Introducing Lisa Tejero : After All the Terrible Things I Do

March 15, 2016
Stories

PHOTO CREDITS
From (left to right): Colin Sphar and Lisa Tejero in a publicity image for About Face Theatre’s Chicago premiere of after all the terrible things I do by A. Rey Pamatmat, directed by Andrew Volkoff.  Photo by Christopher Semel.

INTRODUCTION
My father is originally from the Philippines, My mother from Virginia, they met in St. Louis at a hospital where he was a doctor & she was a nurse. So I am a mid-west-amer-asian gal who travels a lot & is somehow convinced that it has something to do with her DNA being so far flung. One of my travel adventures includes living in the Philippines for a year, shortly after college- during which I  worked at the Repertory theatre in Manila, did voice over work, though my tagalog is extremely minimal despite taking classes & trying to learn the national language - my english was a commodity especially for dubbing - I distinctly remember "re-voicing" a pre-existing Australian tv commercial for women's deodorant. I  was roommates w/ the then prime ministers daughter & found myself in the middle of a revolution & on the front lines of the peoples power movement. My career has taken me all around the country & world (most recently China) but I consider Chicago my home.After All The Terrible Things I Do is running through APRIL 10, 2016 at About Face Theater. http://aboutfacetheatre.com/productions/after-all-the-terrible-things-i-do/

WHAT'S YOUR PERSONAL STORY?
I was born and raised in Boise, ID, where I did my undergrad in theatre at Boise State University. I moved to Honolulu in 2011 to pursue my masters in Western Performance at the University of Hawaii at Manoa. There, I taught undergraduate level performance classes and workshops, which was a terrific experience and one of the best things about my education at UH. Having graduated, I bummed around the country and New Zealand for a few months before moving to Chicago with my husband last March. I still feel new to Chicago, but have already fallen in love with the culture, the people, and definitely the theatre scene. I also recently adopted a rescue dog named Rosie, who brings a lot of energy and love to our lives.

WHAT'S YOUR CHARACTER STORY IN "AFTER ALL THE TERRIBLE THINGS I DO"?
Linda was born & raised in the Philippines, was raised Catholic, married out of college, to a business major, had a son & shortly after he was born they moved to the states into a smaller mid-western town. After they settled  in a bit she was able to fulfill her lifetime dream & love of books by opening her own bookstore. Which by the time we meet her in her story it has become the primary focus of her life  & the place that gives her opportunity to encounter other people  & their stories that can help her understand & process the darker events in her life & the choices she has made.

WHAT CHALLENGES DOES YOUR CHARACTER FACE TELLING THIS STORY?
While trying to find out personal details of someones extremely private experiences which initially seem like a redemptive & healing path, Linda has to remember & relive aspects of her own painful past while still trying to retain it in a narrative that is not only palatable to the outside world but to  her inner idea of herself as well. Only to find  that the person she is trying to do it with is basically doing the same thing as well. So what initially looked like friendship & healing borne out of shared traumas unexpectedly ends up being a high stakes poker game of emotions- full of high stakes, raises, bluffs that cannot resolve until all the "cards" are revealed & both players have both hands palms up.

HOW DOES YOUR CHARACTER OVERCOME THOSE CHALLENGES?
She charges full force ahead - it's the only direction & nuance she knows.Even her love is aggressive.The particular challenge of this 2 person play is that the other character is the same way, so just by their sheer nature they are chemically combustible  together- but simultaneously also really needs that specific other person to get to the other side & start to heal their unhealthy psyche wounds. There might have been easier and gentler ways to get that other side but she does not know them.which has been a challenge for me since it is counter-intuitive to how I meet the world.

ANY LAST COMMENTS?
It's been extremely interesting creating a narrative of a character, where the character itself is dealing with creating/understanding their own narrative --- in a fictional space surrounded by books representing reams of primarily fictional lives written by actual writers. It can get a little deep.Being an avid reader from an early age it's been Fabulous!!! being in the "hug" of so many books. & has taken discipline not to be distracted by looking at them & opening them & start reading or even to linger over "old friends" .

