Margarita Valderrama remembers her first audition for Aluna

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I first read Beatriz Pizano’s Madre when I was looking for a monologue for an audition.

That audition was for Aluna Theatre’s Interpretation Lab. My audition was Friday, May 8th 2015. I got the email with the time and date on May 1st. I had seven days to find a monologue and work on it.

Sue said, “Please prepare a 3-5 minute contemporary piece from the Latin-Canadian/American canon”. And that’s when I realized I knew none. None. No Latin-Canadian/American plays or playwrights. I had never considered that they existed. Luckily, I was still in school and in one of our libraries there it was: “Fronteras Vivientes” an anthology of Latin-Canadian works.

So I read this anthology searching for a monologue that I thought I could pull off in a short amount of time. When I look for a monologue I always look for something that moves me; a piece that I can get excited about doing, and I was having trouble finding the one that was “just right”. Finally, I came across Madre.

Photo of Rosa Labordé by John Lauener, Madre, Theatre Passe Muraille Backspace, 2008

First of all, it was about Colombia: a country and a history I related to because it was also mine. Second, it had amazing female characters. Third, it was about a mother-daughter relationship. I don’t mean to reduce this work into these three things, but when I was short on time and I needed to make a choice, these three reasons drew me to Madre.

However, I had my hesitations. It’s written by Beatriz Pizano herself! A woman, who at the time, I had never met and I was about to audition for. So, of course I was nervous. Was I really about to perform a piece she had written, in front of her?

The answer was yes, because when I read it I loved it and time constraints always force me to follow my gut. I chose to condense a conversation between Angela and Julia and turn into a monologue; a confrontation between mother and daughter. This is my favourite part:

“He abandoned me too, Mother. This happened to me too! When he died everyone came to me: ‘Oh your mother, your poor mother, this is going to kill her.’ And I wanted to scream at the top of my lungs: ‘And what about me?’ Have you ever thought about me? He was my hero. And when he did that horrible—the two of you excluded me! Am I your daughter? Am I your daughter or aren’t I?”

Madre was an awakening for me. First, that being Colombian could empower me as a performer. Second, that being fluent in both Spanish and English could enrich my work. Third, that a community of artists I feel inspired by and welcomed by, exists. And now here I am, working with the same people I auditioned for two years a go, about to work on Madre again, but now in Spanish.

– Margarita Valderrama

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