Unlike other little girls I grew up watching Snow White as a musical taped on a betamax, clad  in all it’s grainy old school glory and noisey-echoey-audio. I remember loving the way they’d move from scene to scene, how the stage unfolded into different places, how the dwarves moved their beds in when it was bed time, (I loved the dwarves named beds) and hid it away when it was time to go to work . I’d watch it repeatedly along with other vintage cartoons that were taped on various betamax’s my mom kept for the kids amusement. Now that I look back I  realized, that Snow White musical is the reason why I love theatre so much, and even if I thought I missed out on the cartoon version of Snow White, I don’t think I’d ever have it any other way.

At 8, when my family found out I could carry a tune, my late Aunt, Tita Au (short for Aurora of course) made me sing along with the Miss Saigon Broadway soundtrack non-stop while sitting on our living room floor, lyrics on hand and a brush on the other, she would fill in for the duets, and wouldn’t stop ’til dinner. She then graduated me to singing in her open terasa while she cooked Sunday lunch for the family. My mom and tita Au had a collection of musical soundracks such as – Miss Saigon, Cats, and Les Miserables, that echoed through the music room every Saturday and Sunday afternoon and I had the privilege of growing up and singing all of these great songs.

Yes, I attended summer acting workshops, voice classes, performed in plays. My last one in particular made high school life bearable. I was in my freshman year, it was a school play and it was the reason why I started college so late. Our rehearsal call time was from 6pm-12am, I was exhausted when I got home and hardly had the energy to study. But I didn’t want to quit, I was the only freshman they cast and the rest were seniors. Before I knew it, I had a big family of girls from the same school, and surprisingly men too (I went to an all girls private school), different generations in one big production.

For a whole week we had the Aguinaldo Theatre all to ourselves, running up and down the stage, eating our snacks, lying around on the floor. I was at the height of my element, and even if my grades were still dangling on the side, I didn’t care. They were the people that were there for all the growing pains of my freshman year…I automatically had a math tutor, a lot of  big sisters and brothers, and people who cared and understood me.

The cast party was a mix of awesomeness and sadness…we had games, awards, food, and for the older ones beer. We shed some tears as we said our last goodbyes and just like the song from the play said…

“Goodbye God Bless
Perhaps one day
We’ll be together, one family
We must go on to our new lives
Good luck goodbye, we must go on
Good luck goodbye, you have our love

We all had to let each other go, and hope that we’d meet again.

They re-staged that play 2 years later, I came to say my hello’s twice, first at one rehearsal and the second on the actual gala night. They squealed they’re obligatory “you’re all grown up!!!” cooed over my highlighted hair and my slimmer physique. I didn’t join them this time, but I watched as they staged it for the last time, I knew if I did it one more time I wouldn’t be able to let go of them and the stage.

Musicals were also a big part of my high school and college life…Rent, They’re Playing Our Song, Miss Saigon Philippines, Tick, Tick, Boom, Rocky Horror Show. I still haven’t shaken my theatre addiction, and honestly I miss being on the stage. I would definitely consider doing it again, for that wonderful thrill at the backstage before the show begins, and the adrenaline rush while actually performing. I’d do it again for the people, being with the same group for months, rehearsing, memorizing lines and songs, laughing, crying, and acting together. I’d do it again for the applause and the flowers afterward, the wild cast party and the bitter-sweet goodbye. If only to be on the stage again.

The betamax-taped-vintage-Snow White, gave me gifts without my knowledge, the passion for performance, and the love for the stage and like I said, I would never have it any other way.

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