Stepping into Magic: an actor's journey…

"Be not afraid of greatness: some are born great, some achieve greatness and some have greatness thrust upon them" ~William Shakespeare

“Creativity is a wild mind…

and a disciplined eye.” ~Dorothy Parker

Age 17 with an original doodle on my hand.

Since I can remember I have been drawing, doodling, painting, decorating and basically in love with color and patterns. Traveling with my Mom around the country for her board meetings and speaking events I had the chance to visit and revisit art museums in New York, D.C., Chicago, Boston, and more. Once we finished wandering the halls of great art we would bee- line it to the gift shop and I usually picked out a post card or a drawing utensil, anything that I could add to my artistic collection. While my Mom was working I would be under a table at a restaurant drawing, or in a back classroom desk doodling. Below, in two of the childhood drawings that are hanging in the hallway of my parent’s house, you can see my earliest signature, a mirror spelled mark of my first name, SABINA was ANIBAS in my young creative and dyslexic brain.

Some of my earliest artwork from pre-school and travels with Mom

I am most drawn to pastels above other art mediums, I think partly because it was also a preferred medium by one of my favorite artists Edgar Degas and other impressionists, but also because one of my greatest mentors Sam Taylor gave me my first set of pastels. A wooden box filled with broken chalk pieces, used and worn down from his own artist fingers. It was as if he handed me a box of lost treasure filled with jewels and gold.

The larger drawing is from age 13, the smaller from age 40

When I was 13 I had been taking art classes for about a year from an artist my mother had found for private lessons. I couldn’t remember her name but with a little sleuthing from my Mom we found her, Barbara Coleman, click on her name to visit her website and see her incredible work! Barbara encouraged me to keep working long after I thought I was done with a piece, “there is always more work to create in each piece, challenge yourself to keep going,” she would say when my adolescence would cause me to give up and say “I’m done,” which really meant “I’m bored.” It was one of the greatest lessons I’ve learned about creativity, there is always more work to create, creativity is never truly “done.” That September I entered one of my pieces into the youth art category at the New Mexico State Fair and I won 2nd place! That drawing, titled “Celebration,” still hangs above my father’s recliner in the living room.

“Celebration” by SZV

When I was in college I realized I had a hard time listening to lectures and found that when I would doodle it would help me focus. Something happened to my brain when I would put pen, pencil or marker to paper and fill the margins and corners of my notebooks. Even recently while in virtual rehearsals and meetings I find myself reaching for scrap paper or envelopes to help keep my mind present and alert. Often times I look at the doodles I created and feel an ancient tie to the designs I’ve seen on sacred ruins in Mexico, petroglyphs in New Mexico or aboriginal artwork I’ve seen from Polynesian and Island cultures. There have been a few times during the early days of the pandemic, when I was surrounded by boxes and piles and pieces of my life while getting ready to move back home, that the early warning signs of a panic attack would rear its wild head. My weapon against this anxiety was to grab my art supplies and journal and began to let my hand lead the way out of the darkness.

Recent doodles creating during Zoom rehearsals and meetings.

Last fall while living in NYC, I took myself to a Blick’s art supply store in the Lower East side and bought a set of pastels and charcoal, a small sketch book and a canvas pouch with Frida blessing the front to put it all in. I went to a Mediterranean restaurant that had a live jazz trio playing, sat at the bar, ordered a glass of red wine and began my first pastel drawing in what probably had been about 10 years. Since then I’ve been slowly working on different pieces, inspired by nature and feelings. In the moments when I begin to feel the dread and worry about the future of my acting career, or the panic from the upcoming election and the pandemic, or the intense sorrow and grief from the many lives lost to the virus and violence, I grab my Frida pouch, sketch book and scatter the pastels out and let my hand lead. The feel of the chalk on my fingertips and the deepness of the colors and the intricateness of the designs begin to soothe my heart and freshen my spirit.

Contents of my artist pouch.

