It has been two days since SP!!T reassured me that poetry brings people together.
So much happened on Saturday. We had rehearsals at 9 AM in the morning of the show. A good friend of ours and fellow cast member, Kevin Mai, pulled an all-nighter. Yes, he was THAT excited. Everyone was excited. We had a thorough rehearsal that morning. I felt ready.
When Steph and I arrived at home, we took a nap. Later we learned that Mark also took a nap. Apparently, we all lacked sleep the night before because we were so excited for the show. At 6:00 PM, we met up with Susan and carpooled together to the Urban Theatre in Long Beach.
We were welcomed by the show sign in front of the door outside which was literally as tiny as a flier. I love grassroots. We do what we can with what we have.
Before the show started, we all joked around with the rest of the cast. Mostly, it involved a lot of us reciting each other’s poems. It was a poetry battle. One after one. Comeback after comeback. What a great way to relieve any anxiety we had. No one looked nervous.
The venue was packed! Each seat was filled and people had to stand at the back of the theatre. The audience was amazing. They were so responsive. At first, it was nerve-racking when we stepped onto the stage. But once it was our turn to speak our hearts out, we were welcomed with open arms. With our words, we gave them the biggest and tightest hugs that would make your childhood stuffed animal jealous.
All the poets represented themselves to the fullest. When I was listening and watching my fellow cast members spitting it on stage, I honestly felt inspired and was proud of each of every one of them. After every performance, we all showed our love and respect for each other.
I am not sure about the rest of forWord, but for myself personally, I was feeling the pressure every time. No lie. I was reciting my lines and recalling the gestures over and over again in my head.
It helped a lot that the cast was also there backstage. After all, we’re all in the same boat. As if we had sea sickness, we reminded each other that we will stay afloat no matter what. Once I stepped on the stage, I felt renewed. I was ready to speak and let my voice be heard.
The cast started the night with a group piece, “I am a man / I am beautiful.”
Steph and I performed “Once Friends” and “Shared Roots.”
Mark performed “Realization” and “Untitled.”
The cast ended the night with a group piece, “I am a poet.”
Thank you to Susan for putting up with us (mostly Mark and his jokes)!!!
Thank you to the cast: Alex Alfaro, Brian Lofing, Essence Brown, Hosanna Wong, Joy Oladokun, Kevin Mai, Mark Maza, Miguel Mendoza, Nghiem Le, Porschia L. Baker, Samantha Parks, Stephanie Sajor, and Tim Cheung.
Thank you to our lovely director, KasiTeyana.
Thank you to the original SP!T director, Amery Ken Thao.
Thank you to Elaine, Bani, and Emilio for coming out to support. Means A LOT.
Thank you to everyone who watched the show. And thank you to everyone who supported us along the way!
After the show, we congregated in the parking lot trying to decide where to eat. Took nearly forever, but we finally decided to celebrate the night at T.G.I. Fridays in Cerritos.
What a coincidence forWord and Uncultivated Rabbits happened to celebrate at the same place as the Urban Theatre Movement crew. Without them, SP!!T II would not have been possible. It was a perfect way to conclude the night. Good times all around.
By any chance, did you happen to miss the show?
ENCORE NEXT SATURDAY, April 2nd!!! Details to come soon.
- Eddy M. Gana Jr.