Posts Tagged ‘stories high’

Productive Weekend

The Stories High Reading was a success! I did my best and hopefully, I satisfied the writer with my performance. Although, I did create a pause at one point because I got lost in the long narrative but hopefully, it wasn’t so long of a pause that I killed it. It was held at Passion Cafe. I like that place, they have cool antiques as their decor and the food was delicious. They made a $3 Bindlestiff sangria especially for us and it was sooooo gooood!! That was classy of them.

Looking back on it, my weekend was very productive. Finally had my meeting with my website designer friend and he basically guided me towards the right direction in terms of what I need to do for my website. I am so lucky to know the people I know who can give me the resources I need to complete this project. At the same time, the roadblocks I hit have become challenges that I need to work on getting through and they are slowly defining a side of me I never knew I had. It’s going to be a lot of hard work but I’m prepared to do this. One thing that struck a chord in me was when he said, “Ava, you’re starting an e-business here.” I never really quite thought of it that way. I’m hardly a business woman so I hope I don’t run myself into the ground here. Out of all the projects I’ve ever taken on, this one is the biggest; this one is personal. Hopefully, my vision is clear enough and there are enough people out there who will love my idea as much as I do. The important thing here is that I don’t want to create it so that people will use it. I want to create it so that I can use it.

I also was able to meet up with some beautiful women to work on our PMSTA show. We laughed, we cried, we shared, we reminisced, and most importantly, we love. It’s going to be a great show.


Reading, Breathing, Being

I spent the greater part of my evening last night practicing a Pilipino accent. It was in preparation for the Stories High Stage Reading I have to do tonight. It’s just a few lines but the lines I do have, they make me feel awkward. I know as an actress, you have to be professional about everything but I can’t help but feel almost as if I’m making fun of Filipinos. If I were Filipino, I might feel more comfortable but since I’m not, it just makes me feel like I’m derogatorizing the entire people. I know that’s not a word but it makes sense to me right now so I have to use it.

Why is it that I can’t get over this feeling? I mean, isn’t that what actors do? They pretend to be someone they’re not? That’s all I’m doing here, right? Unfortunately, my mind begins to think too deeply about how 95% of the audience will be Filipino and my job is to convince them into thinking I am Filipino. Hmm, I don’t know if I can do that without making it seem like I’m a poser. And even if they don’t think it, I still feel it. In order to pull this off, my rehearsing involves channeling all the mothers of my BFFs and become them, just for a few minutes. I’m not a gossip girl but I have to be a tsismosa for this part, which is so not me. A tsismosa is a Filipino word for someone who loves gossip. On top of that, the director wants me to be “OA.” OverActed. Oh gawd, my area of weakness & yet, my favorite form of comedy. I’ll be channeling Will Friedle for inspiration on that part. He’s always OA.  

There’s a saying that goes, “Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery” – Charles Caleb Colton. I plan on blowing the audience right out of the water. My character’s name is Verita, which means “truth.” Like George Burns once said, “Acting is all about honesty. If you can fake that, you’ve got it made.” I just need to get up there, commit to my truth and just breathe. Perhaps this will be the beginning of my return to the stage. Wish me luck!

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!