After creating a few pieces over my final weeks living in NYC I was invited to share something creative on the theme of hope by my dear friend Jess Goodwin who created the incredible organization The Major Lift. Below is the video I created that captured this wild and disciplined journey I have reignited in my day to day life.

Most recently, after a few conversations with loved ones, who were encouraging and excited about my work, I decided to take a leap and share my art! Just click on the image below to visit my artist shop on the Society6 platform. If you like what you see click on the “follow” tab to keep up to date with my new artwork and maybe order a piece to share with a loved one. Thank you for reading and I hope you like what you see 🙂

“Art is not what you see, but what you make others see.” ~Edgar Degas

The Journey Home…

Below is a link to a short podcast I did recently for The Magic Theatre in San Francisco, and below that is the story of my journey home during this global pandemic.

(Please check out the other podcasts from The Magic Theatre, they include such artists as Paula Vogel, Luis Alfaro, Nilo Cruz, Sean San Jose and Yetta Gottesman!)

As I typed these words the wind outside created music with the wind chimes and birds while the cows and prairie dogs run free in the fields outside my windows in Northern New Mexico, my home.

This gypsy girl has settled her feet in the earth and a journey inward begins…

Enjoy!

I had planned a birthday trip home to New Mexico on the 17th of March, but as the news started coming in about Covid-19 and the shuttering began I quickly knew that traveling to see my parents was not an option, it was too risky. So I settled in to sequestering and monitored the numbers around the globe each day, startled to watch the exponentiality of it all, the devastation, the loss… The Loss.

So many people have passed away this year, a great harvest as my mother says when there are just too many beautiful people leaving this realm…

Naomi Licht, Terrence McNalley, Diane Rodriguez, John Prine, Tom McCracken, Michael Keenan… just to name a few. Not all passed from the virus, but all were life forces, legends, change makers, creators, lovers, parents, children, friends, family. So many friends of mine have lost parent’s and loved ones over the past couple of months and the weight of this collective grief is staggering.

Very soon I realized that I was being called home, I needed to be with my family, I had to leave LA. There is plenty of evidence that this is going to last a lot longer than we think and there is no “going back to normal.” New Mexico is going to be my shelter in this storm, (cue Bob Dylan) she always has been my safe place, my sanctuary and she is calling me HOME.

The universe sent me three special friends to create a circle of four to pack up all my belongings in a U-Haul cargo van, we were done in less than an hour. We gathered in my empty room and gave thanks and blessings for a safe trip and with happy tears I hit the road. Saying goodbye to my Boyle Heights apartment broke my heart, it had been a refuge, a home base for a crazy lifestyle, I will forever miss my green walls and my sweet roommates…

 

Somehow I had selected the “avoid highways” option on my GPS and found myself driving north out of LA, passing the Rose Bowl and then right through the Angeles mountains and Joshua trees near Victorville. I stayed a night in Arizona and landed in Albuquerque NM on Tuesday the 5th of May. After unloading everything into a storage unit, I had a backyard distant dinner with my folks (elk red chile, beans, homemade tortillas and a Tequila Marias my mom’s creation)  and then stayed in a hotel down the street. The next day I packed up my mom’s Subaru and hit the road again. Heading north to Rio Arriba county I found myself in wonder and excitement to be back in my home state.

IMG_9657

View of Pedernal Mesa behind Abiquiu Lake

The land here is phenomenal, it used to be only 200 miles north of the equator and was wet and swampy and tropical with little lizard/bird looking dinosaurs running in packs/flocks, but the earth shifted and became a high arid desert. I imagine that all the sage bushes and chamiza were once seaweed and coral, the highway runs along the bottom of what used to be a great lake or ocean…

I arrived at the house my father built, unlocked the door, walked inside and took a deep breath. This is home. I am home. After a few weeks of quarantine I will head back down to the city to hunker down with the folks, but in all honesty this house in Northern New Mexico has enchanted me deeply and I want to stay. I am starting to realize that this is my inheritance, this home, this land and it’s good to be here (Cue Digable Planets)

Los Angeles has a piece of my heart, por vida, and all of my tribe there have imprinted on me so strongly that I take their love and light everywhere I go. It’s not a goodbye, just a change in geography, a link that will become even stronger as I listen to what my land and home and blood and spirit are telling me during this solitude and silence.

