back in college, i was part of a short play for an English class. our teacher was cyan abad, and we had to perform samuel beckett’s play, waiting for godot. i forget which character i portrayed, whether i was vladimir or estragon. what i remember are our countless rehearsals and improvisations, and our director being slowly harassed by our rowdiness. we performed in front of our english class, and i absolutely love the hilarity and the absurdity of it all. waiting for godot is, after all, part of the theater of the absurd (“This implies that it is meant to be irrational. Absurd theater does away with the concepts of drama, chronological plot, logical language, themes, and recognizable settings.”).
we were such a funny bunch, i had to wear basketball shorts, and my co-actor had to disrobe me. we also wore newspaper cutouts, part of our minimalist approach to the play. and of course, the lines were crudely followed. in the end, we got an A. must be the newspaper, or the carrot and banana that we used as props. tee-hee.
fast forward to this writing moment: i realize that i enjoy portraying guy roles in plays. credit that to the fact that my grade school and high school days were spent in an exclusive girls’ school. imagine the horror of my girly classmates whenever we had plays to accomplish. they didn’t want to audition for the guy roles. so us girls who wanted to get things done right away took the guy roles. thus, i was ebenezer scrooge in Grade 4 for A Christmas Carol. I was a guy in a Lapu-Lapu tableaux. (tableaux, ahh, you will be entertained by tableaux when you’re a viewer, but when you’re part of it, you will fall in love with immobility, with fooling the people. you will find the deception from both sides hilarious.). i was Peter Quince in Grade 6 for A Midsummer Night’s Dream. in high school, i had beard penciled on my face for another project. we even had a picture taken, with us in guy roles brandishing swords and looking stupid.
but in Grade 7, for our Ora Et Labora (that’s Prayer and Work, St. Scho’s ultra-core values) play, a play about the lives of St. Scholastica and St. Benedict, guys from our brother school were required to play the guy roles. Freedom! i auditioned for the part of a Flame Dancer. i knew i could dance, but it’s one of my secrets. i passed the tough auditions, thank god. i wanted to get the part out of pride. only a few girl roles were available, and i wanted to either be a Temptress or a Flame Dancer. temptress was crossed out because my frame didn’t fit the role (read: i wasn’t voluptuous). our costume was a sexy dress in reds and oranges. when we whirled, we were like a circle of fire in a frenzy. we had very sensual steps with lots of floor movements and jazz-ballet moves. we were supposed to signify Benedict’s passion for God. but we moved as if in a sensual dream. no guy roles this time for me, only a vortex of fire in this play.
what now, then? i realized i’ve come to love my waiting for godot role; vladimir and estragon have finally recruited me. i am waiting, for what, i don’t know. all the same, i will continue being a spinning pillar of fire. careful, i might singe you.