My greatest gift as an artist is my cross-cultural experience, both in my personal life and my professional one. I spent my formative years in Dallas, Texas, in a small area in the heart of downtown known as Little Mexico Village. Not only did Latinos (such as myself) live in this small geographical location but also Native Americans, Blacks, Filipinos, and Asians. In spite of all the turmoil and depredation that accompany an inner city existence, we came together as a community. We accepted and embraced each other’s differences and began a life long journey exploring the beauty within each culture we encountered. Although many died, a few did make it out, and this is the basis for my involvement in the Diversity movement.
While each contributor or movement has its individual history, issues and identity; the unifying factor lays in the fact that theatre, for these groups, acts as a mirror to itself, reflecting or reporting its ancestry, politics, beliefs, ideals, social aesthetics and cultural uniqueness.I have spent my life as an artist creating or having a hand in beginning eight theatre companies across the country from Dallas to Phoenix to Seattle and now here in San Diego. The companies have been molded to always have social issues and the voice of the disadvantaged at the heart of the creation of all it’s works. We have created theatre in the streets, on roofs and in the communities that make up the neighborhoods that these companies lived and created in.
I have created a curriculum for the Old Globe, which was implemented at Brooklyn Elementary that was based on the “Actos’ of Luis Valdez. I continue to develop my professional career by creating theatre locally ( The Collective Theatre here in San Diego) and developing International work that I travel to Mexico City and Oaxaca with.
Also I have created with a colleague at University of San Diego the Community Theatre Project, which is a service-learning component of the curriculum I am developing at SDSU. I have created courses in Diversity and in the new Minor (Media Arts and Technology). On these projects I have worked with a student population of both graduate and undergraduate.
In all I do, I strive to represent the best of all worlds, the ideas of many to express one movement, action or text. I have translated Spanish classical literature, modern South American texts and adapted German, French and Greek plays. As I nurture artists of my same ilk, I continue to create theatre with the same ideas of diversity that I used to develop the personal world around me: theatre that casts blindly, theatre that visits many cultures in one text, that explores texts in different languages, uses artists of varied disciplines to create new ones, and theatre that always fosters new mixtures of growth as artists and people of color.