I was bit late, thanks to my printer which for some mysterious reason pauses printing every 4 or 5 pages now (not so mysterious, actually... after 3 years and hundreds of copies of various scripts, design studies, etc., it's ripe for replacement), so it took a long while to print 20 copies of the script for Sunday's script reading.
Baguio theater pillar Ferdie Balanag was there on time, and Jojo Lamaria (theater actor turned gymnast turned photo journalist and returning theater actor), so were most OSP veterans: Syrel Amazona (coming from a couple of years' stint as host in a local ABS-CBN show), Ana and Candice Degollacion (allowed by their mom to juggle HRM and Dentistry (respectively) and being in a play after a whole year's absence in theater), Mai Fianza and Freida Fernandez (OSP's dynamic stage management duo) and Eunice Caburao who was coming from a vacation in Bicol. Those who made it in the previous day's auditions were there on time too (a good sign, I hope they keep it up.). Roman Ordoño was late (surprise, surprise). But that's ok, for now... it was a beautiful afternoon and the sunlight through VOCAS' glass windows was warm and felt good against the cold breeze. Smile. Let's begin.
We started the session with brief individual introductions, then I introduced the cast to the material: Paul Dumol's one-act play, "Ang Paglilitis ni Mang Serapio." Several months after we first thought of staging this play, I think I finally have the right cast. We did do a reading months ago, but somehow the energy wasn't there then so the production was shelved for a while.
I segue into my director's treatment, and as I did I scanned the eyes infront of me to make sure I was getting it across, into them, that we understood each other. As I spoke I began to see images of crowds of young students at the front row wondering if Serapio will indeed be blinded; of the staff rushing to get those props ready for rehearsals, of meals cooked for the cast and roadtrips on dirt roads to Kabayan, of performances in the lowlands, of jampacked vans filled with costumes, props, lighting and sound equipment, and artists trying to get to the next gymnasium full of students somewhere in Pangasinan.
And we began to read. Ferdie has clearly studied the script prior to the reading - except for minor stutters here and there, the lines flowed out of him like a song. The younger ones obviously are new to the theater, not exactly knowing how to read a script, which are directions and which are lines. Jojo's delivery of the word "federacion" gave me ideas for his character as the "Hukom."
Running time: Approx. 45 minutes.
It felt good seeing almost everyone getting lost in the story as the reading progressed. From cold deliveries of the lines the actors slowly began to give more and more life to the script. "Si Sol na anak ni Sol," "Pag-aaruga, pag-aaruga, pag-aaruga ang krimen niya," "Huwag niyong bubuksan 'yan, parang awa niyo na, huwag niyong bubuksan 'yan!" I can't wait to begin blocking this play.
But not yet. One more reading, script and character analysis... then we begin putting together the story onstage... slowly getting those stage movements right, getting the rhythm in sync, pauses when the moment calls for it, outbursts when it moment is right for it, until those lines flow out of each and every actor on stage like a song.