Sunday, March 15, 2015

Filming a musical, staging a festival, participating in a revolution and nursing a flu

I really just have to remind myself that I am not that 23-year-old young man in tattered denim pants and jacket embarking on a new adventure in a new yet very familiar city where 8-hour long rehearsals during the day can still be capped with a night out in town at night.

Not that I've been barhopping though, but the last few weeks were toxic. The days leading tot he weekend of February 21-22 were spent polishing scenes scheduled to be filmed on the first two of a four-day shooting schedule. We plunged into those first two days blindfolded: although the play was a familiar one, filming remains a mostly un-chartered territory for the group. Editing the those first few scenes now, I can see how much we still have to learn about film production.

First two days done, and we schedule more rehearsals. We lose six dancers who were cast in supporting roles in several scenes, new dancers were brought in and we start from scratch. We receive word that the Baguio Flower Festival Foundation, Inc. has allotted some funds for the staging of the 5th Baguio Music Festival. We doubt if we cold still take on the responsibility of putting up a marathon concert, so we tried to get beg off. But we also couldn't let the opportunity to provide a gig for 20 or so local bands and individual musicians go, so we reconsider. In the meantime, almost everything's ready for the last two days of the filming of "Pangarap," a musical on the life of one Fernando Bautista.

Insert a People's Summit right here: February 25. Wasn't able to be of much help during the preparations, but I tried to be there early enough on the day of the summit. Projector set-up, registration ongoing, refreshments table organized and we were overwhelmed by the number of participants. We were expecting around one or two hundred, and we had over 600 who came, some had to sit outside the auditorium already.

Energy was inspiring, you know each one just wanted to do their share in making Baguio a better place for all of us.

Back to Pangarap the next day. That Saturday was also the day of the street dancing parade of the Baguio Flower Festival, and I didn't want to underestimate the traffic that it could bring. I arrive at the venue before sunrise ahead of the most of the throngs who were expected to fill up every inch of space along the parade route. There's a barber's chair on stage, I finish most of the coffee I got from 7-11 downstairs and take a nap.

We go through the next two days more smoothly, we did learn a lot from the first weekend. In the meantime, we have confirmed our participation in the 5th Baguio Music Festival. The following Monday after a very, very long Sunday, we were neck-deep in pre-production work for the planned open-air marathon concert at Wright Park. 22 bands and individual musicians so far, our budget can barely cover all expected expenses, but we end up adding more bands to the list. How can you say no to fellow artists who, just like you, are struggling to make ends meet? We order 120 souvenir t-shirts to be printed to be given away for free to every single participant. Did I mention that our budget can barely cover all expenses? We also decided to buy a television set to be given as donation to the Wright Park Pony Boys Association - a good source of amusement for the pony boys particularly on lean days when hardly customers show up for a ride.

The sun was brightly shining when we started setting up the stage and the sound system on March 8, Sunday, also the last day of Panagbenga 2015. Wright Park was a good choice, I thought, away from the crowds at the Central Business District.

By 3PM the first band was onstage doing a sound check. We requested for each performer to limit their time on stage to a maximum of 12 minutes, enough for 2-3 songs. But, once up there, you can hardly do anything anymore when they suddenly segue into an encore or a long ad lib. We were running late by 30 minutes by the time the first hour was up. Schedule kept moving by 5 minutes or so with every performance, some bands get irked, but hey, we're just trying to spread the love and give everyone a chance to be part of this.

The dusty, folk, rock and country music-filled concert, ended around 10pm and it was already midnight when I got to sit on a chair at home. I fall asleep in my chair.

I wake up to a slight fever, a bit of coughing and colds. I shrug it off and start doing post-production work on Pangarap. The body aches came later that day, but still had enough energy to go on working, even able to squeeze in some yard work, which I have neglected the past weeks, in between the splicing, sound processing and rendering.

Felt much better by midweek, so I proceed to start prepping The Living Room for the weekend's Yoga session - mopping, waxing, scrubbing the floors, moving furniture and plants around, even thought of re-opening the weekend cafe. The chills, fever and coughing lingered, but seeing the studio take shape just kept me going.

Went out yesterday to buy the necessary inventory for The Living Room's kitchen. Wanted to make curry, some yogurt, falafels, etc., but after I got home, the fever has gone up, the couch has worsened and I barely had enough energy to make the yogurt. At midnight I woke up shivering and no amount of blankets, sweaters, sweat pants, socks could keep me warm enough to stop the chills. I was shaking so bad, couldn't stop it and it really felt like I was going into hypothermia.

I was in and out of sleep, a bit delirious every now and then RL told me this morning - I was mumbling and mouthing off all sorts of things last night and most of it I have no recollection of whatsoever. I woke up this morning with a very heavy body and a really bad headache.

And, back to work.