Take it from me: You don’t. Or rather, you can’t.
It’s been more than a week since #romanceclass Feels Fest 2017, and I think it’s safe to say those who were able to attend the event are still reeling from everything that’s happened that rainy afternoon at Commune. I know I was/still am. My body couldn’t handle all the feels it felt like it needed to shut down for the entire week that followed so that I could recover. (I seriously slept A LOT.)
Anyway… my Feels Fest 2017 experience didn’t begin on the day of the event, but rather, weeks prior to it. As part of the organizing committee, I helped put together some fun stuff you’ve probably seen on #romanceclass’ Instagram and Facebook accounts. Yeap, if you felt like we flooded your feed with everything #romanceclass, that’s because we wanted to. We had a 30 Days of #romanceclass social media campaign where authors and readers shared their favorite things about the books, the characters, and the community as a whole. I’m a bit embarrassed to say I wasn’t able to complete all 30 days (and I don’t wanna make excuses but the week prior to the event was a doozy), but I know there were those who did and it was always heartwarming to see the responses. Nakakakilig po, thank you.
A week before Feels Fest, I was asked to come to the live readers’ rehearsal somewhere in Katipunan. Fred and Vanya were to rehearse their song, while Gio and Rachel were to run through their Fairy Tale Fail staging. I was supposed to oversee Migs and Graie’s rehearsal for poetry reading, but unfortunately, Graie couldn’t make it so Migs was stuck with just me. Heh.
Note that no one outside the organizing committee knew what we had up our sleeves, so everything Mina and I posted on the internet was either cryptic, or presented without comment. 😛 There were a couple of people lucky enough to be warned about the Only Us number because they’re #romanceclass patrons, though. Hee. (You can be one, too!)
Here are some photos from that rehearsal:
I like rehearsals, I do. I think this is the first time I was really able to sit down with the live readers and watch how they work. Yes, watch. I mean… they’re professionals — they didn’t really need a lot of guidance when it came to how a certain piece should be read. Sometimes they’d ask questions (“What’s this character’s profession?” “Who says this line?” “How do you say this word?), but that’s it. The rest of the time I just watch them and allow myself to fangirl quietly because they’re awesome and I’m sure you’ll agree.
One thing I did work on was the poetry reading. If I remember correctly, it was Migs who pitched this idea to Mina and she then pitched the idea to us. She showed us a video of Phil Kaye and Sarah Kay and asked if there was anyone who could help adapt Dawn Lanuza and Layla Tanjutco’s poems into a performance piece. I took a look at the video and this happened:
And then this, a week before rehearsal:
Mina invited me for a rehearsal (!!!) and I did this a week before 😅 pic.twitter.com/bfEtK1tZFW— t a r a 🐰 태라 (@tarafrejas) October 15, 2017
Fun times. ^_^
Also can I just say I felt a little awkward giving Migs and Sam a sort-of briefing about the poems they were about to read (Saturday morning rehearsal)? Sometimes I’m an awkward kamote, but Migs and Sam were great. I gave them the general theme of each poem and assigned words to emphasize before running through all six poems in one go. And that was it. They rehearsed on their own after that. (Scroll down for the video of their performance.)
And oh yeah–at some point during the pre-event rehearsal, everyone at the table was singing Seasons of Love from RENT and let me tell you…it was amazing. It wasn’t even rehearsed, but the musical theatre-loving kamote that I am was flailing inside while they did it. Did I sing with them? Most definitely. Did I embarrass them? I’m not sure. 😛
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Thank you, everyone who showed up at @communeph for #FeelsFest2017 last Saturday despite the rain and horrible traffic. We were kind of resigned to the fact that people won't be able to come given the circumstances but we were jampacked anyway! Thank you, thank you, and until next time! 😘 . @Regrann from @minavesguerra – I don't have photos of the crowd so I'm reposting! Based on the registration count it's the most we've had at an event. A surprise because: expected percentage of registered no-shows, stormy weather, entrance fee. But we had to actually stop letting people in halfway through (technically we could let late people in if an equal number of people left early, or stayed out on the balcony, but then they couldn't hear the program from outside…anyway. Lots of people.) Thank you! Photo from @fernandez_lc #romanceclass #FeelsFest2017 – #regrann
We expected this. We did.
After the #FeelsSoHot event in June (a weeknight, with a door charge of P850), we knew we were going to successfully fill this room again for Feels Fest (tickets were sold out days after we started getting reservations okay) BUT we didn’t anticipate the rain. It rained hard the night before and the morning of the event, it was still drizzling outside when we started. We had last minute cancellations from people who were from the far south and north and we felt sad they couldn’t come, but we were okay with having just a handful of people in that room. We actually resigned to the fact that people weren’t coming.
But they did.
The room was so full we were asked NOT to let anyone in anymore after the first batch of readings were performed. I was like–whuuuut, really?–and then stood guard by the stairs the entire time. HEH. I had a view of the room full of people (I don’t know why I never took a photo) and it was A-MA-ZING. YOU GUYS ARE CHAMPS!
And I guess the live readers felt that electric energy too, because the performances that afternoon were awesome. (I have things to say about our sound system, though.) Here are the performances from that rainy Saturday afternoon:
This is How it Starts by Dawn Lanuza (poetry)
all this wanting / shit just got real / waking up to a dream
Just for the Summer by Justine Camacho Tajonera
Rules of Non-Attraction by Andrea Soto-Pionilla
Before I Lose My Nerve by Layla Tanjutco
Seeking You / Patience is a Terrible Thing / Be With Me
All About That Bass by Fay Sebastian
Once Upon a Bully by Georgette S. Gonzales
My Imaginary Ex by Mina V. Esguerra
The Queen’s Game by Carla de Guzman
Fairy Tale Fail by Mina V. Esguerra
(If you’re wearing earphones, watch out for the screaming toward the end!)
Only Us (from Dear Evan Hansen) performed by Fred Lo and Vanya Castor
Shoutout to Gela Uy for taking these videos and sharing them for all the world to see. You rock, girl! <3
All right, lemme check–are you still breathing? Yes?
Are we good? Great.
Ready for more? Yeah? Don’t worry, I won’t attack you with videos anymore, but just in case you want to relive that afternoon in photos, here you go!
And here’s a Twitter thread of my messy post-event feelings:
But wait… there’s more!
#romanceclass ninjas April, Jothee, Chachic, and Kat surprised everyone with this amazing video featuring well-loved personalities in the international romance community sending their well-wishes! Take a look:
Gosh. I had tears in my eyes listening to the last part. <3 Reminders from the universe come in the most unexpected ways. Thanks ninjas. Thanks authors. You all are amazing.
Meanwhile, the Miki Bihon Girls also prepared a surprise for #romanceclass fairy godmother and mentor Mina V. Esguerra because it’s her birthday soon! ^_^ The girls asked us to send some birthday messages for Mina, and here’s what they came up with:
There was a bouquet of roses, cake, and some dancing (that was Gio) involved too–only the best for Mina! 😀 Happy birthday, beautiful!
Aaaaaand also, this happened:
Soooooooo I guess that’s it for this event recap! If you missed this event for some reason, that’s okay! You can relive the moments with us through all the videos and photos available online, but we wish you could also join us next time because nothing beats the feeling of being in the same room with people who are passionate about and love the same things as you. Want to stay updated about #romanceclass activities, subscribe to our mailing list or follow us on Instagram and Facebook. You may also want to track the #romanceclass hashtag on Twitter and Instagram for more fun stuff.
We hope to see you at the next event!