Shakin’ My Groove Thing at Priscilla Manila

I posted a status message a few weeks back on Facebook. It’s something Basti said:

“I don’t love mama anymore. I will live with lola na. Lola is my new mama. Mama, you go to work na lang.”

Awwwwwww right?

Well it’s because I have been engulfed, encompassed and enamored by the stage spectacular that is Priscilla Queen of the Desert at Resorts World Manila. Since the last week of April, my life has been all about this musical. Well, the hair and makeup of it all, that is. My friend Myrene is the heart and soul behind the hair and makeup design, and I took on the challenge of being her assistant for the production. It was a good time to dust off my production manager skills from the baul and put it to good use. If you must know, the wig changes for Priscilla are, for lack of a better word, NAKAKALOKA.

It’s a good stint for me. I love learning about hair and wig design and management. Hair styling is not one of strong points or my passions, and building this skill is something I’ve been wanting to do. Myrene’s team is composed of some people who have mad hairstyling skills. She chooses her people well. They are a fun, kooky bunch and it’s pure joy to be working alongside them. Along with the hair team, I am privileged to be working with my favorite makeup brand, MAC, as a guest artist for the makeup of Priscilla. It’s one of the best parts of working for Priscilla Manila, really, getting to know the other MAC affiliate and guest artists. Such wonderful people. The slots are rotated for each show, and it’s nice to see different people coming in for makeup duty.

Putting on makeup for Red Concepcion; some of the MAC makeup artists for Priscilla Manila; the hair team out for a meal; my workstation.

I had to attend a workshop on drag makeup (kung saan pinagpawisan ako ng malamig) and learn about the differences between the features of men and women, and the technique on how to make a man look more like a woman. Fascinating stuff. I’ve had a couple of opportunities to do the drag makeup for OJ Mariano and Jon Santos for the show. It still needs work, but I think I’m getting there!

I hardly get the chance to put makeup on boys, so this is a great opportunity to hone that. I love doing Red’s makeup most of all.

Victor Sy; Thou Reyes; Red Concepcion

My main drag (pardon the pun) is assisting with the changes for hair and makeup backstage. It’s a whirl of activity for me and the other four people on board for each show. In Act 1, I’m mostly with Red Concepcion’s character, Adam/Felicia, and some of his costume and wig changes are lightning fast. We’re talking 30 seconds to change into a whole different outfit from head to toe. Even with the frenzy of activity on and off-stage, it’s all done in good spirits, lots of camaraderie and…. lots of selfies. Har har.

It’s tedious, tiring and it takes its toll, not just on me, but on Basti as well. I feel bad that I have to leave him to the care of my mom and dad every weekend when I’m off to work. Grandparents are the best. I don’t know how I could do this without them!!! As bad as I feel, I am never apologetic, though. I want him to see me work and value work, and not to see it as something to be despised or forced upon someone. Most of all, I want him to see how good it is to be passionate about what you do. My little boy will be a hardworking man someday. I think it’s working. He doesn’t pout anymore when I say I’m off to work again. He now says that maybe he will wear all black too, go to work with mama and help me put on the makeup on the people. Hahaha!

It is theater, and that has always been and always will be fuel that gives life to my spirit. One weekend, it so happened that my acting teacher, Ana Valdes-Lim, came to see the show and visited backstage. She saw me, and said, “Oh you’re here! Are you performing?” And I was like, “I do hair and makeup.” And she said…. “You HAVE to perform.”

Sniff. Maybe one day, someday, I will again. But right now I know I’m where I should be at this point in time. I believe that striving to be a better person makes you a better parent, and that we shouldn’t give up certain aspects of our life for the sake of our children. “Give up” is not the term. “Reinvention” is more apt.

I found my reinvention in doing makeup. Though some people may see it as frivolous, I have seen how makeup can transform and empower. That’s for a totally different blogpost though.

So, everyone – watch Priscilla Queen of the Desert!!! It’s running at the Newport Performing Arts Theater in Resorts World until July 13. If you do watch, do give me a shoutout! Tag me on Instagram at @painterswifeph. I’d love to see how your own Priscilla experience went. Enjoy the show!!!!

3 thoughts on “Shakin’ My Groove Thing at Priscilla Manila”

  1. I’m happy that Basti’s adjusting better to you getting back to working on the weekends. He’s one great boy! I’m happy also for you to be happy in doing this. Super hoping to catch this show before it ends. I’m sure I will love it! 😀

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