It’s time to listen.

My plan was to make a video of my trip with footage along the 968 mile trip to share with you all, however there is no WiFi up here and my phone’s hot spot only supports simple online tasks.

So instead I wrote a poem:

 

The City of Angels, far away through a veil of nostalgia and love.

I wind along the serpentine road and find myself smiling.

The Joshua trees form stories with the metal electrical men.

It felt like I flew along that highway, climbing elevations and finding myself closer to the Rio Grande Valley.

A peacock fanned out his tail and called out to me on Matthew’s St, but this street is spelled with two “Ts”, my Boyle Heights calle only had one…

The journey continues North, the land changes and changes.

I am changing.

I am one with the road, tracking the mileage of my ups and downs, the vast terrains of my heart map.

I land in my land, I am in the house my father built, in the North where my mother cultivated and created.

I am home.

I am land.

Homeland.

The full flower moon rises and all that has been germinating and hibernating is growing with awakening.

IMG_9683

Self Portrait in the La Puente House

 

Thank you for reading.

I hope that you and your loved ones are happy and healthy.

I will be taking a break from Facebook and Instagram but you can reach me via email, text or phone.

Lot’s of love and light to you during this challenging time.

xo,

SZV

Here’s one of my favorite songs to celebrate returning to Mi Tierra Encantada

This 4th of July…

mojadaFamilia

Benjamin Luis McCracken(Acan), Alex Hernandez (Jason), Sabina Zúñiga Varela (Medea) and Socorro Santiago (Tita) Photo by Joan Marcus

Today the cast & crew of Mojada at The Public Theater in NYC have the day off. We’ve been deep in Tech rehearsals and have completed our first two preview performances. As we gear up to open on July 17th we will continue to work during the day, implementing changes, polishing moments and then sharing with more preview audiences. It’s been an incredible journey so far, one that I have been on for the past 7 years and yet today the themes of this play: immigration, love, sacrifice and trauma are just as relevant. Based on one of the first immigrant stories: Medea, this play tells the story of one family that gives up everything for the “American Dream.”

Click each poster image for a video history of the past productions:

Bruja The MagicMojadaGettyMojadaOSFMojadaPortland19Mojada_keyart_socialFacebook_1200x600_V1

I started this blog post back in 2012 when I was first cast as Medea in Luis Alfaro’s inaugural adaptation of Medea titled BRUJA at The Magic Theater. It was my first professional Equity play and was a beautiful rite of passage into this life as an actor. Today I reflect on the honor it has been to live in the skin of Medea, to tell this story and to continue the dialogue about the atrocities that are happening at our border.

 Last night I couldn’t get to sleep, I fell down the rabbit hole of reading articles online about the conditions of the detention centers and migrant camps at our border. There is a line in our play where the character of Pilar tells Medea: “Don’t be selfish, Medea. If you took Acan with you, they would probably separate you and put him out in a cage in the desert somewhere. Is that you want? Do you want Acan to suffer? What can you give him? Do you want him to end up like you?”

On this Independence Day I can’t help but think of the mothers and children that have been stripped of their freedom, detained and held without water or soap, sleeping on cement floors with hollowed looks in their eyes and dried tears on their cheeks.

For me, there is nothing to celebrate today.

Not while these brothers and sisters are trapped in that scar we call a border.

Organizations to Donate to:

UnitedWeDream-Logo-2016-stroke-1

RAICES_LogoBALOGOBLACKTRANS

MEDEA: They will never build a wall big enough. But they will always try. 

childdrawing

A child’s drawing depicting time spent in US Customs and Border Protection custody.

