Sunday, June 18, 2006
The four plasma TV screens all went black. In unison, the football fanatics in Utrecht Centraal protested. I allowed 10 seconds to materialize, waiting for the screens to resurrect. I was sure then that the Netherlands and Ivory Coast’s so-called Game of Death would resume shortly. But I did not wait for that. It was 15 minutes past seven in the evening. Beatrix must be killing time, anticipating for my arrival.
“Jesus Christ Superstar”, the Dutch run, is currently having a leg at the Beatrix Theater (which is connected through a walk way from the train station). I was informed that the musical is close to sold-out on a weekend. So I tested my luck last Friday.
After asking the takilyera the usual pa-cute questions (price range, seats, etc.) and securing seat availability, I saved the best for last. “How about discounted tickets?” I solicited. I was expecting for those returned tickets which, again, based on luck, were sold 50% less when you come 30 minutes before the curtain call (well, I have two or three similar instances in my entire theater addiction). With a smile, the takilyera said “Please wait, let me call my colleague.” In a jiffy, I was already considering renting some DVD’s at Big Choice. “OK, you can get the best slot for just €19.50”.
The next thing I knew, I was already browsing the theater’s souvenir shop. I bought a copy of the program but I skipped the pages with pictures from the musical (it’s a mantra, I want to enjoy every performance without expectations). Then it hit me. The actress who will play Mary Magdalene is Caselyn Francisco no less! A patchwork of her shows during my glory days suddenly flashed back: Pen-pen de Serapen and That’s Entertainment. This is gonna be one hell of a ride, I thought.
Well, JCS always fascinates me: the overture (just listen to the first 20 seconds and you’re already transported to 70’s rock a la Wolfgang), the message (it should be noted again and again that Judas is part of the whole plan) and the glaring reminder that Jesus became human (the Dutch version is sandwiched by Jesus Christ and Mary Magdalene doing a choreographed sign language, a fitting metaphor of the Bible’s “…and the Word was made flesh”).
After the musical, I hurried to the theater’s Artist’s Entrance and waited for Casey (yes, she’s Casey Francisco now). There were four other lobbyists in the area. Three of them looked like a family (the mom has a camera). Another two joined us. When Casey, who, by the way, pulled it off with aplomb as Mary Magdalene with a more dominant singing voice and style, finally showed up, she was approached by the family and gave her a handful of pictures (taken from a formal event, I sneaked in). When it was my turn, I asked for her signature and I uttered “Nagta-Tagalog ka pa ba?”. Then she blurted out, the Caselyn Francisco kikay way, “Aaaaaaaaaaaaay, Filipino!” And she left together with two other cast members. My hint is that she was about to catch a train.
That completed my Friday. I couldn’t wait to turn on my celfone and share the good news to all my artsy fartsy friends (Pia Leano is on top of the list because every time we reminisce “our” days, she always makes it a point to mention Caselyn Francisco – it’s true, once a That’s kid, always a That’s kid). But what the heck? Iba-blog ko na lang!