The New York International Fringe Festival is back; for sixteen days in twenty venues throughout NYC there will be a performance to suit everyone’s taste. One of this year’s performances comes from a transplanted Texan, her work “Women of Smoke” sold out its debut this past weekend.
We present to you Brandi Bravo , in her own words.
Strong women’s stories are so few, and far between; the title of your show intrigues me, “Women of Smoke”, doesn’t smoke disappear?
It does. The title of the play comes from one of the character’s beliefs (Adelida, featured on The Whore tarot card) that “women are like smoke to men. One minute we’re there, but then the second they’re through with us—we disappear into the air.” Adelida finds this very funny and, for her, this is not a good thing or a bad thing. It’s a simple fact. This is a play about strong women. But they each have very different attitudes, beliefs, and approaches to life.
“A whore, a saint, a runaway mother” how many women can fit into these categories all at once?
I first got the idea for the whore, the saint, and the runaway mother from the feminine icons ofMexico: the Malinche, the Virgin of Guadalupe, and La Llorona. And I think, to some degree, we all fall into these categories at one point or another. A few of my friends recently saw the play and commented afterward that this was actually one of the points they very much connected with – we all have that Tia who plays at being a saint, and we all have the Tia who gets herself in trouble. As for the runaway mother…come see the play and find out how her story fits in.
Your biography shows that you are a native Texan living in the Big Apple. Did you come for school at NYU’s Tisch School of Arts and stay, or did you make the move for the theater opportunities? How has the adjustment been?
I sort of led my parents to believe that I was only coming for school, but I’m not sure they were entirely fooled. I knew that I wanted to end up inNew York, and I fell in love with it very quickly. It’s a city that makes you work very hard to be here (with rents as high as they are, wages as low as they are, and the weather, etc.), so you have to want it. And I certainly do. That said, I missTexasconstantly, and it is very much still home.
What is your favorite part about being Latina?
I imagine everyone has an innate sense of their culture in them, but I think Latinos have it a little more. I love the sense of home I get when I hear a song by Lila Downs, or Rocio Durcal or Juan Gabriel, and read books by Sandra Cisneros, Ana Castillo, and Gabriel Garcia Marquez. I love the smells and the sounds of the kitchen when my mom is making her red enchiladas – and let’s face it, there’s no food like Mexican food. I love all that stuff. But the best part by far is that we love to have fun, and we always manage to get a little (respectfully) rowdy.