|Mr. Oscar Contreras|
This is the first of a five part series of profiles with the artists that make up Audacity Theatre Lab. First up... Mr. Oscar Contreras.
A: Born in Rio Verde, San Luis Potosi, Mexico and grew up in Fort Worth, Texas (Diamond Hill)
Q: Strangest Theatre-related job?
A: Dressing in drag for a company training seminar on diversity "It's what makes us special!" To this very day I get shivers down my spine and wonder what the hell made me say "Yes, I'll do it"
Q: What experience(s) made you want to go into the theatre?
A: I needed one more credit to graduate from High School and my options were P.E. or drama and there was no way I was going to go into the boys locker room, so I decided I would go into Drama.
I was pretty guarded and shy most of my youth and I remember my first couple of drama classes, I was told to express myself in any way I wanted... I was told to act up and it would be ok... I was told that I was allowed to not be myself and everything would be fine and for a gay boy growing up in a pretty rough area in Fort Worth I always had to hide who I really wanted to be... so this theatre thing was LIBERATING. My first role was in the play Everyman and I played the role of Death, it was fascinating I got to play such a dark, sinister role, announce the death and take the main character to hell... and then go home and drink chocolate milk and watch cartoons... it was great and I was hooked.
Q: Tragic flaw?
A: Over thinking... needing for everything to make scence in my head before I take the next step.... it makes writing a play just the worst experience.
Q: If you could change one thing about Theatre, what would it be?
A: I'd like more embracing of the talent that surrounds us here in Dallas... Really, I'd love a more open attitude to taking a risk and giving a chance to Dallas actors, playwrights, and artists. The artist you are looking for in New York is right here... It's just going to take a bit of work and a bit of getting to know who you're surrounded by... We are our own Big Apple, it's just battered and deep fried!!
Q: Who are or were your theatrical influences?
A: Only a few people come to mind... an acting coach I had named Elizabeth Rothan, the way she devoured the stage with her presence and the way she made sure everyone in the audience was getting the very best from her performance was amazing... Another is Julie Taymor and her way of showcasing women as the powerful being they are is really fantastic.
Q: What kind of theatre really excites you?
A: I love theatre that pisses me off... theatre that takes a chance on with something new... new works are just fantastic, not pretensious theatre, just theatre thats going to keep you accountable for being an audience member. That kind of theatre is a gold nugget.
Q: What are you working on next?
A: I will be producing next and working on some writing projects... but really you should see the "Tragic Flaw" question.