dm reyes and ron baytan
carmelo garcia and ralph galan
backstage, at the araneta (2000)
auraeus solito, film director
but i feet very miserable living (temporarily) in australia and not being able to watch my former student (in comm 1, nearly 2 decades ago!) auraeus solito's first full-length film. heard that maximo oliveros is a gem and a must-see. with all the awards it garnered (montreal, singapore, rotterdam, berlin and its subsequent inclusion at sundance, an unprecedented thingie for a pinoy film), not to mention the quality of people who praised the film, i am certain about the film being remembered for a very long time.
when paolo manalo and ian casocot wore short pants to (primary or secondary) school, auraeus struggled to complete comm 1. he had taken it twice before (under extremely traditional and excruciating professors and i am not naming names) but he ended up dropping it because he got so bored with the teachers and the classes. he enlisted to take it the third time, this time under a newly-hired instructor, someone who turned out to be very jologs, very sampaloc-born and bred, just like him. auraeus and i clicked easily so it wasn't too difficult for him to propose a rather wicked idea. he suggested that in addition to the departmental exam, his classmates should be graded on the basis of their participation in his next play, manhid. i gamely obliged. i will always privilege creativity over and above any boring and mechanical exercise.
auraeus charmed then u.p. cssp dean zeus salazar to have the play staged in every nook, dark corner and open space, in, on, outside, above and under u.p.'s palma hall lobby. and he gathered my other students and their friends, boyfriends, girlfriends, lovers and flings to star in or work behind each episode of the production. many of these stars and starlets became prominent names in literature, visual arts, mass media and music: buddy zabala and the other members of the eraserheads, ralph semino galan, johanna cabili, tintin bersola, eugene domingo, wena basco, and so many others. the play became such a huge success, auraeus had to do a re-run for several weeks.
and long before anybody could even take me seriously either as a writer or an academic, auraeus conceptualized and performed a movement based on an old poem i had written in college, entitled dark ritual. i don't even have a copy of the poem now and i don't have any photo or recording of auraeus' direction and performance with wena basco (the huling el bimbo girl ) at the u.p. faculty center (a few months before it was renamed bulwagang rizal). i thought auraeus' concept and rendition were moving but my poem sucked big time. but early in his career, auraeus did a performance based on my work and he has suddenly turned major. i will always consider his graciousness an extremely memorable experience.
somewhere down memory lane, i will end up writing about my former students. there are gazillions of them right now and they have no idea that i have a black book with intricate attachments (read: seat plans, 1x1 pics on index cards and condensed versions of my personal impressions to remember each student by). kidding aside, i remember my students with deep respect and admiration and it has become evident that i have always been privileged to have students who are either creative, diligent or excellent in a particular field or discipline in my classes. clearly, i played no big role in their quests for the big time. but it moves me to realize that i had been called to be an instrument to let them breeze through a phase in their respective lives.