A Goodbye Letter (By Toff De Venecia)
To an idea that galvanized and brought this family to together, even from the weirdest and most diverse of backgrounds.
To the people and all our collaborators who stepped out of their comfort zones to try something new and maybe, just maybe, surprise themselves.
To our gracious ushers. To our patient Front of House. To our interns. To the Manong Guards. To the theater manager who made sure that we were okay.
To the writers (Anna Canlas, Don Jaucian, MargaBuenaventura, BP Valenzuela, Jace Espino, Jonty Cruz, Jam Pascual, Regina Belmonte, Regine Cabato, Sam Lee, Paolo Lorenzana, Ayanna Lim, Kara Ortiga, WiggyGonzalez, Audrey Carpio, Petra Magno, Gian Lao, Anna Oposa) who wrote from their heart; who were nothing but honest as they bled into the page; who were patient with our changes; who had a voice; who had something to say about the world; and about their generation; who needed to be heard.
To the production team (Pauline, Abi, Anissa, RJ, Ivy, Franz, Maine, Camille, Anne, Gelo, Gerhard); the invisible soldiers behind the trenches; the fuel behind this tight ship; who make the actors look good onstage; who run the show and make it the best that it can be.
To the artistic team (Sab, Kayla, Maronne, Joee, Sari, Miggy, Jorge); whose voices are distinct; who are artists who look within themselves and the world around them to add beauty and purpose to all our actions, and all our intentions
To our headwriter Jam, a burgeoning voice and a bright light; a collaborator and a genius in the truest sense of the word;
To our dramaturg and headwriter Wanggo; our angel; our cheerleader; our heart and soul; who without which we wouldn’t be here standing confident in ourselves and what we have to say.
To the actors (Sam, Cai, Jasmine, Mikael, Sarah, Carla, Khalil, Saab, Micah, Paolo and Lauren) who go out of their way to pour themselves each day into the writer’s words; who work tirelessly to give these monologues their greatest vitality; who are incredible, loving, immaculate human beings; my friends colleagues; my friends.
And their significant others: Arianna, Sam, Megan, Robbie, Nelsito, Papa Jim, Papa James, Boyfie.
To Anna, Issa, and Randy, who stick by us no matter what, who are there when we need comfort, who make it easier for dreams to happen, and help you feel like you’re not alone.
To Maine, our design genius, a gentle force, a beautiful spirit, our earth that grounds. Who will soar in whatever endeavor she chooses.
To Sab, my beloved, my theater wife, whose flight from Hong Kong is delayed, my rock, my occasional enemy and headache, my strength, my foil, my everything. Like myself, may you find your way through all this darkness.May your grey turn to white. May your seemingly insurmountable darkness turn to light.
* * * * *
I had an interesting conversation with Sam and Mads the other day. We talked about what it means to come of age. Over beer, we asked: Is coming of age being able to pursue your passions, even if it meant that our obsession with newness or novelty gets in the way of sustenance or longevity? Is it working towards a ‘Yes’ when you’ve always been told ‘No’ ? Is it proving something to others, to your parents, to your friends? Is it proving something to yourself? Is it being able to fulfill a long time dream? Or is it the acceptance that a dream is only as strong as the forceand passion that fuels it? And with that passion, the reciprocity and the permission of those whom you value?
In a world as deluded and fucked up as this one, I realize that all we have are moments. That one time we worked together on something we were all extremely passionate about. That one time we drank after a show and felt like there was nowhere else we’d rather be other than where we were. In a time capsule. Frozen in time. That one time we had an audience of Baby Boomers who we slowed down our monologues for to be understood. Because isn’t that the point, to find connections? That one time we had an audience full of millennials who resonated with each and every word we said. They took to social media, posted their reviews, and talked about what it meant to be a millennial well into the next day. That one time a really old Baby Boomer went onstage… and said proudly that our generation was going to be alright. And then our hearts smiled.
The gift we have been given… are these moments – when we realize that something good can come out of so muchbad. That youth is seeking enough experience to not be young anymore. And that the nature of youth is to escape itself.
Because all we have our moments. And so hello.
Youth is joy, naivete, innocence. It’s learning and having the space to mistakes. Youth is finding the answers to one’s questions. And maybe Carla and Sam, coming of age means unanswering all those questions.
How do we begin? How do we know we’ve already begun?
One day, we and our future selves will be equals. One day, we’ll have no one else to thank but ourselves and those who believed in us for getting ourselves to the starting line.
After all, No Filter is a moment, The Sandbox Collective is a moment, our passion is a moment, but we pray that in time, even after we’ve said goodbyes, and we’d gone our separate ways, it becomes a movement. That will create ripples across space and time.
This is us, NOT trying to begin. This is us, beginning.
– Toff De Venecia
Now here’s my feeble attempt at a reply/non-goodbye
To my Sandbox Core (Anna, Maine and Toff), it’s been a heck of a ride hasn’t it? Thank you for filling my days with endless stress and wonder. Ha-ha. I love you all so much.
And to my theater hubby, Tdv De Venecia, your speech was so beautifully crafted, How do I even respond to that?
This is NOT where I leave you. Our paths will cross once again and when that happens, it’ll be “worth the three drafts” (In our case, years? Haha). I promise you that wherever this fork leads, whichever part of the globe I’m in, I will carry a piece of you and your grandiloquent vocab with me. When you and I return to the sandbox, it will be one grand reunion of playing, collaborating (of course) and making castle after castle after castle. This world will be GALVANIZED.
I love you without limits, beyond borders, with #NoFilter.
Forever Your SabJo
Staunch supporter, theater wife and partner in strife and life!