Articles I came across last night:

‘Nothing Prepares You for the Inhumanity of It’ by Elaine Godfrey

‘How a lack of personal care products contributes to harrowing conditions for detained migrants’ by Stephe Grob Plante

‘The Unimaginable Reality of American Concentration Camps’ by Masha Gessen

‘Everything We Know About the Inhumane Conditions at Migrant Detention Camps’ by Matt Stieb

‘Pediatricians share migrant children’s disturbing drawings of their time in US custody’ by Elizabeth Cohen

 

 

 

 

Ringing in 2018, and a wish for you…

The moon rose up in the east, signaling her journey towards her fullest form.

Two cousins placed pennies on the train tracks, awaiting the physics that create shining smashed copper discs.

Grandaunties cuddled the newest addition to the tribe, connecting the full circle that is family.

These little ones are our future, making this world a better place, one new wonder at a time.

And these cousins are gonna take over the world, but after they finish their tea.

The older cousins enjoyed a night in with a spread fit for royalty: meats and cheese, bacon wrapped dates, pate and bubbly.

The Full Wolf Moon rose higher to watch the festivities around the globe, surrounded by her community of stars.

And tonight, my wish for you is:

No matter where you’ve been, where you are going, or what you desire, just know that you are loved. Today is a beginning, but it is also just a moment. A place-marker along our path of purpose. No pressure, just energy for growth! Find what you are passionate about, and do that as much as you can. Surround yourself with those that light your heart on fire and give new meaning to the word joy. Create your best self, throw that away and then do it again! Enjoy the ride. Take time to watch children play. Sit in silence. And gaze at the moon. She waxes and wanes, fills and empties, shines and dims, just like we do. So amidst the ups and downs, find comfort in the in-betweens…

That’s where the true fight resides, that place where you choose to keep going. Or that time you feel you can’t go on. We’ve all had plenty of both. But embrace the challenge: That moment when you remember what you are made of. Don’t give up. Ask for help. Bask in your strength. Help others. Be of service. Change, resist, learn, rebel, reclaim, create. Listen.

Happy New You.

Happy New Year.

All my love,

SZV

Winter Solstice…

I woke up this Winter Solstice morning– well to be honest it was afternoon…

(Side-note: I haven’t been sleeping well most of the year.  I have been living out of suitcases and boxes, traveling to Oregon, California, New Mexico, Illinois, Pennsylvania & New York, working on a role that has enhanced/exhausted my emotional capacity, and I think my body has finally decided to REST. My appetite has been limited as well, I just haven’t felt like eating much. Yet the minute I got home to NM I’ve been eating serving after serving of homemade meals, sleeping so soundly, and I realized that being home in New Mexico has shifted me into a mode of sustenance and recuperation.)

So, I woke up today and saw this post by my mom:

25659278_10155430399158843_2056240327960225957_n

Winter Solstice has been a special day for me and my mom for almost 20 years now. We would regularly take walks along the Rio Grande river since I was able to walk, with our various dogs (Chula, Simpre, Sola) throughout the years. We ventured to a particular spot  along the Bosque that had a little juniper tree growing amongst the cottonwood trees. At the beginning it was only about 2 ft tall, and today it is about 20 ft. I feel as if this tree and I have been growing together, like she is my Bosque sibling. (My name Sabina translate to a species of juniper tree) We have created a tradition of decorating the tree with edible goodies for the birds and coyotes of the area to enjoy. Most of the time we make bird seed ornaments with peanut butter and pine cones. But this year we decide to just leave some cinnamon raisin bagels on the branches.

After decorating the tree we find a space along the river to sit and watch the sunset while watching the migrating cranes, Canadian geese and other fowl. We usually bring a little picnic and hot beverages… It is a celebration of the final light before the longest night. The time before the days begin to get brighter. A moment of silence in nature to reflect on the year, the ups and downs, the in-betweens.

I am so grateful to have had this moment this year, because what a year 2017 has been…

IMG_6089

Walking along the Bosque trail.

