Sunday, July 28, 2013

Let Me Be Your Star, or an Update on Life

Time for a much-awaited update on my life, or what I've been up to besides school, theater, TV series, and home, which is nothing significant. We're now six weeks into the third year of med school, or the most benign year we'll ever have in our arduous, multi-ocean journey to legit doctordom. Playing truant is actually fun when you don't look at it that way. We have more time - actually, a lot of spare time - on our hands, and we are extremely grateful, thank you gods in school, may you grant us more free time if that's not asking too much, Amen, Shalom.

Tomorrow, we're officially out of the classrooms and in the hospital, and our block starts with Family Medicine, which is preoccupied whole year round with drafting genograms for the Human Genogram Project. Wish them luck, you guys! Also, last Friday afternoon, we had so much fun sticking needles on each other's hands and arms for the first time (for me, at least). Based on that one-day performance, I would probably be banned from doing IV insertions and blood extractions.

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Went to the closing performance of the second run of Atlantis' "Rock of Ages." I don't know why I missed this when it premiered last year, because it is such a good production. Great for me, too, to have this show as my follow-up for Jett Pangan, after his horrendous blunder in "Nine." More on RoA next Saturday, or in my post-mortem piece for the Inquirer.

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Currently watching "Smash"; finished the first season two nights ago, now in the middle of the second. My two hypotheses on why it got cancelled: First, because the writing is very inconsistent; second, because for a show that's about a show about Marilyn Monroe, its Marilyn is its biggest liability among its actors.

The pilot episode was actually pretty promising, but somewhere along the way, "Smash" descended down the fiery pits of pitiful soap opera-ness. In "Tech," for example, the lead actor in the show-within-the-show just drops out two days prior to opening night, and nobody or nothing in the contract (were there even contracts?!) could stop him? Or how about the character of Ellis, who's made to stand behind every doorway because the audience couldn't possibly grasp the enormity of his role as sniveling snake. And for heavens' sake, that atrocious, unspeakable Bollywood number!

Or how about the casting of Katharine McPhee? This woman cannot act. CANNOT ACT. She is not an actress. She is a singer who sounds like she swallowed two tanks of oxygen. Whatever you call the counterpart of the monobrow in the realm of facial expressions, she has that. If ever she goes to Broadway, she'd be the Kristen Stewart of theater. Have I mentioned McPhee's not an actress?

But I persist with the show, oh yes I do, plodding on and on and on because - well, for the sake and the joy of watching Christian Borle and Megan Hilty, Jeremy Jordan and Andy Mientus, Ann Harada and Wesley Taylor and Bernadette Peters and Uma Thurman speak-singing "Let Me Be Your Star." 

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Before "Smash," tried "The New Normal." Andrew Rannells is over-the-top hilarious, and so is Ellen Barkin when she's spewing racist, sexist comments. But way above the merits of its actors is the fact that it is an overly preachy show, poorly written (sometimes, it sounds like a lecture from religion class), and that it "speaks" instead of "shows." I stopped after the seventh episode.

And before "The New Normal," there was the fourth season of "Glee." Sometimes, it's clear it didn't know which direction it wanted to go. Sometimes, it's just plain messy. It could also be downright offensive (see the school shooting episode that was trivialized in the end). But there were moments of gold, there really were, and there were flashes of light.

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We saw Veronica Velasco's "Tuhog" at the Mall of Asia. Despite its flaws, its tendency to reduce itself to the level of (cheap) evening primetime soaps, it actually put on quite a show. I liked it, is what I want to say. Enjoyed it, to be more accurate. Or maybe it's because I haven't watched enough Filipino films with that baseline caliber of writing.

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Jennifer Egan's "A Visit from the Goon Squad" is literary gold. I think I may be in love with a book, and if that's the case, "Cloud Atlas" and "The Rule of Four" have now found a third member for "Mano Po: The Book Version," starring - literally - books.

THROWBACK SUNDAYS: Marbuena Island Resort, Ajuy, Iloilo, November 2008. Goodness, those crazy high-school moments.

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