The man with the American dream: An interview with Ozvaldo Gonzalez

Actor Ozvaldo González returns to the Milagro stage in the title role of American Night: the Ballad of Juan José, in a performance that "underplays the character perfectly, so that you can empathize with him and identify with his plight" (Dennis Sparks).

With opening weekend under his belt, González had a moment to answer some questions from Marketing Assistant Vicente Guzman-Orozco about the play, his role and the production in general:

Vicente Guzman-Orozco: How would you describe the play and your role?

Ozvaldo González: The play is a fantastical journey through moments in American History that highlight some unsung heroes of our past and shed light on the insecurities many new Americans face when going through the process of becoming citizens in this country.  My role is that of an honest, good hearted human being who wants nothing more than to provide for his family in a way that keeps them safe and allows them to be contributors to society.

VGO: In which ways do you identify (or don't) with Juan José?

OG: As a first generation Mexican immigrant who helped his parents study for their citizenship tests during my teenage years, there is a lot about me that identifies with Juan Jose.  Many of the identity issues that he faces and his interest in living out the American dream only to find out reality is not exactly as the history books might indicate are experiences I can relate to very directly.  Even though I did not leave my family to make a life in Mexico, I know many people who have done this and their experience is very present in my mind.

VGO: What has been the most challenging part of this production?
OG: The role that Video, Sound, Lighting, and Costumes play in this production is large and impacted our rehearsal process greatly.  It is clear that with the increasing use of technology in theater productions, thinking of the technical components as part of the cast is an important step in harnessing the power of these 'characters' during the creative process.   A lot can be accomplished to enhance the audience experience using new technologies, but the way in which new technologies might impact the creative process need to be better understood.

VGO: What's the most rewarding part of working on the show for you?

OG: The talented people that surround me are an inspiration to me.  From the Playwright and Director, to the Cast and Technical Crew; everyone is dedicated to telling this important story in a way that shows its relevance to today and delivering it in an entertaining manner.

Don't miss this outrageous and irreverent roller coaster through US History. Get your tickets to American Night or volunteer to usher before the show closes on May 23!

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