• Jasmine Mendiola

Curtain Call

Tonight I wrap up my last performance as Mira Albano in FLUID… well, you never know, with the demand of the production (modesty aside) its possible that there might be a rerun so i’m crossing my fingers. But just to live the moment (like i always do…)

You know how it feels when you’re caught in between getting scared of what you’re leaving behind but excited for what’s in store for you? That’s how it is right now, at this very moment. I was always told back in college that “you’re only as good as your last performance”. And although tonight’s show wasn’t as “harrowing and rivetting” as it usually was, as a whole, I know that the whole leg was one hell of a performance. Onstage and offstage…

For starters, it was a blessing in disguise for those who don’t know. JJ’s text was a miracle that landed on my lap. Thank you for giving me a chance to relive the most glorious days of my life. And I mean it when I say glorious. I graduated Theater Arts for crying out loud and for the past four freakin’ years, I almost forgot how “imperative” I can be 😉 I would like to think that although that’s possibly a character glitch, its a power that I possess as an actress for which I take pride in. That is why, teaching and mentoring has been second nature to me. And I hope–I sincerely hope that being in this production contributed in the many things that the Theater Arts Seniors can possibly learn throughout their course. For all you know, just hanging out with you guys, taught me more than I can ever learn on my own. You are lucky that the program has improved and that you have the opportunity to work with the greats and that you are open to other techniques and theatrical studies that we never were exposed to before.

It is refreshing to be back in Ateneo. I used to think that after college there’s no going back and that there’s more in store for me. I used to snicker at the thought of the alumni coming back again and again and say at the back of my head, “why can’t you just move on with your lives? There’s a whole real world waiting for you!” And then I realized that you stop learning when you begin to embrace the fact that you’re merely surviving. And just when you think you’re smart ass has taken you to places and made you into someone, you find yourself not an inch wiser than when you were when you decided to stop learning. So coming home to Ateneo–taking tips and fashion inputs from new found friends was more than a penny’s worth of salary I could have earned burning my ass off from working day in day out.

Most importantly, for all those who have seen me perform in college–silly roles like whimpy cry baby Prinsesa Putobumbong in Damit ng Bahaghari, worldy Bawat-Tao, psycho aping-api Sister/ Bilma in purple, Antigone, dark and twisty Solange in the Maids, among other roles–would know that …… my world is the stage; I dance with every dimming of the lights; I paint my world with colored gels; I gauge my future’s brightest between par38s and weave shadows through gobos; that my tears are as quick as a snap of a finger and that the fragility of each role I get strengthens my character. I am crying right now at the thought of how Mira Albano has brought some sense of sophistication (or at least an idea of it!) that I someday will master. How I look forward to the day that I can walk like Mary McFadden and grace my catwalk in the world of fashion and beauty the way Tom Ford has molded Gucci’s style–the way Sir Floy would always remind me to. I look forward to the day that I can see face to face the Guggenheim Jeun and see a Pollock painting right before me when i get to travel; or come face to face with an artist and tell him how his strokes fiercly capture the emotion I fancy at that moment…

Floy also once told me that youth, no matter how ignorant, can be dangerous. And I am proud that the babies I failed to nurture during my senior year has turned out to be wild driven theater machines I am honored to have worked with. JJ, Jean, Trency, Kell, Marcee, Mahar, Mon… regardless of how little my opinion would weigh, I want you to know that I am fiercly proud of what you have made of yourselves, of what YOU have made of the theater arts program and of what you can possibly be.

Floy also once told me, “Jasmine, I need you to be a woman! You’ve been hanging out too much with gay people!” And how delightful it was to be with them. And like what I always say, I really actually don’t mind if Mio turns out to be gay. As long as he is as refined and smart as JJ; as sweet and charming as Gerauld (i have never been called a class act and for that, you will go down in my line of compliments. you have built a huge pillar of compliment i will take with me throughout my hopeful acting career! :D); as caring and as nurturing as Jean; and as hot and interesting as Jake.

In my line of work, I meet photographers left and right–but believe me when I say that I’ve only enjoyed photos when I saw them through the lenses of Jorja and Marcee. I’ve also seen clothes that are marvelous and stunning on the racks of fashion shows but the one that tops my list is Diega’s red dress that has made me look and feel like the ultimate drama queen. For that–and your generosity, Diegs, I just might give in to your “offer” 😉

I would like to think that my generosity as a person, I owe to the passion and the life shared by people I’ve worked with in theater. And sharing roles has been beneficial to me more than self-depriving. I am honored to once again work side by side with the one person I look back to as MY pillar of theater. Missy, I am sorry if i apparently have disappointed you as an apprentice. I hope that fulfilling this role together I have regained your trust and that you can say that you have taught me well with pride and joy in your heart. Pia, I used to underestimate lower classmen thinking that they will never be better than any of us who have come before them. you have proven me wrong. The beauty and the strength that you demonstrate onstage has inspired me. and the spunk and the attitude; and the laughter that you infect us with will be one of my most treasured memories in fluid.

If I was ever frustrated about anything in acting it would be that I can never do musicals or do comedy and character roles simply because my frame is frail and that I was not built for it. For that, the power and the discipline Trency has, I will forever envy–and adore. Not to mention the insight and the friendship, Trenc. Someday, my seniority and experience will be of use to you. Only then can I say that I have use for you. I have yet to reach that point but I do would very much want to be there when things begin happening to you. And although I always tease Nikko for milking the vibrattos and showing off his singing prowess, you are always someone I look forward to seeing backstage simply because you make things seem so easy and simple–I know they’re not but you just ease the difficulties out of my system without even trying 🙂

Floy–you are that one person I am excitedly looking forward to meeting again. It is with great pleasure that you have indulged me with your beauty. You are intrigue and flamboyance rolled in one and for that, you are beautiful to me… as a friend, as a mentor and I will forever be grateful for the mere fact that I had the privilege of at least auditioning in your presence! That alone was something I’d carry in my acting career… I am more than honored to have brought your vision to life. I hope someday you’d learn something from me too. A far cry, i know but well, its my way of saying I’d like to return all the gestures of goodwill and the craftsmanship. Thank you for making a leading lady out of me 🙂 you are… Marvelous.

I was broken by a man who never saw me at my element; it was as if he never saw the light of day so to speak. I, however, had the privilege of acting with, kissing and hitting two decent men I would actually gladly spend the rest of my life with. 🙂 To my Amirs, thank you for giving me moments of comfort, for genuine concern, for putting up with my neediness and clingy-ness and for giving me the chance to prolong moments… captured in the most thought-provoking scenes I could possibly demonstrate in life. Being with you onstage makes me feel complete, at least for moments, throughout this time of brokenness.

Thank you for taking me back behind curtains; for allwoing me to bask in the limelight; and for giving me the chance to take the last bow once again; and hopefully again and again. I don’t know if this draws the same feelings as how it draws tears to my eyes while writing this, but you have just opened the most treasured feelings of glory and honor in my heart by simply performing a masterpiece that speaks so well of the very thing that moves us in this preposterous life. This is the way I imagined I’d give back all the blessings because this is what i know I do best. I hope this time around, the people we tried to please can say that…

“you did well, Jas. you are beautiful and what you gave was more than enough. you are worth what we came here for.”

thank you for the applause; for those who took the time out to see me–alive again!–thank you for watching me, it means a great deal for me to share my craft with you; thank you for the attention; thank you for making me feel beautiful onstage; for the openness to bring me back to life. thank you.

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Jasmine Mendiola

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