IMG_6090

The path to the tree…

IMG_6091

My Tree Sister, who has been trimmed for passing bikers…

IMG_6092

Mom decorating the tree…

IMG_6096

We found a pine cone from years ago that we had hung on the tree with peanut butter and birdseed.

IMG_6100

Bagel decorations for the birds!

IMG_6102

Bosque Tree decorating accomplished!

IMG_6105

Panorama view of our Winter Solstice picnic area

IMG_6106

Salud to our days getting brighter!

IMG_6108

My inspiration for looking towards the future, one of the brightest sources in my life to help me keep going…

IMG_6110

EL SOL, the life force that will grace us with more and more light after today…

Winter Blessings to you and all of your loved ones, may your days not only bring you more sunlight but also more love, joy, hope and action towards change. May your kernel of courage unfurl and bring strength into 2018!

HAPPY WINTER SOLSTICE!

Winter-Solstice-and-Yule-A-shift-from-darkness-to-light.jpg.optimalws prayer

Flying the coop: from one Tribe to another…

 

In many regional theaters there is a wall where actors can “leave their mark” to commemorate the end of a run. Sometimes it is in the dressing rooms, sometimes in a backstage hallway or in a rehearsal space. Back in 2012 I signed my first wall when I closed my first professional Equity show: Bruja by Luis Alfaro, directed by Loretta Greco. On Sunday I signed the dressing room wall at Portland Center Stage where we just closed Mojada: A Medea in Los Angeles by Luis Alfaro, directed by Juliette Carillo.

The journey of this show has been one that has shifted, flowed, moved and transformed over the years. In part because of the writing, the change in casts, locations and the political climate. I myself changed with the role, as one has too. She is a woman who has so many facets, so many thoughts and feelings, just as I do. The beautiful thing about live theatre and running the same show day after day is the growth that you accomplish, the flexibility and the surprises. I learned more about my strengths, my weaknesses, my fears and desires through this myth of Medea.

I also built family with this cast, joined a Tribe. We worked on this show for a better part of the year and as this play shares, dissects and explores the many facets of family, we did that too. It is a strange thing we do in the theatre, constantly joining and separating. Creating moments that become memories…

And now we are closed. This story sleeps as December comes into the world and I reflect on the final weekend in Portland:

Andy and Irene Robinson caught the Saturday Night show with their Daughter and Son in Law. Andy was the head of my MFA program at USC and led our class through some of the hardest, challenging, fulfilling classes for 3 years. He directed us in a studio project of Ted Huges adaptations of Greek myths: Tales from Ovid and then in our final year he directed us in 12th Night. His work in the classroom/rehearsal room, was one filled with charged energy, yearning, demands, love and joy. I couldn’t believe that he was there, probably better that I didn’t know. It’s an honor to continue to create with the spirit and passion he helped me recognize in myself.

IMG_5717

In 2003 I formed a theatre company with an incredible group of New Mexican artists, organizers and community members. It came out of a feeling that there needed to be more Latin@ voices on our stages, more stories of authenticity. Michael was one of those creative forces that helped found Teatro Nuevo Mexico and produced my first Luis Alfaro experience when I played the title role in Electricidad. Michael, Janette Sanchez-Izenman and I all attended The University of New Mexico and continue to work in our creative arenas. They drove all the way from Seattle to complete our circle and hear our story, and I know that the fact that there is a painting behind us that highlights COMMUNITY is not an accident. Both of these folks are tearing it up in Seattle and working hard for their Tribe. UNM Lobos reunited!IMG_E5724Just before our final show we gathered on stage to recognize the culmination of this great journey…

IMG_5726

Our stage manager, Chris Bolender, shared this letter with us. When we were in Ashland, OR for the Oregon Shakespeare Festival Mary Meagan Smith was our assistant stage manager and she sent these words to us to hear before we said goodnight to our story:IMG_5729

Probably the most emotional part of closing this show was saying good by to Jahnangel “JJ” Jimenez, the young actor who played my son. We were all overcome with the feeling of finality, of familia separating, of not breathing the same air in the same space any more…IMG_5743

