“Ooooh! It’s so exhausting to have a party!”
I could never forget those lines.
I wrote them myself.
And it was a failure.
Years back, when I was in high school, I had my first attempts to write a play. It was an English version of “Ang Ibong Adarna.” I didn’t use the whole version since it was too long. Instead I used a children’s popular retelling and added some cool elements used in the original version.
It was a failure because the actor who delivered those lines didn’t make enough impact. He was already scolded several times that he couldn’t get the emotion right. At times he seemed dull or other times, instead of portraying exhaustion, he portrayed uninterest or sometimes just laziness.
It was a failure because it snowballed after that. Actors forgot their lines. Actresses thought that their lines sounded more “appropriate” than the common word thus losing the impact. Actors and actresses tripped and fell. Props broke. Lights consisted of flashlights. Worst of all, few people watched.
It was a failure.
I couldn’t blame that actor who started the snow ball because that actor was me.
For those who thought that I have always been comfortable on stage, they are always dead wrong. Even now, I couldn’t understand why my knees tremble whenever I stand on the pulpit or on stage. Years back, it was worse than that. I couldn’t speak at all. I never recited in class even if I knew the answers. I always kept mum and let the others who were more inclined to raise their hands and were more competitive enough to participate do what they want. I would only answer once called or, in most cases, aroused from slumber while classes were in session. I never joined any organization but managed to get my name written on the list of members or officers because my classmates pushed me to – especially my best friend who was one of the most noisy person I’ve ever known.
Still, I tried to help myself. I crawled my way up the stage to get some sort of confidence in me. I began to join the annual inter-class speech choir held by various departments wherein our class was perennially expected to win. The pressure was high and the rehearsals were always until late in the evening. Class pride was at stake. For me, I wanted to know what it was like on stage even if my face was masked or my voice drowned in the cacophony of voices and noises my classmates made.
So there I was, I blew our play with my crappy acting and writing. I decided to bury acting and just focus on writing. Maybe there I could at least improve.
I guess I was just lead on. I was told that this was an AMiCUS Meeting, but why are we doing workshops? Why am I being asked about my stage resume? Never mind, this was a ministry. I was doing this for God. I wanted to share this message for those who are hungry for His word. I wanted to at least lead people to Jesus. I’d do this no matter what.
Months later, we were perfoming the first of the four installments of Estragel. Years later, I got to join all installments and was able to do a lot of different roles: a devil, a kid, a janitor, a waiter, a crazy paranoid ghostbuster wanna be. I also joined the other plays after that.
I couldn’t say I did it on my own. I know I couldn’t have.
I decided to hang the gloves, the jersey or whatever it is you hang when you quit acting. I wanted to focus this time to learn how to write a good story. I can write, but a story is not my strongest suit. I wanted to learn the craft. So this time around, I signed up as part of the crew of the next production.
God’s lead sometimes doesn’t make sense. I tried to avoid the stage but this time around I was going to reprise my first role in Estragel. I thought, why not?
The play was called ESTRAGEL: Redux. Redux because it has rehashed and remade some of the old scripts and collected all the funniest moments of the four installments of Estragel.
I was creaking at first. The lines were still embedded in my memory – faint but still there. I could still recall some of the blocking and some of the expressions. I could still recite some of the lines by heart.
The moment I stood up on stage, I was blinded by the lights. My legs which were trembling at first became firmly planted on the stage. I felt a surge of energy and memory. I felt some comforting power that allowed me to focus. It brought me back to when it all began. Everything was kinda nostalgic.
After the play, I was reminded once more how God could allow you to recover some hidden strengths that you never knew possible. Or most likely, God gives you strength that you could never get from your own. It was not confidence but sheer faith. It was not confidence but dependence on the God who allowed me to step foot once more on stage.
As of this writing, another play is in the works, other projects were lined up as well.
All of these in the name of God.