Curtain Call

Back in college, I acted in stage plays. I had the opportunity to participate in one where our group was one of the winners of the First National Drama Competition at the Cultural Center of the Philippines. We staged masks_bw“Ang Paglilitis ni Mang Serapio” (Serapio’s Trial), a one-act play about a beggar society where dreaming and hoping is a crime punishable with eye gouging. I played the main antagonist “Ang Unang Tagapagtanong” (the first prosecutor).

The winning came as a big surprise to most people who know that most of us are first time actors and our director was doing her job for the first time. While we competed with big universities with big stylized production sets and numbers, our set design was composed of sewn together sacks, old tires and our make-up were charcoals because our university would not support a bunch of greenhorns dreaming the impossible dream of winning against giants.

So what helped us win? The curtain call. Our director said the best thing right after the casting call was completed. She said the goal was the curtain call. It’s the time when the curtains are dropped and the actors are called to take a bow. She clarified the goal. She said our goal, each and everyone of us, from the main character to the bit player with the littlest thing to say is to get the audience up on their feet, each time one of us go out to take a bow, the clapping must go louder and louder until the auditorium almost explodes in the loud applause and shrieking of the audience so swept off their feet by our performance. We kept a vivid picture of that curtain call and we were giddy with excitement of the prospect of making it happen. Everyone played his heart out to contribute to the loud applause. Later on, audience would tell us there was tremendous energy in our play that they goose bumps. There was no bit player in our play and as I said I know why.

So what is your curtain call? What is the thing that drives you to your best performance today? Are you excited by it? does it drive you to do better everyday, every opportunity? I hope it does. I hope you are giddy with excitement of the prospect of achieving what you want to achieve when curtain call comes.


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