Sunday, February 11, 2007


It's not every day that an unsual project proposal falls on my lap. I mean, really, it's not everyday you are asked to do a stage set. When I was asked to attend a meeting for this project, I thought they'd ask me to do the flowers part. Boy, was i dead wrong! Turned out that I was to execute a design by ABS-CBN's Jaime Santos. I was given the job because he believed I am resourceful enough to bring the plan to fruitition in the shortest possible time. Yeah. Whatever.

At first, I had like a week's time to prepare and then tragedy struck my family (my Mom died from her cancer) and I was sidelined from Monday to Thursday to attend to the wake. The show was to be on a Sunday.

On Thursday, after praying to my Mom to help me get through this, I hit the ground running. First on the agenda: Find materials.

Somehow, I sorta knew Mom was helping me with this because I found the place to get fabric before lunch. It was in this nameless shop along C.M. Recto (it used to be a Macdonald's outlet daw) that was filled with fabric from floor to ceiling. The lady in charge ("Just call me Nanay Lilia! Everybody calls me that!") was very, very helpful (she'd better be. I was buying half of the store. Oh, I was exaggerating) and what luck, they also have five sewing machines on hand!

I got white and black jersey (over a hundred yards combined). The black jersey was to cover the entire length of the stage - it was 16 meters long and 7 meters high. Do the math. X = yards of cloth needed if it is 60" width. It took two people to compute. I am so dull with math, ugh. No wonder I am a science major, but I digress.

I also found myself inside the bowels of Divisoria Mall to get 30 pieces of large yantok hullahoops. You'd see what they are for later. Each cost Php 30 (cheaper than the plastic version by Php 5). On my way out, I stubbed one of my toes against a wooden stand so I had to control the bleeding muna for a few minutes. Drat! I am so never going back there again.

Now starts the cutting and sewing. Then assembly and delivery. The former took much of Friday. The assembly took all Saturday and putting it all up in St. Scho's St. Cecilia's auditorium took the whole day of Sunday. The show was at 5.30 PM.

Hands on. With a project idea as quirky as this, I had to be very hands on so as to guide everyone in making sure we do it properly. There was no time to waste! We only have 48 hours!

Ooop, there he goes! One of the staff gets swallowed by the fabric. He is actually tying the strings inside to the yantok to keep it from sliding down.

That's Nanay Lilia hiding behind yards and yards of black jersey.

She saved my life!!! I forgot her name, drat. Providence provided me with a very efficient master sewer. Her being obsessive-compulsive helped in making the final product very neat and precise down to the last stitch. Is it any surprise that she is in Hawaii now? As a sewer, of course. That can be qualified as brain drain, right?

The glob is finally taking shape. It's actually a delight to see the drawings slowly come to life.

We made 5 columns for this stage, 3 on one side and 2 on the other to give it an unbalanced look as well as to emphasize the stage's depth.
Are they cool or what?! The stretchable fabric is amazing!

The black background is now being strung with tivoli lights - 100 pieces of 7 meters each!

Testing...1, 2, 3! The columns are provided with lights.

The main curtains are closed while the auditorium starts to fill up with guests. Little do they know that inside, we were still falling over ourselves.

That's Jaime doing a video check.

Inside, last minute check on the tivoli lights.

And up goes the background curtain! We finished in the nick of time - 15 minutes before curtain call! We all heaved a sigh of relief.

Like stars at night...
And the show begins...

It was a great show, but a tad too long. Some dead air too and miscues with the curtains (it was hilarious, trust me) but it was okay. I was enjoying my work from many areas of the theater.
All's well that ends well. Whew!!! I don't mind doing it all over again, really.

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--  We're opening this busy month of December with this Tagaytay wedding that we worked on earlier this year. Truly, how time flies...