Juniors’ Night

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Weeks ago (though I’m not exactly sure how many), my batch had a Juniors’ Night themed “The Ritz” which is centralized around America at around the 1920’s. It was a rewarding and amazing night for me, the girl who dreaded the day that she would be forced to dress up and put on make-up. I’ve always hated dresses and putting on foundation and blushes makes me feel like I’ve got a face — on my face. Nevertheless, all my efforts paid off because I had one of the greatest nights of my life with yummy food, good friends, a great date, and an unexpected award.

However, most of the excitement happens BEFORE the big night wherein important preparations are taking place such as picking the prom dress and asking the date. I wasn’t at all excited about picking my dress because first of all, I despise wearing such things. However, at the boutique with my mom, I fell “in love” with a dress at first glance. The dress that caught my eye was a simple one: a flesh lacy dress with long sleeves. Simple, comfortable, and decent for a formal night — I hit the jackpot.

Picking the date, however, wasn’t as easy as falling in love at first sight with a dress. It took a huge amount of guts, a bit of rejection, a dash of bitterness, and eventually a sprinkle of luck to top the whole endeavor of getting a prom date. There’s no need to spill the long story of how I got turned down at first but I ended up asking someone a whole lot better and funnier anyways.

In all honesty, I thought that the dress and the date were the only two things to worry about but lo and behold, here comes the other things such as transportation, the buttounniere for the date (which I unfortunately never had the time to buy), and after-prom activities. I got by anyhow with a little help from the people who actually knew what to do.

The big night however, can’t be described in mere words but all I can say is that it was pretty wild. Many of my batchmates went out of their comfort zones and danced their heart out, those who were normally shy bloomed in their pretty dresses, and those who were forever hungry got to eat their heart out. What was really unexpected though, was the award I received, along with my prom date. “Life of the party” — When the emcees were announcing the winners, I was leaning against a table to rest my aching feet and staring into a blank abyss of nostalgia and (at the same time) pain so it didn’t quite sink in quickly. “Anchilia Diamante!” I almost didn’t recognize my own name (well, a lot of people mispronounce it anyways) but I got the hint when a spotlight shone on me and people looked at me as if I won the “Most Clueless” award. In a state of both shock and doubt, I went forward with my date and we were both asking ourselves, “What is happening??” We both couldn’t believe that out of all the couples in that place, we were donned to be the life of the party. Nevertheless, I felt ultimately happy that my charm worked (kidding).

It’s pretty awkward to say that I’ve been dreaming of having a non-romantic but romantic (yes, it’s that complicated) High School Musical moment since the movie musical came out. That night, I had mine. “Can I Have This Dance” was the slow dance for the prom king and queen and after a while, the other winners were asked to join the dance. Being a slow reactor to everything, I didn’t know what was happening. The next thing I knew was that my prom date offered me his hand and we proceeded to the dancefloor to (well,) dance. It was awkward yet absolutely wonderful to dance with a good friend and sing along to the well-beloved HSM song.

The events that happened after are all a blur but I remember: dancing with my friends like there’s no tomorrow, removing my dreadful heels and walking in flats to annoy the others, eating two huge bowls of ice cream at Manila Peninsula, and feeling as if I was drunk (but I didn’t drink anything but Coke) on the ride home because I was that tired.

If it weren’t for the unhealthy effects of heels on one’s feet, I could’ve danced all night.

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Beyond the Musical: Les Miserables

Musicals speak universal truths as well as literature—this I have come to learn after being inspired by musicals such as The Phantom of the Opera and Les Miserables. The art of musicals is not in the mere music, but in how, through the musical score and the actors’ performances, it touches the audience’s heart. A musical, I believe, is a successful one if, by the curtain call, the audience realizes that they hold a bond to characters.

Les Miserables the Musical, so far, is the one I hold most dear to my heart amidst the fact that I have just come to love it last year. Its entrancing orchestrations and flawless songs have once again rekindled my desire to be an orchestra conductor – but that’s only half of the story. After having watched the 25th Anniversary over and over again, I realized that I hold a bit of each character inside me. I have come to sympathize with Fantine and her crushed dreams, join Javert and his inability to forgive, share Jean Valjean and his desire to change, and even relate to Eponine with her unrequited love.

Jean Valjean“For I have come to hate the world, the world has always hated me.” After being released from prison, he has a negative view on the new world he faces. His distrust in the society reflects his distrust in himself – that he can never change. He has come to believe in people’s words that a man such as himself is incapable of being a better man. The Bishop comes and changes Valjean’s view by offering him freedom. Valjean, shamed by the Bishop’s act of mercy, vows to start anew. He comes later at a crossroad whether or not to keep silent or tell the truth about his past – he ends up telling the truth: “Who am I? 24601!” He faces another crossroad whether or not to take revenge on Javert – he ends up freeing him.

We see Valjean in ourselves—our desire to change in an unforgiving world. Sometimes, we just need someone to show us that we are still human beings and that we deserve respect as anyone else amidst our faults.

Inspector Javert“Those who follow the path of the righteous shall have their reward.” Commonly misunderstood as the story’s antagonist, we tend to overlook how he is just a man who holds strongly to his belief: justice. His inability to forgive Valjean starts in the first act until his suicide, where he begins to doubt his belief. Perhaps this characteristic of being unmerciful of his comes from his past which, unfortunately, is stated in few lines: “I was born inside a jail; I was born with scum like you; I was from the gutter too!” We can see that his past has made him this way: the inspector who cannot find it in himself to see people beyond their actions, in their hearts.

Our pasts made us who we are today. Some of us may have been scarred thus, becoming paranoid, unforgiving, or even distrustful towards people we cannot bring ourselves to forgive. However, we forget that we have the ability to change. We forget that we have a future.

Fantine “Life has now killed the dream in me.” When she was younger, she looked forward to a bright future. A man enters her life, filled her days with wonder, and in the end, left her life at a time she needed him the most. Slapped with the reality of life in France, she realizes that life is cold and cruel – killing dreams as they come. Still, she dreams.

There is a Fantine in all of us – there will always be a point in our lives when we realize that our dreams and hopes were nothing but silly because of the reality we live in. Yet, we continue to dream. We continue to hope for the best, but we have already come to expect the worst.

Cosette“In my life, there’s so many questions with answers which somehow seem wrong.” Having faced with a horrible past of being abused by the Thernadier family, she has come to forget all about it in her older years. However, she wants to learn the truth from her ‘father’, Valjean, of the dark and deep histories he shelters her from. In fact, she’s been sheltered throughout her life and it makes her feel lonely – thus, develops a desire to be loved. She takes her chances with Marius, a student revolutionary, and finds herself in this love.

All of us want to be loved.

Eponine“Little you know, little you care.” She puts on a brave face in the face of upcoming revolution and even in front of Marius, the one she loves. However, no one sees the real Eponine: a normal French girl who loves someone whom she knows will never love her back. Still, she stays loyal to him and even goes through the pain of leading him to Cosette’s home.

We tend to love beyond loving even when we already know that we are the ones who get hurt. Once darkness comes, we realize that we’ve always been on our own, with the will to love someone wholeheartedly but without anyone to love us.

A musical is beautiful – from the point of view of someone who listens to the music and looks at the sets and costumes.

A musical is your life – from the point of view of someone who listens with his/her heart and looks beyond the sets and costumes.