From left to right: Adelina Duse, Suzette Banzo, Joseé A. Esquea, Dalia Davi, Tere Martinez, A.B. Lugo
This morning Director Joseé A. Esquea contacted me regarding my availability to do a reading of the play Snake Island, written by Tere Martínez. I immediately said yes, and waited patiently to receive the script. I was ready to strangle Joseé when 4 PM came around and I still hadn't received it; showtime was at 6PM. This reading was part of celebrating NYC LATIN MEDIA & ENTERTAINMENT WEEK brought to us by HOLA Hispanic Organization of Latin Actors. The script finally arrived at 4:30 and I drove to the venue in a jiffy after reading only half of it. Once there I continued to read it and my last page of dialogue put me in a mini state of panic. My character recalls a student (of her's) that has water in his lung and sings a verse from a Row, Row, Row Your Boat. The questions rushed over me... What would that sound like?!?! Can anyone give me an example? Is there something on YouTube? How am I going to do this?!?! OH NO! How do I interpret the words of the writer?!?! Joseé saw the panic in my demeanor and did what every good director would do...in a soothing tone he let me know that it wasn't important to sound like there was water in my lung, but rather the interpretation of what the student was doing and how recalling it affected my character. "AHA!" When the moment came I did what felt right innately and received wonderful feedback from the writer, Ms. Martinez, who told me that she loved what I did with my last line and couldn't have been happier. I know Joseé didn't set out intentionally to have me grow from this experience (or did he?), but I am indebted to his procrastination for challenging me and most importantly for trusting me.
I have viewed my share of episodes of The Young and the Restless, Bold and the Beautiful and a few other soap operas. But when you grow up latina, you have also been exposed to the world of Telenovela's. Spanish soap operas don't last for twenty five years or more like American ones do. Novelas usually have a limited run of approximately six months, but they sure cram in the drama!
Telenovelas continue to thrive during a time when soap operas like All My Children and As the World Turns have lost their appeal and have met their fate. A month ago I responded to a casting for a Latina mom and shortly realized that the best part about acting is that I get to be a mom without ever changing a diaper or having to worry about financing my child's education. Purrrrrrrfect!
I arrived on set at 7:30 AM for hair and makeup, then met my "husband" and "son". We took our Cuban family portrait just as we wrapped up shooting our scene for the Colombian telenovela ...."Alla Te Espero"