He became one of us, embraced and trusted us…IMG_5739

For that I will be forever grateful…IMG_5740

I know that this world is in good hands because of JJ… he makes this a better planet to live on…IMG_5742

The obligatory empty dressing room capture…IMG_5731

Tita’s garden and all of our set props broken down and packed away…IMG_5732

The empty stage…IMG_5733

Our Tribe, Our Family, forever connected in the trials and tribulations of telling our story…

Left-Right back: Vilma Silva (Armida) Nancy Rodriguez (Josephina) Chris Bolender (Stage Manager) VIVIS (Tita) SZV (Medea) Lakin Valdez (Hason) Front: Ken Yoshikawa (Soldier)

IMG_3752

And now I am in New York, seeing the sights, watching plays, taking meetings, connecting with family and friends. I missed my Tribe, so I reached out to another one…

One the eve of a Full Super Moon, I gathered a few Kick Ass Womyn I knew were working and creating here in The Big Apple. Most of them I met through theatre and others I happened to meet through mutual friends. We gathered in the Parlor of Gloria Steinem’s house and had a salon. I was interested in hearing from others how they were feeling, how their creativity helped them through tough times, what are they working on, what are our dreams, who/what inspires us, how can we help each other.

We held space for each other, gifted each other with stories, laughter and truth. We also played dice, raffled off some beautiful thoughtful tokens and broke bread.

One of the activities was to take a moment in silence and write wishes for each other, express thoughts, quotes, beliefs in how to face life as a creative force. I then typed them up and sent it to the group, a manifesto of support, love and inspiration.

To remember we are not alone…

IMG_5804

It was a feeling I will never forget… and I hope that even after I leave NYC they will continue to connect, reach out, communicate and gather.

KickAss Womyns Gathering.jpg

Clockwise, starting under the elephant portrait: Hanna Zwyben, Rachel Jenison, Vivia Font, Regina Bain, Kristin Condon, Alexis Roblan, Adriana Gaviria, Jamie Ann Romero, Agunda Okeyo, SZV, Cassandra Lopez, Erin O’Connor and Stephanie Swirsky.

Tribe is where your heart is, we can find it if we look. If we reach out, if we invite, if we share. Taking time for self-care can be an ongoing battle for some of us. Sometimes we can find help with others. Reuniting us with that sense of family, connection and love. Saying goodbye is an opportunity to say hello…

Who are your Tribes?

Tribe Feathers circle

 

 

 

 

40 years strong!

Today my parents celebrate 40 years of Marriage!

      I sometimes wish I could have been a fly on the wall to have witnessed this day 40 years ago. From the stories I hear it sounds like it was a blast, tons of family and shenanigans. Luckily I have been blessed to witness 38 years of this bond, and through it all I have learned so much. Through the ups and the downs there have been lessons of forgiveness, flexibility, communication and love. Traditions are important. Dinner is important. Laughing and gardening are important. Family is important. Silence is important and writing cards and letters are important. Celebrating is important.

     Since I moved away from NM, my parents and I have been able to visit a lot of different places together depending on where I landed an acting gig. In each town we explore the food and sights and just hang out in a different environment, and this is something I cherish so much. So even though I don’t get to celebrate with them in person on this day, they are going to be coming to Portland soon and we get to have another adventure!

I cannot wait…..

Maria Varela & Lorenzo Zuniga married on November 5th 1977

mom before the wedding

Sunlight gracing the bride to be getting ready with help from my Aunt Frances as my cousin Gabe looks on…

clyde and dad

The best man, my Uncle Clyde, and my father strutting to the church before the ceremony, caught in a moment of style and coolness…

mom and dad vows

Mom and Dad joined together on this day in 1977 

mom and dad rings

Exchanging rings, those beautiful gold artistic bands that I’ve been looking at for decades…

mom and dad venice

Adventure on the Venice Boardwalk

mom and dad smiling

One of my favorite photos of the two of them. 

