Leon, Iloilo, November 2007.
Let's not talk about the present. Congratulations to the UP College of Medicine Class of 2012 for being the top performing school in this year's August Physician Licensure Exam (on that note, congrats to Dr. Carol Tan - pride and loyal spawn of Intarmed).
Let's not talk about un-awesomeness as well. This morning's 2nd (and last) exam on pulmonary medicine was quite, shall we say, unoriginal. Like, incredibly, unbelievably unoriginal. Now I'm no longer certain if anyone of us actually knows, and really knows, enough of Pulmo to be worthy of the next year level.
Instead, let's talk about the awesomeness of last Saturday.
Because in theater parlance, it was my first ever two-show day. And it wasn't even a planned two-show day, and by 'planned', I mean conceived and laid out the day before.
Friday, I bought a ticket to the Saturday night performance of Upstart Productions' rerun of Forbidden Broadway. That was after I had my haircut at Bench Fix (don't care how it's stylized), Robinson's Manila. A word of advice: Don't go there. The employees are as rude as can be, and the stylists are as uninterested as a bunch of whales watching badminton.
So there I was, set for my grand Saturday-night return to RCBC Plaza. Then I thought, "This will also be the first weekend for PETA's Bona." And the initial critical reactions were quite good.
Therefore, at around 1:30PM Saturday, I found myself inside a taxi headed for the PETA Theater. I'd thought of taking a jeepney, but then decided against it as it would entail two rides, the second of which would be the horrendous stretch from Manila City Hall to St. Luke's Medical Center.
I Know Him So Well filled the taxi. It was a terrible version, like plastic surgery gone wrong. Two divas screaming their souls out.
Good thinking with the taxi - I arrived at the theater an hour later. But as it's only the opening weekend of a show whose publicity's nowhere near that of The Phantom of the Opera (now at the CCP), quite a lot of tickets were still available. I got a balcony seat for P600.
When I entered the balcony section, I thought this theater must have the best sight lines in the Metro. With an estimated capacity of 400, there mustn't be a bad seat in the house. I settled for the center section's highest row, which was empty at the time.
But heaven must have missed me. Students and teachers of St. Peter's College Seminary (not sure if it's the one from San Pablo, Laguna) were on a field trip. First, they tried out balcony left. Then, some of them saw where I was and so decided to fill the endless void around me. The only awkward thing about it was that I was already seated in the middle of my row, so I ended up being literally surrounded by the group. If you guys ever read this, maybe you can send me links to some of the photos we had.
But seriously though, I'm all praise for this institute (it is an institute, yes?). I may not have age on my side, but perhaps I have passion for the theater enough to be allowed to commend the administrators of St. Peter's for exposing the kids to this side of the arts. Heck, it's beyond brilliant they're taking the time to expose the kids to the arts at all, and not just classroom talk. It's a wonderful, wonderful thing, what they're doing. By the way, the reason they chose such a heavy piece? Walang Sugat at the CCP was sold out.
Also, residents of the Department of Pathology were apparently benign enough that afternoon to be at the theater as well. Fancy seeing you there.
I left the theater at around 5:30PM (no, I still wasn't ready to meet Eugene Domingo in person). Decided that a taxi would be the fastest with 2.5 hours left before my next show, so I got one there and then on the rolling terrain of E. Rodriguez Avenue.
"Traffic's everywhere," the driver told me. But then that's what all drivers are bound to tell you during peak transit hours. And indeed, traffic was hell along the entire stretch of Gilmore Avenue. At that time, it was apparent I was in for a long ride.
So I decided to cut it short. I got off at Gilmore Avenue-Aurora Boulevard and took the LRT 2. Gilmore station has to be best station I've been on yet. And because of this, I finally stepped foot inside Gateway Mall after more than three years of living in Manila. Took the MRT from EDSA to Buendia Avenue. A guy had a badminton racket sticking out of his bag, which made me realize I haven't played since last year. Anyway, I had a quick dinner some place at the corner of EDSA and Buendia, and then had my first jeepney ride along the latter.
And that, in a (humongous) nutshell, was how I transported myself between the two theaters.
Now, on Forbidden Broadway.
Best act of the night had to be Liesl Batucan as drug-addicted Liza Minelli.
The Sondheim segment! ("Into the Words").
Lorenz Martinez as Mandy Patinkin!
Fiddler on the Roof! ("Ambition").
War of the Anitas!
And for a nightcap, here's one from a favorite Sondheim song: "But if life were made of moments, then you'd never know you had one."
The cast of Forbidden Broadway in the Les Miserables segment (L-R): Lorenz Martinez, Caisa Borromeo, Liesl Batucan, and OJ Mariano. Photo from elysplanet.com