10th of December, year 2011

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I still have my script and ticket with me!

5:30 A.M., Saturday, December 10,2011— The moment I heard my annoying alarm clock, I got up and told myself “It’s play day” with a smirk. *Yawn* I jumped out of the bed, readied my clothes and rushed to the bathroom. It’s going to be a big day. It had to be.

The play’s about finding the ‘real’ Joey (portrayed by me), as the picture of the ticket above suggests. Joey is a skeptic, cold-hearted man who doesn’t believe in Christmas and despises it. His hatred for it was brought forth by his noisy and violent childhood. He’s very much like Scrooge from Charles Dickens’s 1843 novel, A Christmas Carol.

6:30 A.M.— On my way to the venue of the christmas-themed school play, I thought of the things that might happen. What if I screw up? What if I forget my lines? What if I stumble on the stage? What if–“Okay! Dito na tayo!” (Okay! We’re here!) said my aunt who was kind enough to drive me to my destination. I said “Thank you po! Bye” as I brought her hand to my forehead. (Saying po and bringing someone’s hand to your forehead is, in the Philippines, a sign of respect to your elders).

7:00 A.M.— Walking around the cinema, I was kind of relieved that it wasn’t as big as I expected. *Phew* I ran my lines on the stage, trying to emulate what I had to do on the actual play. Walking around, getting myself familiar with the stage, testing the mics, etc. It was fun! I got excited!

9:00 A.M.— Most of the cast are already in the venue, practicing their lines and dance routines. As game time approaches, everybody’s getting their clothes and makeups done and the cinema was already half-full. The staff were setting the stage, testing the sound systems, and readying the props. 2 months of preparation is about to come to fruition.

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10:00 A.M.– And we’re live! Everyone’s lined-up according to appearance and I can hear people telling others how nervous they are. Before the play started, everyone, including the audience were asked to pray and then sing the National Anthem, as per usual. The props were set up, and the first batch of students to perform went to their places. After the first performance, my first solo part came. The spotlight was on me, and all that I can see is the, err, spotlight. I felt cold and alone. Until my co-star started her lines.

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As the play progressed, Joey became more acquainted with Christmas, and found himself believing in it. Sometimes. He participated in Christmas activities because of his love of interest, Erica. A cheerful girl who helps Joey throughout the play find his inner Christmas soul, and successfully doing so in the latter part of the play. And also because of his friend, Addie. Another girl who is very enthusiastic about Christmas, and helps Erica make Joey a ‘believer’.

I went backstage after my first scene and talked to some people. Until I noticed that I forgot to turn off my lapel mic. Fail. (╯°□°)╯︵ ┻━┻

Scene after scene, students (by grade level) performed their assigned routines, and some specific students, sang solo. And alas, my batch’s turn (3rd year highschool students) was up. We danced to Justin Bieber‘s version of Jingle Bell Rock. We wore Christmas tree-printed polo shirts, white pants, and a Santa Claus hat to complete the look. I forgot to wear mine, so I was the only one without a Santa hat!  Strike 2. (╯°□°)╯︵ ┻━┻

Come scene ten of eleven, I was kind of mental blocked for 2 seconds. I forgot my lines! Woohoo! It was an emotional scene, with I, Joey, almost finally believing in Christmas and thanking Erica for her guidance. To not make it obvious, I scanned the whole cinema and looked at people’s eyes (so they can feel me, oh yeah), took a deep breath to show them that I was having an emotional moment, and continued my lines. Yes! Clever huh? Kidding.

After that I-almost-screwed-up!-scene, we got up and went backstage to give way to the next performers. For the next and final scene, I got dressed up in a Santa Claus costume, which means I became a believer, and then I accompanied pre-school students in their performance. So I basically played Santa Claus then after Scrooge. What?!

We concluded the school play with a performance where all the cast/students participated. We clapped, danced, and sang to the song Star Ng Pasko. The audience got up from their seats and clapped with us. It was phenomenal. So I was all smiles, proud of myself and my co-stars. We did it! It was over!

While everyone was taking pictures of their children on-stage, the main cast were called to go backstage. We were so happy that we didn’t encounter major hiccups. Everything was just on cue. Our director was in tears as she shared her happy thoughts with us. And after congratulating us, she started a prayer thanking Him for a successful event. We chanted, thanked, and hugged each other goodbye. My grandmother was so fast she’s already backstage to catch up on me and pull me out! Anyways, it was all good. My first acting stint was a success. The pain and tears I got from someone putting that stupid guy-liner on was worth it. Advanced Merry Christmas!

Balagtas, Carlos Joshua R.

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