The brave and hilarious Latina artist who teaches us to be ourselves
This is the story of a cashier, a mother, a teenager, a cult leader... and they are all the same person. Welcome to Anyone But Me.
Identity has many layers: we are Latinas, we are women, we have two nationalities and sometimes even three... not to mention our profession. And if that's not enough, we would often like to be someone we are not. Why?
This is one of the questions explored by Anyone But Me, a series of funny and acid comedy sketches performed and written by Sheila Carrasco, presented by IAMA Theatre Company to be released virtually on March 21.
It's a solo exploration of female identity in which Carrasco plays a series of characters quite familiar to viewers: a supermarket cashier, an executive, a receptionist, a teenager, an artist, a mother and, to top it off, a sectarian leader!
All of them with something in common: they desire to be someone they are not.
"My play is about women struggling with their identity and why we create certain characters to get ahead, to survive or even to impress someone," she explained to Broadway World.
Something that dominates us, the thirst to be our best version even if that takes us away from ourselves, so much so that it often plays against us. That is precisely the strength of Anyone But Me, its power to connect and the ability of laughter to provoke a liberating, reality-based catharsis.
"I think most of us women, at some point in our lives, tend to wrap our identities around a single dominant aspect, whether it's a relationship, our job or our work ethic, our perception of ourselves as artists, or even who we're out with that day," said Carrasco, for whom accepting all these nuances of self make up the person you really are.
"We don't have to be someone we are not," says the actress and writer.
The daughter of a South American and indigenous immigrant and a white woman from the South, Carrasco admits that at times she has been forced to "simplify" her identity to adapt to Hollywood.
"There is definitely pressure for white artists who come through there to 'accentuate' their diversity at a time when it feels very wrong to take space away from BIPOC artists. If I can claim my Latino-ness, I also have to acknowledge my white privilege," said Carrasco, who hopes that audiences can identify with some of the characters she plays that are based on that quest, on Sheila Carrasco's challenge to confront and explore the complexities of her own identity.
And of course, with a lot of humor.
Don't miss Anyone But Me, running from March 21 until April 18 on IAMA's website: www.iamatheatre.com