Happy 40th Anniversary Mom and Dad, I love you!

If you are reading this and have any memories or stories to share about their wedding day please do so in the comments below!

 

Anatomy of a Star…

WR 31a a rare example of a massive star

WR 31a, a rare example of a massive star, is the subject of this image from the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope.

What are stars made of?

How can we comprehend the substance that makes those celestial orbs glow…

We study the sun to understand our vast universal family of brilliant spots and swirls…

He is one of those celestial orbs, his energy runs hot and his eyes burn bright.

As I study him, I start to understand the anatomy of a Star:

There is a shine in his smile that warms who ever falls in that sweet path,

for his smile lights up a room and his hugs are just as warming.

When he steps on a stage his voice travels from light years away to vibrate deep in your bones,

He stands with an inner glow,

bursting with:

energy, electricity and elements.

Whatever story he is telling wraps you in a veil of stardust,

for he is one with the universe and continues to traverse the depths of our imagination and beyond.

On screen he surprises you with his familiarness, like seeing that one constellation you learned about way back when.

He is comforting, intriguing and brings out an inner peace when you see his face.

And those eyes, those beautiful eyes, create great galaxies of complex emotion and feeling…

Even though we cannot see all the stars during the day, we know they are a constant presence,

His presence is fiercely bright whether he is near or far.

It’s his gratefulness,

his giving,

his curiosity,

his desire,

his attention and his love.

He has great LOVE.

What are stars made of?

Joy, Determination, Vision, Hard-Work, Talent, Enthusiasm, Tenacity, Energy, Burning hunger and Grace…

This Star is rising and as I have watched his journey I have learned more about the beauty of our universe,

our world,

our work,

our craft…

Endless Congratulations to you: Miles Gaston Villanueva!

May this momentous time bring you happiness, elation, and bliss…

You are a Star and I love to watch you shine!

xo,

SZV

MGV Joy

Watch MGV in Law & Order True Crime: The Menendez Murders Tuesdays on NBC 10/9c 8   8 Episode Miniseries begins: Tuesday September 26th!

 

 

#MojadaMedeaOSF: El Ultimo…

IMG_2971

The Cast and Crew of Mojada: A Medea in Los Angeles at the Oregon Shakespeare Festival 2017

We did it! On July 6th, 2017 (the 110th birthday of Frida Kahlo) we closed the chapter on the Oregon Shakespeare Festival run of Luis Alfaro’s Mojada: A Medea in Los Angeles.

Closing performances are surreal and bittersweet. We connect and build a family of cast and crew, then we have to break apart. This show is particularly special as this story has been on a journey for five years. When it began in 2012 at The Magic Theatre in San Francisco it was finding it’s voice for the first time, after runs in Chicago and Los Angeles it was finding it’s characters and setting, refining the language and movement. Here in Oregon the story has leapt off of the pages again and into the hearts of thousands. Our story has found itself and actively cultivates empathy, discussion and catharsis. Each incarnation has given voice to the voiceless, remembered the forgotten and held space in honor of those who sacrifice daily to live and breathe.

IMG_2939

This is one of the most demanding roles I have faced. It is exhausting and exhilarating. Having approached Luis Alfaro’s Medea three times I have explored the depths and darkness of her plight over and over, and each time it has been a completely new experience.  The emotional demands, the heavy subject matter, the heartbreaking poetry, the love, the violence and the language permeate the rehearsal room and then bleed into the sacred space of the theatre. Something is conjured with this play, dark and light, new and old, sacred and profane, real and magical. The roots of this story run deep and I can’t help but thank these experiences in shaping my work as an artist and more importantly as a human.

FullSizeRender-9.jpg

L to R: 2012 Bruja @ The Magic Theatre, 2015 Mojada: A Medea in Los Angeles @ The Getty Villa, 2017 Mojada: A Medea in Los Angeles @ The Oregon Shakespeare Festival

Now after 42 performances, we take a pause in this chapter of our storytelling. The cast, set and costumes will be traveling to Portland Center Stage in November. Join us in the 5th production of this vital story in the American Theatre cannon and/or spread the word to your family and friends in the pacific northwest!

