San Antonio-based actress Patricia Zamora has had a love for acting and theater since she was a child. The yearly runs of The Wizard of Oz on TV had her hooked.
“I really identified with Dorothy because she had dark eyes. She sorta looks like me!” Zamora exclaimed. “Ever since I was very little I was performing and putting on little skits and shows for my parents and dragging my sister along with me, who was really shy, but she just, you know, did it anyway because I needed someone to play off of.”
When she told her parents she wanted to study theater in school, she got the reaction most children get when they tell their parents they don’t want to grow up to be doctors or lawyers. “Golly. Remember that character Droopy from, you know, the cartoon character? Both of my parents were Droopy,” Zamora said.
But she has a day job. She remembers being poor right after college. “I told myself I don't want to live like this. And so I used my degree for other purposes as well and went into education. And so that's how I'm able to balance this love of having food, shelter, clothing, gas in my vehicle -- those types of things -- with the arts.”
Zamora gave up acting in 2014 when she got pregnant with her first child. “I dramatically announced to my husband, ‘I'm giving up theater forever.’” Forever turned out to be ten years.
“I started to feel these pangs, and I told my husband, ‘I really want to do some theater again. I want to do some acting,’ and he said, ‘well go for it.’”
Zamora took acting classes and started “awakening those muscles that had been asleep for a while…I think I became a better employee, a better wife, a better mom when I allowed myself to be true to this passion that I have.”
Zamora says great theater “has you thinking the day after.”
“The day after you see a show that morning after you're having your coffee or you're having your green tea or your smoothie and you're wondering, ‘I wonder what would happen to that character if…’ or ‘what happened to them?’ and you start creating in your mind what happened to them.” Zamora said heated disagreements between theater goers are also signs of great theater. “(I)t really is about the conversation,” Zamora said, “because theater is life, and if we can continue conversations about life I think we're moving in a good direction.”
Zamora wants to take her stories and share them with Latino audiences wherever she can reach them.
“Whether you're Mexican, Mexican-American, Argentinean, Puerto Rican, Colombian, Peruvian, Dominica, we have these different sects and we're very fractured sometimes in our Latino and Latina-ism way,” said Zamora. “But the curandera is a common theme amongst all of them.”
Curanderas and curanderos hold a special place in Latino culture. “When I would share the title (of my play, ‘Curanderas and Chocolate’) with very professional people that I know, they would say ‘my mother was curandera, my tia was a curandera.’ ...The curanderismo, we don't talk about it a lot, but it is very, very common in our culture and in other Latino/Latina cultures.”
Zamora’s one-woman show “Curanderas and Chocolate: Cuentos of a Latina Life” runs April 12 to April 14 at San Antonio’s Overtime Theater. Friday and Saturday at 8 p.m., Sunday at 3 p.m.