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Talking Back #3: Diego Colón

Since our incredible kick-off, The Chicago Inclusion Project has continued to explore how we will sustain our efforts and where we can make the greatest impact. Fully aware that we don’t have all the answers, we seek out others who may be passionate about our cause, and reach out to those who have experienced our intentions first hand. For this reason, we’ve interviewed the actors who were involved in our first reading of The Time of Your Life by William Saroyan, performed on June 1, 2015 at Victory Gardens Theatre. Take a look at what this incredible fella had to say:

Diego Colón (Wesley)

This specific casting of “The Time of Your Life”...Did it tell the story, in your opinion?

This production absolutely told a story. it had a very prominent voice.

How did it feel to read the role(s) you were given? Would you have asked to be seen for it?

I felt very excited to read the role I was given and would’ve been happy to be seen for it.

Listening to it or watching it, did anything take you out of the story?

Having had only a couple of rehearsals with it was lovely and I took away a gorgeous narrative. Of course I would’ve liked to spend more time with it to really mine it in a table work week.

Was working on “The Time of Your Life” different from working on other plays for you? If so, how?

I can’t say that this was terribly different than working on another play. The one thing I noticed was the cast knew we were doing something special with this play so everyone’s desire to do well was evident.

In your opinion, what is the state of representation on Chicago stages right now?

Chicago Stages, like most entertainment media, certainly has a look. I appreciated working on TOYL because it really bucked that look. This cast was diverse which gave their well of storytelling a little more depth.

What are triumphs we’ve seen? Who has been doing it right?

I see great shows all the time. Each theater in this town has it’s own voice/niche. The theaters that are doing it right are the ones that know their voice/audience and play to it. (i.e. Bailiwick, Griffin, Theo Ubique)

What are challenges we still face as a community?

I can only talk about perspective. Having one singular idea of who should be cast in what roles can be limiting. Especially when the talent pool is so vast and eclectic. I think the biggest concern that maybe we forced people to notice is the idea of a “type”. Whether or not an actor or director fits a specific type maybe has people making safe choices when there are so many more bold choices out there.

What would you like to see done about it?

Honestly, the only thing we can do is more of what’s happening with Chicago Inclusion Project. A company whose objective is to tell great stories with great actors of all walks of life. More perspective means better story telling.

If we had more time, what questions do you wish were asked at the panel discussion? or what concerns do you wish were addressed?

If I remember correctly, a lot of the conversation drifted into the state of our public schools and how they’re exposed to theatre which is certainly a discussion worth having. I just would’ve liked the conversation to be a little bit more about why all these actors of different colors and backgrounds got together to tell this story.

Each artist said “yes” to this project for different reasons. What were yours?

I said yes to this project because I love Emjoy and believe in the work that she’s doing. Which is another luxury of the Chicago theatre scene. When people want to, this town can really get behind a great idea to make it happen.

Diego's band, Diego Sol and the Metronomes will play The Great American Lobster Fest August 15th, 12p-1pm.

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