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Mia Park
Mia Park shares her passion of discovery through teaching yoga and acting. Currently studying acupuncture and Chinese medicine, Mia is also a producer, writer, motivator, and celebrator of life. Mia has lived in Chicago for over twenty years and calls this city that works her home.

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Meet Harmony Zhang
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Free tickets can be reserved on October 27, 2017 at noon at the box office, by calling 773-325-7900, or emailing theatreboxoffice@depaul.edu. Press Opening is Wednesday, November 8, 2017 at 7:30 PM. **Preview is Tuesday, November 7, 2017 at 7:30 PM. The House of Bernarda Alba will be performed in Room 403 of The Theatre School at DePaul University at 2350 N Racine Ave, Chicago, IL 60614 What's your personal story? I grew up in Tucson, Arizona as one of very few Chinese Americans in my neighborhood. I remember that my sister and I were the only Chinese kids in my whole elementary school. However, my family attended a Chinese church in downtown Tucson, and I also attended Tucson Chinese School where I learned to read and write Mandarin Chinese. I’m very thankful for the persistence that my parents had to have my sister and me grow up learning Chinese and holding on to our ethnic culture. However, growing up, I felt like I was never fully Chinese nor fully American. I didn’t feel the need to blend in with the other kids, but I also desired to connect better with others. An opportunity came up in kindergarten when the entire grade put on a show for the whole school. This was the first time that I felt like I was part of a team, part of a larger group effort to create something fun and beautiful. I remember that year, our production was called ‘To the Future and Beyond,’ and I sang the final solo of the show. In middle school and high school, I continued to take drama classes whenever possible. I loved learning about the lives of people so different from me, memorizing my lines, and sharing those stories with audiences. In college at Duke University, I decided to major in Psychology and Theater Studies, and also performed in three of the Theater Department’s Mainstage shows. Currently, I’m in my second year of my MFA in Acting program at The Theatre School at DePaul University. What's your character's story in "The House of Bernarda Alba”? My character’s name is Angustias, which means anguish or distress. She is the eldest unmarried daughter of Bernarda Alba and is already 39. Angustias is the sole daughter of Bernarda Alba’s former husband, while the rest of her sisters are the daughters of Antonio Maria Benavides, the man they are all mourning at the top of the show. Angustias’ father was rich, so when Antonio Maria Benavides dies and the property must be divided, Angustias’ share of the estate is much larger than that of her sisters. This wealth that Angustias has is then attractive to Pepe, who is trying to marry her, and while Angustias truly believes that he loves her for her, she really just wants to be loved and free from the oppression and alienation she feels within the walls of Bernarda’s house. What challenges does your character face telling this story? Angustias is constantly struggling with the antagonistic energy she receives from her sisters. No matter what she does, her sisters find some way to make her feel even more alienated and separate from the group. No one really gives her a chance to share more about herself. Angustias is always defending herself, but somehow it always comes off as offensive towards her sisters. She doesn’t feel understood. She wants her mother’s approval, but also doesn’t feel fully understood by her either. Angustias has a hard time in this story, because she doesn’t feel like anyone is on her side. How does the character overcome those challenges? Angustias changes throughout the play—I won’t give away too much, but in some ways, Angustias is redeemed from all of her bitterness at the end of the play when her sisters discover how they have wronged her. While Angustias behaved more out of spite at the top of the show, she begins to genuinely ask for help, advice, and empathy at the end of the play. Angustias overcomes her challenges of alienation towards the end of the play when she risks being judged by her mother and sisters by being more vulnerable, and seeking to find the truth, even if she gets hurt in the end. Any other comments? I hope that this play helps audience members to be thankful for the people in life who love them, to hold them close, and to try to understand each other instead of being blinded by individual desires. Why not work together? Why not be a team and create something beautiful? Life is too short not to make the most of it every day. Thank you so much for your time!
Mia Park
11/13/2017