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Growing Up in Theatre

by Cara Barredo

In school, they always ask, “What was your childhood like?” or say, “Tell us about your childhood.” My answer was never quite the same as everyone else’s. Mine had a bit of a twist.

While other children had parks and fields and malls and activity centers as playgrounds, mine was the theatre. I played in the audience area where every chair and every row became a different scene. I played on the stage pretending I was a different person at different times. I played backstage exploring the darkened wings, looking through props and costumes, admiring every beautiful detail and waiting for the day when I would be there – no longer playing but in an actual play!

And it all became real – no longer play acting but real acting — when I was 7 years old.

I was reading my Archie comics in bed when my Mom and sister, Maya, entered my room and asked me a question that would forever dictate how my life would be like. “Rep is doing a musical called “Scrooge” and they need a kid to play the little boy, Tiny Tim.”

I didn’t answer. Then Mom added, “Ate Maya and Kuya Dino will be part of it and you’ll get paid P100.00 per show.”

Of course I said, “Yes!” I mean how many Archie’s could I buy with the money I’ll be earning, right?

It was through “Scrooge” that my  playground began expanding. All of a sudden my play area wasn’t just mine anymore and not just in my head. I shared it with lots of people — people who I just used to watch and admire. They were the directors, actors and production people and they all were happy to play with me. They coached me, supported me and treated me like an adult. I was expected to be as disciplined and as professional as everyone else and I wouldn’t have had it any other way.

I have been given the opportunity to continue “playing” for 22 years — living the lives of different people and being different characters. I have been a little boy, a young peasant girl, an orphan, a beggar, a puppet, and more than once – a princess. Now, I’m in “Stepping Out” –  a show where I can breathe life into a character whose problems I can relate to and fully understand – a wannabee who gets a chance to step up and step out and be somebody.

Yes, after all these years, the theater is still my playground and I have literally played on some of the biggest and best stages in the country so you can say that my playground has been upgraded big time – and though I am still learning – tap dancing in this instance —   I get to step up once again and step out in style for this one!

STEP OUT and catch Cara as Lynne in Repertory Philippines’ STEPPING OUT THE MUSICAL at the Onstage Theater in Greenbelt 1 starting April 1, directed by Jaime del Mundo and features Joy Virata, EJ Villacorta, Bituin Escalante, Sheila Francisco, Raymund Concepcion, Christine Flores, Natalie Everett, Angela Padilla, David Shawn Delgado and Sarah Facuri. For more information call REP at 843-3570 or visit www.repertoryphilippines.ph.