for our props, collect the receipts, give the receipts to Miss Schnabel and then get refunded for whatever we spent. My second problem was that our class was made up of three different blocks with three different schedules and people who could not get along or come to practices on time. And my third problem was that no matter how hard anyone in the prod team explained the concept to the whole class, only a handful of people could get it. Holy crap.
When I finally got my hands on twenty four illustration boards, I was all set to tell the class, 'You have no freaking idea how hard it is to make props!' It didn't help that one side of the illustration board was white and we had to paint that black or that the white paint would not glow in the black light. There was one week in which I stayed up late with Elaine, Pat and Phoebe just trying to get our first set of props to work. At 11PM one night, we dragged twelve heavy illustration boards to the bathroom of my house, plugged the black light and saw that it was working. Suddenly, my tiredness vanished and I thought, 'Wait till the whole class sees this!' True enough, the next day, Thursday, when they saw the picture above and the actual effect they found it in them to finish two more sets of twelve illustration boards.
Finally, all (or 90%) of our props were done. The scripts were already given out to everyone. The actors already knew their lines. My problem was the chorus. I had twelve people who could not memorize lines, would come to practices late, would give me shitty excuses, would wake up two hours after call time and who gave me so many reasons to give up on them. There was one Saturday in which all I did was let those who showed up for practice fix the props. Another time, I waited for four hours for people to show up. They showed up six hours later with a lot of apologies which I wanted to push down their throats. But we still practiced as a team.
We had good days and we had bad days. There were days in which everyone was awake and cooperative. And there were days when I was on a yelling spree because someone was late or someone forgot their line or someone did not flip their card on time. A good day was when we could use the Studio in school to practice. A bad day was when we would practice in the heat and I had to deal with the complaints of everyone. A good day was when everyone in the chorus remembered to wear a black shirt. A bad day was when people in the chorus would wear white when the prod team had clearly told them not to. A good day was a day that no one asked questions and just followed. A bad day was when they asked dumb questions which I had answers to but I didn't want to waste my time explaining. A good day was when they trusted the prod team. A bad day was when they did not.
Finally, I guess it kicked in that more than getting the presentation right or remembering lines, what mattered was that we were one as a group. What mattered most was that those in the presentation trusted that the prod team knew what they were doing. What mattered was that the prod team trusted the cast to do their jobs. What mattered was that the chorus trusted their fellow chorus members not to mess up. What mattered was that the actors trusted each other not to forget lines. Team work mattered!
You never know how ready the team is until they perform on the day itself. The night before, Thursday, we had our final practice. Gloves still had to be bought. Masks had to be done over. Some props still had to be made. Last minute changes were made. Some of us had documentaries to cram and exams to review for which we would be passing or taking the next day. We were exhausted. As soon as I got home, I left my things and ran out to buy more props. Others did the same. On Twitter that night and early morning of Friday, some were still up reviewing and editing. Because I could not sleep that night, I got out of bed and tried reviewing. When that did not work, I went to school to attend my 7:45AM class.
Somehow, I got myself out of my 7:45AM class and found myself fixing up the place and some props. When Tricia arrived at around 8:30AM, I told her some changes which the cast would have to do without even practicing it. After Krissa, Chachi and I fixed some stuff, we rushed to take our written exam in Broadcasting at 9AM. Hell, I could not concentrate! Right after the exam, I left the room to talk to the actors and reminded them of some small things. Another class was already presenting their presentation in Studio. I was pacing back and forth. The clock was ticking and it was almost 11AM. What did that mean? We had to get our act together and present our black light flip card presentation.
Sit down! Shut up! Stop talking! You'll do fine! Put your hair up! Wear your gloves! Stop laughing! We can do this! After yelling all sorts of commands at them, I was like, 'Heck, just go and have fun! But while you're at it, you might as well get us all a good grade.' As soon as they entered the Studio, I ran to the control room and stayed there. I watched from behind and prayed to anyone up in heaven to please help those nineteen people who were on stage performing. In around five minutes, the performance was done, but we had already made a statement. Sure, we had mistakes. But who the freak cares? We still got our point across. We had already showed everyone who watched who we were and what we were capable of doing.
Everything is still a blur to me. I heard them clapping. We bowed. Some professors talked. We cheered. We cleaned up. We went out to get our things and then Krissa came up to me in the midst of the chaos and went, 'Anna, thank you. Thank you for putting it together.' I was shocked. And touched. But that's the point: a director just puts things together, but whatever is put together is only good if those who are on stage make it happen. And so, thank you!
Thank you random people who made this work like Pat Cibucao and Char SB. Thank you actors! Phoebe, Sarah and Mica, you were always early when you were needed for practices. You didn't just memorize lines. You guys also helped with the props. JT, you never complained or made a fuss. I like that. Mina, you had one line. Thanks for getting it right! Bettina and Paula, you did what you could when no one else was there to help. You showed up when I did not expect it. Thank you chorus! Micah, Ava, Klar and Kat, you guys were on time most of the time and took this seriously. Cool! Anna, I appreciated the fact that you always informed us if you would be absent. Chachi, you solved problems I did not have solutions to. Elaine, thank you for being there since day one! Angelli and Michel, thank you for following orders quickly and without question. Mhean, how on earth do you know how to draw and do lettering? We would not have had words on our props without you. Krissa, where do I start? Thank you for being you! Thank you for always caring for others. Mica, the black lights you lent us were amazing! More than that though, you came to practice even if you live so far away. Thank you prod team! Kai, for some reason, whenever something goes wrong, I know I can count on you. Paige, thank you for texting certain people to bring the things we needed. And to Nicdao, your ability to stay cool in messed up situations is amazing! You kept me sane the entire time.
What a nice way to end the school year!
*All pictures belong to my block-mates.
** Kinda messed up, but I don't really care.