Sunday, May 01, 2005

pek pek power

I must admit, it's all a bit surreal right now, having lived my evenings out at Bindlestiffs for the last week. My car is feeling neglected.

We packed them in today, standing room only. My cousins, sister, and friends came to see the show. My family cut out of the town annual dance party being held in Santa Clara. The Fiance who took photos the first two nights, opted to put on the suit and go ballroom dancing.

We got nothing but rave comments about the show. Some of the more poignant ones I got were, "thank you, for putting our story out there." from a Pinay woman, her partner holding her hand. And from my cousin's hetero husband, "I've never seen a group who articulated so well my experience growing up."

I think those two comments touched me the most. In being a part of a marginalized community, the Queer community is often the margin of the margins. I realized in this experience, in being marginalized for so long, we get used to the lonliness and isolation. So, for other people to tell a story that hits so close to home, there's the transformative power of breaking that isolation, that one does not have to endure alone.

And it was also really satisfying to hear my cousin's husband say how he as a straight man can relate and enjoy the stories of Queer Pinays. Perhaps I've just always thought of the human story as including everyone's voice, but more often voices get drowned out. In creating that bridge, it means that he has opened himself to their story. And more so that Queer problems and issues aren't just issues for Queer people do deal with, they are no longer the "other". Personally as an artist and a writer, I feel obligated to be able to tell everyone's stories and simply not just the stories I've experienced.

The cast thanked me for my work as director. And I really should thank Kreatibo for opening the door. The group was easy to work with. Early in the process, we weren't sure if we would work out, there were fears and tentativeness. One woman cringed when she heard it would be a Pinay director due to her previously horrible prior experiences of Pinay directors as mean. But I see my role as director, as the person who builds the space. A space that allows each person to be more than they were, with the safety to reach and leap and be daring. Let me worry about time, and what scene needs more work, just do what you do. My role is to allow the actors to tell their story as well as possible and to expand the possibilities of that story.

After the performances I would give notes, some technical some acting. After the first night, I told them to open their mouths talk bigger, and use their hands and bodies more to communicate. But tonight, I told them to go for it all! Push, improv, pause, give more, put it out there, there's nothing to lose, try stuff you've never done. And they did, and the audience responded.

One audience member said the show was very satisfying. In the way that it opened and came around again. How the small stories presented added up to a big giant story, a blend of camp, comedy and drama, and still tackling very personal and touching experiences.

Afterwards, we packed all of our stuff up, and headed to a castmembers place to sing karaoke on the magic mic. oooh, the magic mic. More campiness from the Air Supply ballads and Journey songs. By the end of the night, we weren't even listening to the music anymore, just reading the words and screaming so loud we made our own melodies and harmonies.

I'm going to miss the weekly meetings, the rehearsals, though i'm going to enjoy having my Sundays back and sleeping in. I might even get a chance to put my laundry away. Oh but, if they called me up tomorrow, I'd do it all again, in a heartbeat.

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