Windy City Media Group Frontpage News

THE VOICE OF CHICAGO'S GAY, LESBIAN, BI, TRANS AND QUEER COMMUNITY SINCE 1985

home search facebook twitter join
Gay News Sponsor
Donate

Sponsor
Sponsor

  WINDY CITY TIMES

Raul Castillo's 'Maiden' voyage
NUNN ON ONE: THEATER Special to the online edition of Windy City Times
by Jerry Nunn, Windy City Times
2014-07-08

This article shared 8312 times since Tue Jul 8, 2014
facebook twitter pin it google +1 reddit email


Raul Castillo latest endeavor brings him to Chicago, starring in Death and the Maiden, in which he plays Gerardo Escobar. The co-star of HBO's Looking has appeared on several other television shows, such as Blue Bloods, Law and Order, and Nurse Jackie.

He's been in independent films like Don't Let Me Drown, My Best Day, and Cold Weather. His theater background is very extensive including The Way West, A Lifetime Burning, and Jesus Hopped the A Train.

This now leads him to Victory Gardens' most recent production. Death and the Maiden was written by Ariel Dorfman; it tells the story of Paulina Salas—a former political prisoner played by now-former Grey's Anatomy star Sandra Oh—who was raped by a doctor whose face she never saw. The doctor played Schubert's Death and the Maiden during the rape, hence the title.

Windy City sat down with the straight man to get the inside scoop on "Death" and Looking.

Windy City Times: Hi, Raul. Tell me about your background.

Raul Castillo: I am originally from a small border town in southern Texas. I went to [Boston University] for undergrad. I studied theater there.

WCT: Talk a bit about the show to those who are not familiar with it.

Raul Castillo: It's by a Chilean playwright but not necessarily is set in Chile. It could be any country that has just come out of a dictatorship. It deals with the lives of a couple, a woman who has dealt with some of the atrocities that have occurred under the dictatorship. The play was written in 1990, it was right after Augusto Pinochet had completely given up power. The country was now in the transition of a democracy. They were trying to make sense of what had happened. It is essentially what the play is about.

WCT: It's a heavy show.

Raul Castillo: It is not light fare, for sure! [Laughs]

WCT: What do you like about your character?

Raul Castillo: He's trying to do the right thing. He's been appointed to a commission that has been investigating murders that were committed under the dictatorship. He's dealing with the bureaucracy that is the government to try to look into the crimes that were committed, specifically the deaths that were committed during the dictatorship. He's conflicted because his wife who is a survivor and a victim of torture and rape. He's investigating these crimes so he feels he's very much in the middle.

I appreciate his strong convictions and he's very ambitious.

WCT: Are you an ambitious guy?

Raul Castillo: I think so. I go through bouts of both but when I set out to do something early on I think I stick with it.

WCT: I've heard about the theater companies that you have been [with] in New York.

Raul Castillo: I'm a member of a theater company called LAByrinth. It started in 1992 and was founded by 13 actors from New York.

It was right when Death and the Maiden was produced on Broadway with Glenn Close, Richard Dreyfuss and Gene Hackman. This was before my time but these Latino actors felt a little undervalued in the industry. Here comes a play written by a Chilean playwright and they couldn't even get into that play, so they created opportunities for themselves.

It started as a playground for Latino actors and has become very multicultural throughout the years. It was under the directorship of John Ortiz and Philip Seymour Hoffman for many years. They stepped down a few years back and it has gone through some changes. It is a huge multi disciplinary ensemble. There are designers, writers [and] directors, and everyone is encouraged to try different disciplines.

I'm a playwright as well. I came into the company right after I moved to New York. I first started with them as a writer. I got my equity card on a Jose Rivera play called School of Americas at the Public Theater that was a coproduction with Labyrinth.

I just worked with a Latino theater company called INTAR in New York that is a great institution. They have been around for a long time and doing great stuff right now.

WCT: That is important to have Latino-supportive theater companies around. They have a few in Chicago, also.

