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 tag “Medea”

This 4th of July…


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:



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


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





#MojadaMedeaOSF: El Ultimo…


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.


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.


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:




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…


(Thank You)


Mojada Full Poster OSF





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