You may know that the play that I wrote that was featured in the Austin Latino New Play Festival in 2015 was picked up by Teatro Vivo for their 2015-2016 season. And showtime is in 2 days! The show is directed by the fabulously talented Florinda Bryant (who slays at teatro is you ask me!) and brought to life by a beautiful ensemble of artists.
I wanted to take the time to connect with the members of the cast and crew to hear about their experiences and their stories. First up, the talented ensemble member Irving Calderon!
Irving was raised in Southern California and Fort Worth, Texas. He graduated from The University of Texas at Austin (Hook Em’). Irving loves performing and appeared in Austin productions of the Wiz and King of Hearts.
What is your reaction/connection to the Stories of Us?
When I read the play for the first time, I had a lot of “damn that is so effin real” moments. The play reveals several stories within the Latino and Black community that are left unspoken. I think about these stories often but it felt good to see them laid out naked on paper.These stories makes us feel uncomfortable but the truth often is uncomfortable. I am glad that Jelisa had the courage to shed light to these stories.
These stories makes us feel uncomfortable but the truth often is uncomfortable.
How has the process of creating The Stories of Us been?
I love everyone involved in bringing these stories to life. We all relate to the play in some way and the amount of dedication we put into the play demonstrates how much it means to us. Every day, in our first week of rehearsals, Florinda (our director) opened up a long discussion on various topics including: race, gender roles, injustices, discrimination, bi-racial love, and many other similar topics. At the time, I was confused as to why we were spending so much time discussing these topics instead of getting to work on the scenes. We only had a month to rehearse and we spent our first week talking instead of acting. However, in hindsight, I see how valuable it was for our cast to get our minds into the world before we began rehearsing. Our conversations got us emotionally invested and reminded us about the reality of the stories in the play. Yes, we are actors acting out scenes of the play but every day when we finish our show and step outside the theater doors we continue being the characters in the Stories of Us. — I am excited to witness the reactions of our audience!
Yes, we are actors acting out scenes of the play but every day when we finish our show and step outside the theater doors we continue being the characters in the Stories of Us.
What other projects/play have you worked on?
I am fairly new to the theater industry. A little over a year ago, I was in my first play, The Wiz. My roommate at the time, who is an actor, dared me to audition for The Wiz and I had an amazing experience. I realized how much I like to perform and I was amazed at how liberating it is to be someone/something else on stage. After, the play ended I wanted another similar experience so I got into my second play called King of Hearts and now I am on my third play with Stories of Us.
My roommate at the time, who is an actor, dared me to audition for The Wiz and I had an amazing experience. I realized how much I like to perform and I was amazed at how liberating it is to be someone/something else on stage.
Thank you Irving for your words and amazing work! You can see Irving and the rest of the cast April 22nd! The Stories of Us will be playing April 21, 2016-May 8, 2016 in Austin, Texas. You can purchase tickets here.