Life Updated

Once again I’ll give the disclaimer that if you’re reading this post in your email and it looks some kind of way, try it on my website instead and I guarantee you’ll find it a more pleasant experience. 

The last time I updated you we were going into show season, which was immediately followed by Christmas concerts and break where I traveled to the US for a wedding, after which I came back to talent night tech rehearsals the very next day and show auditions the 2 days after that. Scattered in the middle we had an Exco partEEEE, Eggpretiation day, started a new round of classes, had our regular concerts and hosted a music festival. Once the shows pop, the fun don’t stop. 

I do post more regular mini-updates on Instagram. If you don’t have instagram, you can see those posts right on my homepage.


This was my first time to direct a show for the second time. It was a challenge to figure out new ways to do the same show in the same theater and so interesting how it felt like a totally different show even as it felt familiar. The first time I directed this show, most of the cast were middle and elementary students with just the parents and the oldest Herdman played by high school students. This time most of the cast was in high school with just a few middle and elementary school kids. The first time I had minimal support being the third show of the semester. This time the set sparkled and the costumes had 80’s flair. It was the perfect way to jump back into theater after 3 full years with no productions.


Theater Workshop. This class has been in my brain for literal years. I honestly wasn’t sure whether we were crazy to try this with students, many of whom had never even participated in a show at all. I had to remind myself along the way that it was about the learning process no matter the result. Teaching them how to make choices and then letting them actually make them knowing it could fail EEK, but some of my best theater memories come from being given creative ownership in the building of a show and I wanted that opportunity for them. I am super proud of this group, they did everything from mask design to light planning/execution-complete with the it’s-a-mess-nope-it-came-together feeling. Ah, theater.

“This semester, the most significant thing I learned was that productions take way more time and effort to create than I thought. After seeing the end result of our hard work, I couldn’t really see how much effort we put into it. Although I knew it had taken a lot of time and I’m proud of the result, it didn’t look like it should have been that much effort to accomplish. I learned just how much goes into the school plays and musicals I’m part of, and it definitely gives me a newfound appreciation for the people who help put them together.”
“I learned that there is a lot more work that goes into a production than I ever thought. Often the actors get the glory because they are the face of the production; in reality, those behind designing and planning for a production along with the backstage crew play a highly significant role in the quality of the production and the overall experience. I have come to better appreciate all the effort into a production of those behind the scenes. We have been working on this play all quarter and even though it was only 20 min & one setting, it took a tremendous amount of effort. I can only imagine how much work goes into a full length production.”
“I was surprised by just the sheer amount of work it takes in general. I’ve been in a plethora of productions as an actor, but being in one as a director and odd-job person was an experience that shook me and taught me there are people who do even more than actors do to get me and others on stage.” 
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January - April

This show. No one knew it, no one (except the place where it premiered) has ever done it (that we could find). How my friend Jennie even found it is a mystery! We had nothing to go on but our own creativity and boy did we.

At first we got disappointed reactions that our “big” show wouldn’t be on the main stage, to the point where some opted not to participate at all. However, when I read this show, I knew immediately it wasn’t meant for the 900 seat cone of darkness (but I also never expected to be building set pieces inside the kitchen either). We spent a fair amount of conversations reminding each other that they’ll see why in the end, but you can’t convince people of the methods to your madness until they see it for themselves. 

As we rebuild after Covid we’ve had a bit of trouble with participation commitment so we were on the hunt for a smaller show. While it was smaller in some ways, it was by no means smaller in so many others. The cast calls for 5F/7M – We cast 9F/8M and 8 in a server ensemble. We didn’t know what exactly servers meant, other than it allowed us to cut 8 less.

We opted for dinner theater with a British inspired box meal from a local British bakery. Our ladies from the cafeteria did an incredible job prepping everything. My friend and colleague Jon built a full working pub inside the kitchen window, complete with root beer on tap and boys to help. The servers spent an hour before the show filling drinks, taking trash and chatting with people in their best British accents. They also served pies and hot drinks at intermission and Hershey’s kisses during act 2. The servers were also in a variety of scenes and musical numbers. 

The audience was truly surrounded by the performance, completely immersed as part of the cast themselves with multiple roles just for them. Each night one of the volunteer cast members died a little more dramatically than the last. In addition to the big stage, there were 3 mini-stages and a 4th lighted space scattered throughout the room. For those who will appreciate this factoid, we used every single lighting pipe hidden in the ceiling of Tipunan (bucket list: check). We hung 6 of the cyc lights as top light and used 8 under the edges of the audience platforms. Those on the floor were linked together with wireless DMX. The times they are a changin! Given the placement of acting all over the room we had almost zero issues with wireless mic feedback and being mostly underground solved 98% of our interference issues. (See, there are so many good things to not using Cadd! 🙂

As always, Glen killed it with the set pieces. We were finally able to use the ship captain’s wheel that was started for Curtains and finished during covid. Jon also planned out Big Ben (and yes, he actually worked). The costume ladies made the characters shine and we were also able to use dresses made by Wendy that were originally intended for Curtains. It was so nice to see some of that work not totally wasted even after the show was canceled.

The kids were amazing and the music sounded incredible. The pit orchestra was positioned behind a scrim and the back of the main stage which can make things more complicated. We had a very talented set of musicians working with my friend Mark in the pit and Jennie coached the singers. The amount of harmonies and chords stood out so clearly. Closing night Jennie and I were sad that it was the last time we were going to hear them. Even after six nights we were still dying with laughter, none of us tired of watching it. That is the best way to end a show.

After a quick trip to the beach with friends, we’re into the final four weeks of the school year and the changes begin again. My roommate leaves for good in less than two weeks. I will move out of my house at the end of the month, reunite with my Philippine parents for a short trip, and then head to the US myself for an extended time. 

There are a variety of reasons for this decision. Professionally, I need a break from wearing way too many hats. As a single it’s a struggle to not just do too much all the time and I think being completely removed from the temptation to keep doing things just because there isn’t someone else is a thing I really need to do for now. But I actually really did/do not want to leave Faith completely, particularly the theater kids since that’s my actual area of expertise and the program I’ve spent so much time helping to build. 

Personally, the time I spent in the US during the pandemic gave me the opportunity to spend more time with family and friends that I haven’t had in a very long time. It’s making up for lost time with some of them which is difficult from halfway around the world. No amount of changes to my job would solve that.

Although I won’t be leaving Faith permanently, for the time being I will step away from being Cadd Manager, Activities Coordinator, HS teacher and Exco advisor. My role at Faith will shift to being remote, but I have been asked to return in January to direct the April show. This plan affords me the break I need, time with family and friends, and allows me to continue to do something I really love. I will work in the US to help supplement my income, however, I will also stay with my mission since a portion of what I will continue to do will be missionary based, including the time I spend in the Philippines. If you are able to continue to support me financially, your support will continue to help with travel, housing, visa and ministry expenses and more. If you have questions, please don’t hesitate to ask. I can’t believe it’s been more than 16 years since I first set foot in the Philippines. Thank you for all the ways you have been a part of my journey.

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