Tzu Chi teachers and the Director from Taiwan start their preparation to teach and look over the different groups of people performing the Water Repentance. The very next day, the teaching and testing begin.
The evening of July 26, 2019 was the start of a long series of practice sessions and tests that lasted till the next day. Supervised by Taiwan Director Lee Tzu Yueh, and a number of instructors from Taiwan, the series of practices and tests in Tzu Chi Great Love Campus and jing Xi Hall to see how much the Philippine branch of Tzu Chi knew of and memorized their performance for the Water Repentance. The Director and the other Taiwan teachers started practicing around 5pm on Friday to get used to the unfamiliar layout of the stage.
On Saturday, people were divided into groups and throughout the day, took turns with practicing, blocking on stage and their movements in the different songs, and then were tested on how much they knew the lyrics to their respective songs and their movements. Indeed, Director Lee was quite strict and firm, but also quite encouraging, so people felt the need to do their best. She even felt the need to apologize for being so strict.
Marie Frances Masinag, 48, a teacher from Old Balara Elementary School stated in between practice: “Actually this is the first time that I found out that we’re so many in number because we usually practiced in small groups before. It’s so amazing. The teachers from Taiwan were so patient and also those that were teaching here for a few months. I realized that there should be presence of mind, so we won’t have multiple takes and we finish right away. We’re already finished, and it’s amazing to see the output. We actually started around April, but the stage is here and we only got to practice one song around April to May. And it is important that everyone is aware, and they should be able to retain what they practiced”. When asked how long they’ve been in practice and for how many hours, she said, “We were here since 8:00 am. Every Saturday, we practice after recycling; we go straight here from 12:00 to 4:00 pm, we’ve been doing this for more than a month.”
Director Lee, after dinner, then took time off to teach the Painter’s Plan to Henry Yuñez, Francis Chua, Dr. Josefino Qua, and James Chien as it was an importance part of the presentation.
Ambassador Francis Chua then narrates of his experience; “Tzu Yueh Lao-Tzu. That’s how we called her, and this was not the first time we met her. There was a production---I think about 10 years ago. She’s also our teacher. At that time she was very strict, very forceful. But tonight, I found she changed her style as far as the four of us are concerned. Maybe at that time we were still young, but this time we are already seniors. She changed her style. Instead of forcing us, she encourages us. It is mutual learning, after all these years, we learned to respect her and she learned to adapt herself to suit these few senior citizens. To stage this kind of a production is definitely not easy. A stage show of 2000 cast and 7000 audience. You can imagine the difficulties… and she has to go through each segment she has to see to it the place that we are going to perform, the seats, the stage, the lighting, the acting, everything. She has to personally manage it, and this is where we found her at her greatest. So we will have to congratulate the Filipinos to help her and we also help to invite our Filipino brothers and sisters to be with us next year. I think its March 1st. It’s a Sunday and so I hope all of you will come and see what we have prepared for you. It is seldom that you can witness this kind of production in the Philippines with a cast of more than 2000 and for sure there is a lot of take home value. So I would expect—I hope all of you come and witness our performance”.
The day ended with the Director peeking at the drum practice of some of the Tzu Chi Youth and then going back to Jing Si Hall to give last words of encouragement to the performers.