Escucha la entrevista aquí. Listen to the interview here (Spanish)
Find the English translation at the end of this post.
Carlo Albán es un joven actor que mira hacia su propia vida para compartir la experiencia de un inmigrante. Llegó de Ecuador a Estados Unidos junto con su familia a los siete años. Tiene una carrera artistica que lo ha llevado desde Sesame Street hasta películas y series televisivas. Su obra de teatro, Intríngulis se está presentando en The Red House del 21 al 24 de mayo. Les invitamos a que escuchen la entrevista que nos concedió el pasado viernes 22 de mayo así como de la música que es un elemento central en Intríngulis.
Carlo Albán is a young actor who looks in to his own life to share the experience of an immigrant. He came to the United States from Ecuador along with his family when he was seven years old. He has an acting career that has taken him from Sesame Street to movies and appearances in television series. His play, Intríngulis is currently showing at The Red House May 21-24. Listen to the interview he gave us o Friday, May 22. Also enjoy the music, which is a central element in his play.
Interview with Carlo Albán
May, 22, 2009
By Rebecca Fuentes
Tell us about how did you come out with the idea for your play “Intringulis,” and how is it related to your life?
It is about my life. The play starts with a story from when I was seven years old and tried to write a book that was called “The ire of our people,” by that time we were already living here. But of course I couldn’t write anythign, I tried for an afternoon but I failed. But, we came here from Ecuador when I was seven years old and I think that a lot of parents don’t tell their children or don’t let them know about the status in which they are going to be, that they are going to be illegalls. I have some cousings who came here when they were very young, and they didn’t know, they were not told. Once their green card was issue, their parents told them, oh we have to go to Ecuador to get our permanent visa and one of the children, a girl said “why do we have to go to Ecuador to get a credit card? But our parents always let us know, and I think that I live with that in my concsiousness and like I told you at nine years I tried to write that book “The ire of our people”, so I have always wanted to tell this story, but I think that for a lot of time I couldn’t because we were illegal and those things are not told. Then once we got the green card and I became and actor and I started being an artist whose acting became a form of expression, not only a fun thing to do I started to have ideas to write and to start telling this story and after some time this is the form that it took. I started writing a movie script and I did finish it, but I think this is much better and it is a direct way to reach people and to know people, to know that the history, our history, my history is still alive it continues and we have to tell it.
How did your legal status in this country affected your childhood?
We grew up with a double life, pretending to be normal american children, going to a public school and everything normal, having friends but not being able to tell them and at the same time we had this other life, growing with fear, but I can say that in a way I am grateful of having grown up that way because it gave me a different perspective that was much broader thatn many people have and it made me appreciate more the opportunities that this country gave me, the things we were able to do. It made me counscious and gave me a level of legal and political awareness and now what I want to do is to tell that story so that people who hasn’t lived something like that gets an idea and find out all that it is underneath, that is supporting this country. To give those stories a voice is extremely important because there are so many people who grew up like this and I don’t see theirs stories being told, I know there are there but they are not told enough, there has to be more.
A guitar is placed right on the center in the poster for Intringulis. What is the role of music in your play and why did you include it.
There are many reasons. I have always wanted to tell this story but the idea to tell it in this way and specifically for this play occurred to me one afternoon when I was singing. I have always sung and I thauth myself to play the guitar. I was singing a son in Spanish, La Llorona and my mother herd me and she said – listen to this Carlito I have a recording of that song, very beautiful. And it was a woman singing the song and I asked who it was and she said Joan Baez. And at that time I asked myself “Joan Baez, she was American, Bob Dylan’s girlfriend, what was she doing singing this Mexican song? And in that moment in my head I realized that the movements of protests music and folk music in the United States and Latin America were happening at the same time. They were the same thing, those artists knew each other, but in this country that music helped a lot, while in Latin American that music also helped a lot but there was also a lot of repression, and it put people in jails, in exilie and singers and composers were even executed.. That idea occureed to me that moment. In my on point of view the process and burocracy of immigration in this country is a way of repression. It is a process that in some ways it is necessary, but it also is a way of repression in which it maintains people in its place. It is a way to maintaing immigrants and minorities down, and one has to fight to come out and all of that entered my counsciesness at the same time and I started to write the play.
And that music, is the music I listened when I was a child, it is what we used to listen in the car singing Victor Jara’s song for example “Las casitas del barrio alto” that I included in the play they were children’s songs. Once I became an adult and my political concousness started and I discovered what these songs were about it moved me a lot. All occurred at the same time, a few years after the events of September 11 that happened. I knew Victor Jara had been assesinated, but I didn’t know how it happened and once that happened in this country my family started telling about what happened in Chile and I saw the paralels I many levels in the music and the things that happened politically and all of that is part of the same story. And that is way the music has to be there. The music must be there.
After Syracuse where else are you presenting Intringulis?
We have another presentation in Plasentvlle on May 30th. and afterwards we hope to do it in many other places. I just came back from Los Angeles, I was doing a play there and I started rehearsing for this presentation in Los Angeles and just before starting rehearsals we did a reading at a gallery, I was just sitted with my guitar and the pages in fron of me reading and the community there in California, Los Angeles.. this is so alive. They live these because they are just by the border and so many people crosse the border and live there. They received it so well that I want to go there an so I hope that in my future take it there and take it to NYC and to how many places I can.