|George X. Rodriguez stars as Archbishop Oscar Romero |
in Artes de la Rosa's production of THE FIFTH SUN at the Rose Marine Theater in Fort Worth.
Back then, The Rose was a crumbled, dilapidated building that was the home to several of the homeless and indigent of The North Side. Main Street was a place you did not walk down at night, much less alone. Thank God, the neighborhood, and I, have lived long enough to see this dream come true.
Most of my acting background comes from performing the classics, from Shakespeare to Steinbeck, and new works. So, when Artistic Director, Adam Adolfo Yzaguirre, told me that he wanted me to play the historically prolific and inspirational Archbishop Oscar Romero, after I thanked God, and told my family, I eagerly replied “YES”.
About three weeks later, Adam was working me into one of the scenes with the gifted performers who play the Mayan Gods. As he played the music that would be the musical scoring for our production, I sat down to listen to it. About halfway through it, I was literally and figuratively overwhelmed by the sheer weight and beauty of the whole. I felt that I simply may have bitten off more than I could chew or digest.
My senses and psyche were overheating from the pageantry, poetry, and honesty of it all. It was the reason why I wanted to do theatre in the first place. Our director had crafted a unique vision with disciplined, talented artists that he felt could tell the story of Romero in a way, which is accessible to anyone who seeks the truth of the man’s message. I spoke to Adam about it, telling him that it was overwhelming to such a degree that I honestly did not know what to do. I was not afraid of the work, but I was a bit afraid of how the work might change me.
I do quite a bit of research when I get the privilege of playing a role like this. As we are now in a digital age, there is a wealth of material available about Oscar Romero. From new documentaries, videos that illustrate some of the graphic and horrifying events of the time, with audio and written transcripts from Romero’s own homilies, all pointed to me toward the direction of what I feel that he must have when he saw with his own two eyes and one soul. Romero’s line in the second act is one that I feel is a core thread to the story. “You Cannot Always Calculate The Good. Some Things Must Be Done Simply Because They Are Right.”
As Romero was also a master in The Beatitudes, his message of Christ’s, to treat your neighbor as you would yourself, is the one crystalline truth that I feel is central to humanity. Such truths are often almost impossible to depict or illustrate onstage to an audience if you do not believe in them yourself as the performer. I honestly feel that my journey to this role started in 7th Grade and will continue long after this show has closed.
I am thankful for all of the artists in this production, our community, and my family for carrying me with them so we can tell this story and its message together.
Con Todo Mi Corazon y Mi Alma……..GXR