Hello Gentle Reader!!!
It’s been a long time.
I know in the last post (from a million years ago) I had mentioned that I started a new job. While it is a pretty stale excuse… YES that is my excuse for not getting back to the postings and what nots. But I am loving it. There is a TON of trainings that I have to do, seemingly nonstop, but it is a really fascinating.
In that same post, I had mentioned that I was triggered by something in the In The Heights movie and that it was a planned upcoming post. Well, guess what? That post is finally here. LOL!
Now I know, my Dear Reader, you are most likely thinking, “like your last post, that movie is long gone” to which I would begrudgingly concur. Firstly, can I just say how bummed I am that it did not do as well in the box office as I had hoped? Even with its flaws, it was still a celebration of an under represented culture on the big screen. But, I digress.
Yes, ITH has been out of the cinemas for at least 6 weeks, but what has reignited the issue was the newest Marvel movie, Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings.
While I am not Chinese and have no Chinese heritage in my ancestral tree, the same thing popped up as I sat in the auditorium watching this REALLY great movie. (Before I go further, YES!!!! YOU SHOULD GO SEE THIS FILM!)
Anyway, the thing that both films made me aware that I was craving deep down in my marrow was this sense of belonging to something older; something wiser. I can only call it culture or traditions, but personally, I feel it is something much deeper. It is those old philosophies and histories that formed these groups of people that share this deep connection. It is deeper than simply knowing your nationality. Disclaimer: before you drag me for this, I KNOW IT IS A MARVEL MOVIE, so the cultural references may be inaccurate as all get out. LOL!
I think back to that impactful interaction I had with the middle eastern lady in my store in the Before Times. She spoke of her culture and the need for human interaction with inviting strangers into her home for coffee.
(It must be nice to live in a place where people are that rational that you know this stranger isn’t going to bring harm to your person. I cannot fathom the idea in this country.)
I think that woke up the idea in my subconscious because I take note of it more often than I used to. In a previous survival job, an old coworker would always ask me where I thought this or that person was from when they walked by our office. My response was always the same. Why is that important to you? Isn’t it more important if they are a kind/good person? I think it was something in her culture that made her want to connect on a deeper level, and it doesn’t get much more deep than diving into your ancestry. She tried to talk to me about it, but I only had a superficial connection to not only my heritage but also my family.
Growing up, I was told a lot of things that were contrary to who I knew I was inside. Even as a kid, I knew exactly who I was, most gay kids do. I wasn’t macho or tough in the way the typical Latino male was “supposed” to be. I didn’t have role models to show me there was another way. I’d like to believe that my family thought they were helping to toughen me up when they would put boxing gloves on us kids and have us fight each other. However, I know that it was just for cruel amusement. The religion that my family was supposed to have marked people like me an abomination (talk about dramatic). So I severed that cord. What was the point of holding on to something that didn’t value people like me?
I have often voiced regrets about not taking pictures of or with dear friends during events or parties. This is very true. I don’t know how I feel about not having pictures of over half of my family. Half I don’t even know who they are, like names, ages or how we are related. The memories I do have are dark for a lot of them, like the forced boxing.
The last time I saw my Nina aka Godmother (to me that is her name not the religious title) she pulled me aside and said I’m sorry for not treating you the right way. I was completely surprised by this and caught off guard that I nonchalantly told her it was okay. No worries. I’m a such a dummy LOL! While I appreciated it, truly, I would loved to have had a really in depth conversation about it. I now I was a bit of a brat.
I have been wondering, if I had been more open than they were, would I have that connection that I am currently in search of. It is one thing to know where you came from, but as I watched those movies and hearing the tiny tidbits of philosophies or historical events, it seems like it is another thing to be a part of them.
Now, Kind Reader, since this is supposed to be a theatre blog, I have to do the tie in! LOL!
This brings up a new journey for me. More like a new way of thinking about my character choices and how I build characters. Instead of merely going by the events of the script that motivate me or the ideas of what I think the rest of that character’s life up until the point of the play has been, I have this new factor that I can play with. How did the events of his culture shape him? Was it a positive or negative impact? I am really looking forward to layering this new texture onto upcoming characters I play.
Wait! I can hear it already. “As an actor, that is what you are supposed to do anyway!” Yes, this is true. However, every character I have played was always a kind of “every man” kind of character. There were layers to the characters, but because I, me myself, had no real connection to a heritage, it wasn’t one of the layers that was applied.
I am glad that there is so much to learn about what it is to be human. The complexities are so vast and it is what keeps my love of acting so strong.
Thank you, Gentle Reader for taking the time to help me heal a little bit of my soul that I didn’t know needed it.
So, let me ask you… Where are you from? What is one thing that you love about your culture? Let me know in the comments. I have started to read up on history and looking into folklore but like literally an hour before I began writing this, so don’t quiz me yet. LOL!
Thank you again, and I look forward to learning more about you all.
Stay safe and alert and share the kindness in your heart.