After witnessing the recently concluded 50 Years of Telling Stories, a musical gala by the Repertory Philippines, there was much to learn and much to be shared. The best word to describe our feelings after the show was: emotional. It was a show that poured out the heart and soul of everyone who was and is a part of REP. The last 50 years began with birth pains and blossomed into a beautiful forest.
Here are 10 secrets they shared with us through the musicale:
10. Blood, sweat, and tears are part of the job
Hard work, dedication, a lot of perseverance, patience, and discipline are definitely necessary. Without it, all you have are heartaches, heart breaks, disappointments, and a broke pocket. Strive to achieve your goals and don’t stop when you’re satisfied. Keep going until you’ve got nothing left.
9. Pursue your dreams and bless others with it
When you’re a fool who dreams, for sure there are others who have the same dreams as you do. You just won’t know it until you get word out there. The founders of REP had the dream of staging full production plays and musicales with the most artistic lights and sounds, stage sets, costumes, make up, and talents who are able to put on a hat and play it as if nothing else existed.
These actors staged their first show and attracted many others to do the same. They were not afraid to share the little they had with others, and in turn, Repertory Philippines has grown to innumerable trained actors, including children who perform plays for younger audiences.
8. Have a vision
The founders of REP had a vision to stage the best productions, discover, and develop Filipino talents. They started 50 years ago with less than 10 people in the group. Their first ever audience was a mere seven people. It was this passion that drove them to where they are now. Fifty years after, they have that same passion as they first started, with already countless members trained and 10 other theatre companies built from what they have started from scratch.
7. Surround yourself with people who have the same vision as you do
After the first show, they did not let disappointment stop them from pursuing their dreams. Bibot Amador, Baby Barredo, Leo Martinez, and the rest of the founding members kept on for another seven years, performing for free and always giving their best in every performance, even when they didn’t get pay checks. Because they did it together and they did it for one thing they all loved: theatre.
6. The show must always go on
There will be obstacles. In every error committed, every detail failed, every actor who goes sick or a missing prop, a ruined make up, wardrobe malfunction, sound glitches, whatever goes crazy, the show must always, always go on. They had many reasons to stop doing whatever they were doing. Some have died along the way and have not seen the great vision they had for the company, but they never let anything stop them, because the show had to always go on.
5. Believe in yourself first
The only way to start is to start. If there had been no 1st play, there wouldn’t have been the 2nd or the 3rd or the 4th or the 444th. Even with the 1st play that had the seven people in the audience, there was much to gain, there was much to learn. They had the courage to get themselves out there and not be afraid of failing, because they believed it was worth risking their necks for. If they didn’t believed they could, the 1st show would never have had happened. What, then, would professional theatre in the Philippines look like today?
4. Teach, share, and build a community (not compete)
REP was proud to have spearheaded the professional theatre scene in the Philippines and do not regret training people and letting them graduate to build other companies that also train other actors. It has been their joy and pride to see their alumni grow and multiply inside and outside of their wings. In fact, they hope to even collaborate with these other companies in the future.
3. Always remember why you started
Sticking to the vision and the mission is important. They held on to their “why” and the company has not lost its purpose. Up to today, it still continuously grows actors, directors, singers, dancers, production professionals, and crew from the ground up. Training people from the likes of Joy Virata, Monique Wilson, Pinky Amador, Franco Laurel, Sheila Francisco, Markki Stroem, Morisette Amon, Mitch Valdes, Ayam Barredo-Eckstein, Cara Barredo, Cocoy Laurel and EJ Villacorta, REP hopes that it will continue to build more stars in the future and they have to be. Never mediocre, but always the best!
2. Do all things with gratefulness
Just as they were grateful with a handful of people in the audience, they were grateful for the flocks of people who came thereafter. They were grateful for the people who supported them day in and day out. They were grateful for the people who came and for the people who left. The attitude of gratefulness led them to become bigger, stronger and wiser.
1. Never, never, never give up!
It was never a smooth sailing journey for REP. And while they’ve made it 50 years, there’s still so much to learn and so much more to grow. They still hope to accomplish so much more from their current pool of actors and those aspiring to be part of REP. More obstacles will come, for sure. Nonetheless, with great purpose comes great responsibility. Giving up should never be an option.
Congratulations to Repertory Philippines! Thank you for being the perfect example of pursuing your dreams and keeping the fire alive, for inspiring not only actors but even artists and every other fool who has impossible dreams!