EuroFilipino Journal Jan-March 2007
Pater Noster, the voyage
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by Jim Duque Domingo

Pater Noster was launched at the pre production night at the new FM Pasyalan restaurant in Shepherds Bush on 7 October 2006 at 7pm. It was attended by members and officers of the five Filipino organisations who have been very supportive of the whole production. As I was waiting with all the actors in the play, we became excited as we saw people entering the venue. We had the chance to talk to them and thank them for their support. I spoke to a couple who were very keen to see the play as they both have a member in their families who are seafarers. The audience seemed so enthusiastic that night and all the cast of the production were challenged as we did not know what the reaction would be after the show.

Earlier that day the actors had a workshop with Richard Soans. the well-known playwright. This was a big help for all the actors as it enabled them to lose their inhibitions while on stage and had a big impact on me as I always feel self conscious about my looks and facial expressions. What we have learnt during our intensive workshops and rehearsals for six months was to understand and study the roles we were each portraying. Our director/playwright, Ramon Tenoso wanted us to wholly justify our parts as he believed in our capabilities. I really appreciate Ramon being so optimistic and professional in his task. We have been good friends for years now but when I worked with him on the play, he was very different in a way, as he treated us all equally as amateur actors.

The pre-production night was a big success. I interviewed people after the show and they were all amazed with the cast’s abilities on stage considering that most of us had not done it before. The play was instrumental in them understanding the existence and importance of seafarers in our lives. Their understanding was

broadened of how seafarers deal with being away for months at sea, far from their families and loved ones. How they need to live their lives normally like everybody else, when spending six to nine months at sea and in ports is so different, the emotions they have to keep until they get back home again and hug and kiss their wife and children that serves as their strength while they are away, their feelings whenever they are in the middle of the ocean and whenever they lose a member of their family, their grief and agonies. These are just some of the lessons learned by the audience which thay shared with me during the pre-production night and whetted their appetite for the play itself on the 10,11 and 12 November at the Theatro Technis in Camden.

After the success of the pre-production night, the challenges came for all the production team staff. We had regular meetings with the board and talked about anything and everything - ticket sales, props, finances etc. The actors had to start rehearsing without scripts and focus more on acting, gestures and facial expressions. The director wanted us to be convincing in the roles we were portraying and deliver our performance as written in the script. Ramon, whom I have known to be very relaxed became more strict during rehearsals, which I now realised helped all of us develop our skills as an actor and our personalities. Days went by, sleepless nights endured, lights and sound testings and dress rehearsals took place, props were gathered and the day arrived that Pater Noster would be performed in full for the very first time.

I remember waking up on the morning of 10 November 2006 with my heart full of excitement and anticipation. The call time was at least three hours before the show began but all of the actors were on stage when I arrived, delivering their lines and doing relaxation techniques. I greeted everyone in the room and you could sense the excitement in each and everyone. After all the efforts, hardships and time constraints and six months of intensive rehearsals, we were all ready to show to the public the sum of our efforts.

I noticed that there were some people present who I had not met previously at our production meetings but I expressed my gratitude to them as they were the volunteers who worked hard for the whole three nights. They helped in the ticketing, security and even make-up for the actors. Thanks again for all your help.

The actors were very professional in every way. The one thing that I really appreciated amongst the actors was the good rapport with utmost respect. We have supported each other since the start and have built up good communication to develop our acting abilities.With all the lessons we have learned at the workshops and of course from our personal experiences, we have done our best in portraying our roles successfully. On behalf of the director/playwright, thank you so much to all the actors who participated in the play. This is just the beginning, guys and we will see each other soon for the next production....

Many thanks to the production team and the five Filipino organisations who worked so hard to make the play possible. Their dedication made all of us so proud that Pater Noster set sail.

To all of you who came and supported our play, and the people who sponsored us, our heartfelt thanks.

Here are some of the comments of the audience who managed to book tickets early as we were fully booked for the whole three nights -

Susan Helyar from Eastbourne: ‘I was lucky enough to have taken a holiday on a cruise liner recently and this was a real eyeopener for me about the life of the people who actually work on these ships.’

Graham Lane from Dover: ‘Ramon’s play tells us a lot about Filipino society today.’

Rob Jarman, who is an enthusiastic amateur actor involved in many productions in Watford said, ‘It was great to see such a wide cross-section of actors. Although the cast was predominantly Filipino, there were British, Irish, Ukrainian and American actors involved.’

Maria Costales from Putney also noticed the diversity of the audience. ‘Despite this show being only promoted in the Flipino community and media, I am very happy that so many non Filipinos are present. I guess they account for about 40% of the audience here tonight.’

Victor Legarte from Dulwich was particularly touched by the emotional airport scene when Captain Zamora says goodbye to his family before joining the ship.. He said, ‘Every Filipino who works overseas can relate to this...it really touches the heart.’

Cynthia Barker of Bison Management and the sister of the lead actor, was particularly touched and moved by the acting and story of the play.

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Pater Noster mess hall scene

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Pater Noster Manila home scene

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Pater Noster Rio de Janeiro scene

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Pater Noster FM preview

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Pater Noster Manila prison scene

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Pater Noster encore

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