Musings from the Tech Booth — Part 1 [No Curtains Needed]

By William Elvin Manzano


I’ve been in this position countless times before. I’ve mastered this craft of orchestrating everything – from the script, to the stage, to the lights and sounds. This is where I’m supposed to be most confident, relaxed and comfortable.

But my nerves are going haywire. Yes, I spent more than half of yesterday at the airport, with about 4 hours of it in a cold, boring, flying tube. Yes, I still have a plane to catch just hours after this show. I don’t think those are the reasons why I feel like I just shot uppers and downers at the same time, though. No, not at all.  I’m just not totally sure how this show would go, and unlike every event or show I’ve manned before, there are hundreds of factors that are out of my control tonight.

Unlike traditional theatre, where directors are gods who can manipulate every detail of a show, professional wrestling is way more of a collaborative work. Most of all, I am nowhere near godlike in this one. My main purpose is just to highlight what the MWF roster can do, and provide a theatrical spotlight to their unbelievable talent.

Times like these, all I could do is pray to the Universe, and hope that my cosmic karma is enough for us to have the best show possible, with all my beloved friends and colleagues safe and healthy when the show ends.

As the seats fill up, I suddenly feel nauseous. I go to the holding room, where the wrestlers oddly feel relaxed and ready. They’re the ones who will risk their bodies out there tonight. They’re the ones who will be heckled by the unforgiving crowd. They’re the ones who will make or break this show. Not me. I already did 75% of the work, weeks ago when I turned in the final production script. It’s their game now. But I’m the one who’s getting pale as f*ck.

“You need water,” says a laid-back Robin Sane. I’m pretty sure that’s not what I need, unless there’s a tablet of valium that goes with a cup of it. “Where did you come from? Why are you there?” asks Tarek El Tayech. “I don’t even know where I am right now,” I reply. All I know is I’m surrounded by kids with drumsticks, who should be standing by for their cue outside the building very soon, Sandata who’s quietly taping his wrists, and a limping Ashura, who is working through a sprained ankle this evening.

I feel like passing out. Is this because I’m actually living a dream I’m not totally ready for? Or, am I just getting too old for this sh*t?


“Kuya Will, pa-cue na po kung magsastart na,” says Mara Agleham, who’s manning the tech booth with Mikko Angeles on video. On my right, our lights designer Meliton Roxas is taking his seat. “Hanap ka ni Sir Tony sa baba,” he says, referring to Sir Tony Mabesa, theater/film icon, Dulaang UP founder and one of our mentors in the craft of theater. This night just got more bizarre. I look for Tarek, so I can share my nervousness of having to show this rather unique form of drama to one of the most vicious critics of all time. He’s nowhere to be found. I look down the audience area, and apparently, he’s already talking the old man.

I grab the headset and talk to Mike, who’s on gorilla.

“That sounds like a wrestling crowd,” I say, referring to the buzzing noise of an audience who can’t wait to consume what we’ve been working hard on for the past month.

I remember my wife’s voice. “How can you top Kasaysayan with your UP show?” she asked. I don’t know, and I’m not sure if we can.

Let’s try, anyway.

“Mara, start na tayo.”

The lights dim. The show starts.

I’m still dizzy as hell.

— to be continued —



Gary Agustine L. Lantoria Why are you all conniving against Coach Gus?

Ugh. Coach Gus is not a victim, so stop treating him like he’s one. He’s an arrogant prick who thinks too highly of himself. If he wants to whine, let him whine. Ugh.


Crisencio Galvez bootcamp

I wish I can tell you our plans. But it will be open very soon. And it will be so worth it for new trainees.


Naj Siplon Can we expect more wrestlers to debut on MWF this year?

Let’s see about the new trainees who will be joining us soon. If anyone will be as good as Jorelle in a short period of time, why not?


Carlo Agoncillo Since the MWF foundation is helping UP rebuild the shopping center will we see an UP based MWF store in the future ?

Brilliant idea! We’ll credit you for that when it happens, and I hope the Shopping Centre will be rehabilitated very soon. We’re happy and excited to help, and we are working day and night to make sure the MWF Foundation becomes an integral part of our administration.


Aaron Lemuel Alvarez Will we see another Manila Rules Match in the near future?

I can’t say how near that near future is, but we sure have the Manila Rules match in our booking notes.

Thanks for your questions, and that’s it for the week! See you again next Wednesday, #KapaFEDs!

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