My aunt recently told me a story about how when I was three years old, during when my mom was in labor with my younger sibling Julian, my aunt took me to a play as a way to distract me and get me out of the hospital setting.
My aunt doesn’t remember the play, but confirms it was definitely a play, not a musical, and that it was not on Broadway. She also affirms that, perhaps contrary to popular belief about “who belongs in the theater,” I was never crying or seemed distracted by other happenings beyond the stage. In fact, according to my aunt, I was standing up in my seat the entire performance fascinated by what was going on in front of me.
I don’t remember this experience at all, but hearing this story after spending a large portion of my life, a BFA and MFA, dedicated to being a part of the theatre industry, I was truly struck. Was it seeing this theatrical performance onstage at such a young age that spun me into what could be a lifetime of contributing to this art form? Or was I destined to find this passion and simply lucky enough to encounter it for the first time at that young age?
Although I may never know the answer to this question, there is no denying my deep connection to the theatre beginning in those early formative years.
I also do have my parents and aunt to thank for my unique appreciation for the “American” standard of the arts overall. We spent many family outings traveling in the city (NYC) and even across the country and around the world to visit museums and see performances. My parents supported both Julian and my own inclination towards education in the arts. Ultimately, Julian has turned towards political science, which I have not ruled out myself as many artist-activists have done after the outcome of our recent presidential election.
Overall, I have my family to thank for bringing me into spaces where perhaps people of color weren’t showcased very often at the time, but allowed me to feel that I do belong in these spaces and that nothing about my appearance or self-identifies should deter me from following my passions.
Originally published at vivianavargas.com.