vada | ancestors

Do I belong here?

A familiar question through the years.
If I’m not accepted by the powers that be, do I belong here?
Liz Gilbert raises the question, “Who in your family felt they belonged?”
Felt they were worthy enough to be invited to the party?
The women in my life are small towny folk, most living in rural parts of Chile.
Most of them caked in gossip distraction, hard work and getting by on the paycheck.

They are also kind people..
Will cook for you
Will laugh with you
Will cry with you
But if you do one wrong in their eyes, beware of the gossip train.

Aunt Carmen wanted to be a hairdresser, she was an entrepreneur, she started her own salon from scratch in the comfort of her family’s home.
She’s now in her 60s.
Aunt Mary started a job with the Municipality years ago as an assistant. Now in her 40s, she’s the Executive Assistant, and salivating for retirement that looms in the distance.
Both are single.
Both hate men.
Both love drama.

Aunt Mandy is in Australia, working hard as a Nurse.
She owns a big piece of land in Yea, Victoria.
She’s a quiet achiever, positive, kind and devoted to her children.

Aunt Vada — haven’t seen her in a minute.
Canadian, hard worker, learn to speak Spanish from scratch.
She had 2 gorgeous daughters (Victoria and, what’s the other one?) with my father’s brother, Peter. Who I had a crush on as a child. God he was hot.
She took her girls and up and left Peter, the farm, their responsibilities.
She never return to Chile.
Pretty devastating to the family, and to Peter, but she had the balls to escape.
Against social form, gossip and excuses, she took care of her own.
I see myself in her.

These are working class people.
Dirt under the skin, grease on the elbows; ripped clothes and shabby hair.
I’m the first actor in the family to make some kind of a living.
First one to grow some entitlement bones.
First to focus on Art.

And yet..
These are the women I feel most comfortable in playing on screen or stage.
They are my purpose.
Yup, I’m on the war-path of representing these women with brutal, distinct honesty.

Author: pizzaslices

Liza is an actor and co-creator of Subway Token Films, a film production company that captures Street Level Miracles through films. That is, moments in our lives when the story as we know it stops, the lens is pulled back and something more expansive is revealed to us. Liza has won awards and audiences alike for her portrayals of the immigrant story on stage and film. She lives in New York City and Los Angeles with her partner, actor Felix Solis.