Posts Tagged ‘bindlestiff studio’

PMSTA Kick Off Fundraiser

I’m hosting a fundraiser tonight for Pinays Maintaining Sisterhood Through Arts(PMSTA), a women’s theatre group made of ladies from Bindlestiff Studio. A bit nervous but at least I don’t have to memorize any lines. There will be stand up comedy, some music, some original works that will be premiering at our show in October, and of course, some gorgeous ladies, as always.

I’ll post some pics tomorrow if I get any.

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Strength Onstage

Finally read the monologue to others tonight. I rewrote it again all the way up to the last minute at work today. It took a lot out of me to share it as it was based on a true event. Of course, this was only a first test run, not the actual show so I hadn’t memorized it. No one had ever heard it yet, not even the women’s group I’m working with. They heard the original version but not the rewrite. I hope people liked it. It’s still a work in progress so I recorded it so that I could hear it as an audience member. My goal is to tell my story and hope that listeners can go through my emotions with me. Hopefully, I’ll get there by October. Thank god for art. Without it, I wouldn’t have any outlet to relieve my pain.

Violated. Restraint. Support.

I’m going to work on getting rid of the double chin.

Fears & Truths on Stage

So, I’ve committed to reading my monologue at Bindlestiff Studio’s Wordy Word on March 30th. Wordy Word is a bi-weekly free event that Bindlestiff puts on for artists to try out what they’ve written. It could be anything from a play to a poem to a joke to a song, anything! The audience can give you feedback and tell you what they liked and what they didn’t like so that you can get a sense of what’s working and what’s not. I really didn’t want to reveal my piece until the show in October but I guess it wouldn’t hurt to get some feedback so that I can figure out what direction I’m going.

So many movies I’ve seen, stories I’ve heard, shows I’ve attended–they usually have some form of a happy ending for either the protagonist, a supporting character, and sometimes maybe even the antagonist. I chose to write a happy ending monologue that was based on a story with a NOT-so-happy ending. But after getting feedback about my piece from Sunday’s 6 hour meeting, I’m thinking I might have to take out exactly what I didn’t want to take out: the happy ending! That would mean tracing along the lines of the goddamn truth.

Robert McKee, the author of “Story,” said that “Story is metaphor for life.” He goes on to say,

Writers of portraiture must realize that facts are neutral. The weakest possible excuse to include anything in a story is: “But it actually happened.” Everything happens; everything imaginable happens. Indeed, the unimaginable happens. But story is not life in actuality. Mere occurrence brings us nowhere near the truth. What happens is fact, not truth. Truth is what we think about what happens.

I guess I need to step far enough away from the character so that it doesn’t stay too close to the truth. Otherwise, it will be difficult to make up the story. It’s hard to bend the truth and keep up with the lies but that’s pretty much what a story is.

And working under pressure doesn’t always produce the best work neither. Not to mention, I’ve got stage fright. I’ve got it bad. I don’t like being the center of attention. It’s scary because you’re afraid you’ll drop a line & forget everything you’ve been working so hard on for the last few months, embarrassing yourself onstage. I get this feeling even when it’s my turn to introduce myself in a class. My heart beats like a ticking time bomb and there’s nothing I can do to calm it down. However, once I get onstage, it’s smooth sailing. My mind switches to committing myself fully into doing my best. I cannot wait to get offstage but while I’m up there, I might as well get comfortable. When it’s over, I’ll realize I was worried for nothing. I admit to having had some alcohol a couple of times before a show to calm myself. Not that I’m not professional, just that I knew I could because it was standup comedy and it would have only added to my set.

All right well, I’ve got 3 weeks to fine tune this baby. I bought myself a voice recorder and placed it in the car because it’s always when I’m driving that I randomly come up with great ideas. I figured it was safer than texting the memo in my phone. Let the creativity begin.

I ♥ the Stiff

Looks like I’ll be participating in Bindlestiff Studio’s Stories High Stage Readings this year! It’s a small part but I’m happy to do it. Stories High is a program that Bindlestiff Studio has every year where they hold writing workshops, acting workshops and directing workshops for new or seasoned students. After the workshops are over, the writers’ stories are handed to the directors, the directors get the actors, and they culminate into a show for all to see. This reading is a bit of a preview for people to hear the stories that might be produced for the show. It gives the writers a chance to hear their plays and to do any rewrites they wish if needed. Bindlestiff Studio (affectionately called The ‘Stiff) is the only permanent, community-based Filipino-American theater in the nation. The history of this theater is such a great story of love for theater.

Just to give you the gist of it, the theater was originally a space within a run-down hotel that the SF Redevelopment Agency (SFRA) decided to tear down and rebuild. That meant the theater had to go but there was no promise that they would get the space back after rebuilding. Protests in front of city hall began and the pro-Bindlestiff Studio heads fought to get the space back after the new building goes up. The SFRA said that Bindlestiff would have to raise around $100,000(?) to prove there was a need for the theater to exist. Really, how is a theater that charges people $10 – $15 to see a show going to raise that kind of money? Consequently, Bindlestiff got displaced and moved into a temporary space across the street in Natoma Alley, which was really the basement of an apartment building. That space was horrible; small, inconvenient, and the tenants always complained about our sound. After much dispute, public outcry, protests, negotitations and whatnot, Bindlestiff finally proved itself worthy and they got their home back. I can still remember circling the steps of City Hall, chanting & fighting for the theater. You can read about Bindlestiff here. There is a Groundbreaking Ceremony happening tomorrow night and I’m excited to go! I’ll be working as a volunteer at the pledge table.

I’ve been volunteering for this theater since 2005 and through them, I’ve been given the chance to act, direct, stage manage, do stand-up comedy, shadow puppetry, film, write, and music. Being a part of this world has changed my life for the better and I’m grateful to be able to give back.

Currently, there is an urgency campaign called the Adopt-A-Theater Capital Campaign and the goal is to raise $100,000 to cover the costs of lighting, sound equipment, seats, office equipment, etc. To get updates on Bindlestiff Studio you can find them on Facebook or Twitter.

See ya at the Stiff!

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