Sunday, April 08, 2007

For Ogie... 1961-2007

I am reposting this entry...

Ogie passed away yesterday, April 7.

Let us start with my mentor in college.

Not a lot of people like this person really. He landed in the pages of a national daily because of some atrocious accusation of a student. Personally, the accusations are not far from happening but not to this accuser. I can tell, I was the one who replaced him when he walked out. Then again, nothing came out of it primarily because it was all hype. Apart from the trauma of being publicly tried, status quo remained, and my mentor continued on teaching in the university.

His name is Ogie Juliano. We first met when I enrolled in his class in acting 1. During that time, I was already part of the cast of the play being directed by his mentor- Tony Mabesa. So the pressure in his class was greater than a regular student would feel. He was directing another play also during that time that our class was required to audition to. You're only exempted when you are already part of other plays, exempli gratia, me. More pressure. I was his favorite example in class, being 'the Mabesa actor' and 'the one who refused to act under him'.

In the middle of the semester, we became really good friends. Though I'm not part of his play, after our rehearsals, I will go to his shows. Dinner everynight. Apparently, my status during that time was 'student' or make it- 'struggling student' err... 'struggling, starving student'. I was your all time free loader almost everynight. And when I get honorarium from the plays I acted in, I treat him for dinner. That usually is after every two months. Almost like the blue moon.

I eventually acted in his plays. But the more important thing that he thought me was not about acting. He took me as an apprentice on design. Specifically costuming. He was the one who taught me how a medieval cloak's cut would differ from that of the victorian's. How the cut of the skirts changed through centuries. He taught me that a panuelo is there to cover the breasts and not wearing a tapis is unbecoming of a lady during the turn of the century Manila.

"Wala naman ksi silang panty nun kaya eto na yung pantakip para di liparin ang palda." He further stressed, "Kaya yung mga bisaya na patadyong lang, bastos yun!"

His designs remained well studied and carefully crafted. A teacher with masters in theatre, he continues to study the details and admits that he has still a lot to learn. And each time he drafts a scheme, he explains why it is so. From colors, to cuts, to fringes, to accessories. Not a single detail left unexplained. There will always be a reason why each single thread is there in a single piece of costume. Most importantly, he taught me that I can only do that if (and only if) I put my heart on it. Treating it as a job will be a sin.

"My work is personal. That is how I operate. In no way one can make a good design if he doesn't put his heart into it."

I understand him now. Now that I'm on my own. I still falter a lot of times. Yet thankful, at least I know how to make it right.

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