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

Archive for the month “December, 2017”

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:

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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…

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Walking along the Bosque trail.

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The path to the tree…

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

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Mom decorating the tree…

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

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Bagel decorations for the birds!

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Bosque Tree decorating accomplished!

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Panorama view of our Winter Solstice picnic area

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Salud to our days getting brighter!

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

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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!

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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.

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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…

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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)

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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…

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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.

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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

 

 

 

 

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