Until then I leave this video here as a remembrance of my journey with this production:

MOJADA: A MEDEA IN LOS ANGELES 

 

Enjoy!

A HUGE thank you to everyone who joined us on the journey of this story. To the cast and crew, you are all incredibly talented artists and the world of theatre is a better place because of you! To all of the audience members who gave me hugs, words of encouragement and love, I thank you from the bottom of my heart. To all of the family and friends (Mom and Dad, Rich and Theresa, Tia Dolores, Lisa and Jenny, Wilma, Sarita, Rafael, Monica, Elmira, John Lescault, Randall… just to name a few) who traveled up to this little Southern Oregon theatre town, I thank you for being a part of this journey. To my OSF family, I love you and I will miss each and every one of you, but I carry you in my heart. To my love Miles, who saw the show 9 times and sent me 9 roses on closing, I couldn’t have done this without your support, understanding and love…

Axqueniuhqui

(Thank You)

SZV

Mojada Full Poster OSF

 

 

 

 

#MojadaMedeaOSF: Penultimate. Only one chance left…

mojada-1Today marked our second to last performance of Luis Alfaro’s Mojada: A Medea in Los Angeles at the Oregon Shakespeare Festival. It is auspicious not only because it happens to be July 2nd, but also because it is the anniversary of the 1st production of the Oregon Shakespeare Festival that started in 1935!

OSF Birthday 2017

Drama professor, Angus L. Bowmer, a teacher at Southern Oregon Normal School in Ashland, approached the city with a plan to have a theatre festival as part of the 4th of July celebration. The city approved and gave him $400 towards the festival. He and his students got to work creating the costumes, simple props and set pieces and presented two plays: Twelfth Night on July 2nd, Merchant of Venice on July 3rd  and Twelfth Night again on the 4th of July. The Oregon Shakespeare Festival  was born! It began in a repertory schedule and continues 82 years later as the largest regional rotating repertory theatre in the United States!

Click HERE to listen to a 1952 radio interview with Angus L. Bowmer.  He talks about the history of the Festival, provides an extended excerpt from the 1951 production of “Twelfth Night,” and discusses the upcoming 1952 season.

IMG_2504

The Cast of Mojada: A Medea in Los Angeles: (Clockwise Left to Right) Nancy Rodriguez, SZV, Lakin Valdez, Vilma Silva, VIVIS (center) and Jahnangel “JJ” Jimenez                                               (Not pictured Connor Chaney)

What a journey this has been, I am still surprised that we have only one show left… I am in disbelief, some might call it denial…

As I walked home today I noticed this poster in front of the Episcopal Church on 2nd St. I couldn’t find the name of the artist, so if anyone knows, please let me know! It stopped me in my tracks and brought tears to my eyes… To know that there are people, families, children, at this very moment, making the journey to cross the border. They are risking their lives and hearts for a dream, a need, shelter, hope, new beginnings…

FullSizeRender-4

I love telling this story.

I am honored be able tell this story.

I hope you have heard our story.

Please join us to listen to this story.

Our final performance is Thursday July 6th at 8pm. Get your tickets HERE.

My heart is prepared to tell it for the last time on the Angus Bowmer stage, but my spirit isn’t ready…

I am comforted by the announcement that we will be transferring this production to Portland Center Stage in the fall. The entire cast, set and costumes with be heading up north in late October to rehearse, tech and present this story November 4th-26th. So mark your calendars if you live in the area, or send the information along to friends and family you may have that live nearby.

Mojada-750x414 PCS.jpg

HAPPY BIRTHDAY OSF!

Thank you for being a home away from home, a sanctuary for telling stories and a vehicle for change…

Congrats to the cast and crew of Mojada: A Medea in Los Angeles for one hell of a run!

I am proud to be a company member and part of this fantastic cast!

Post Navigation