Raul Castillo: Yes; I did a play with Teatro Vista two years ago called Fish Men at the Goodman. It was a wonderful experience just being in Chicago. The audiences here are used to going to see theater. They ask intelligent questions during the Q&As. They really probe and listen to the plays. They are interested in what the playwright is saying. It is exciting to be an actor and play here.

WCT: Tell me about working with Sandra Oh on this particular show.

Raul Castillo: It has been a real pleasure. She is such a hard worker. I have learned so much from her every day just watching her with her process.

I actually met her when I was doing School of the Americas at the Public Theater and she was in a play called Satellites, also at the Public. We shared a green room. I was just starting out but I reminded her of that when we starting working together.

She is amazing, [as is] John Judd. He's an incredible actor. I enjoy watching the two of them.

A friend of mine gave me advice that I have never forgotten which is, "You always want to be the least experienced person in the room." I feel like that here. It is an incredible gift. I get to watch some incredible people and rise to the occasion.

WCT: Good advice. How long have you been in theater?

Raul Castillo: I have been doing it since high school. I started at 14. I used to play in punk-rock bands. I played bass. I didn't play sports and grew up in Texas so that was tough. I was transitioning to high school and needed an elective. People liked actors and they were popular so I hoped to make friends like that. It seemed like a fun thing to do. Getting up on stage already felt natural to me. I was playing in front of audiences when I was only 11 years old when I started music.

WCT: There are great bands across the street at Lincoln Hall.

Raul Castillo: That is good to know!

WCT: Did you see the film version of Death and the Maiden?

Raul Castillo: I saw it when it came out but not since. This was a very influential play for myself. My friend Tanya Saracho introduced me to this play. She is at the Goodman [and] Steppenwolf, and a staff writer on Looking. I have known her since we were in high school and, coincidently, we wound up working together.

As a writer people tell me that I write good female roles. Paulina in this play has been damaged but has incredible license and authority. She takes power into her own hands. I think it was exciting to see a female character like that because there aren't that many.

I did see the movie early on but I don't remember much and didn't want to re-atch it. I wanted to start fresh.

WCT: How did you get on HBO's Looking?

Raul Castillo: Michael Lannan, the creator of Looking, saw me in a film I did called Cold Weather and he reached out through mutual friends. He was doing a short film called Lorimer that was essentially the prototype for Looking. I read the script and thought the character was really great. It was a short film—only nine minutes. It was well-written and I liked Michael's aesthetic. We shot the film in a day in Brooklyn in 2010. He called me up in 2012 and asked me to try for Looking. I went and auditioned. I got passed on. I thought I didn't have the part then they called me a month later to tell me I got it.

There are two Latino characters with Agustin, which Frankie J. Alvarez plays, and Richie, the character that I ended up playing. I got a phone call from Michael asking to put myself on tape. I sent it on Friday and got a text on Sunday asking me to come in the next day to the New York casting office. They put me through the ringer! I got the part and it has been a real dream come true since then.

I've done my fair share of guest stars and independent film but this feels like the most high profile thing I have done and it is. I couldn't ask for a better character to take on.

WCT: I bet if you hit the gay bars people will recognize you.

Raul Castillo: [Laughs] I live in Hell's Kitchen in New York so it is fun.

WCT: I heard you wrote a coming-out letter to your family about the project.

Raul Castillo: Yes, when I shot the pilot I sent an email because I wanted to prepare them. I knew they would have my back and that wouldn't change but I wanted to have the dialogue to help them in the process, not that they needed it. I thought it was a good way to start the conversation.

They were so receptive and supportive as they always are.

WCT: There will be a season two?

Raul Castillo: Yes. We go back in August to San Francisco.

WCT: So you only have a little break after the 20th of July [when Death and the Maiden's run ends]?

Raul Castillo: Yeah; I will go to New York for a little bit and work on a film or two, then go and shoot the show.

WCT: Do you know anything about this season?

Raul Castillo: No, I don't. They are in the writer's room right now. I just saw everyone this past weekend. I flew out to L.A. I was given an award by the National Association of Latino Independent Producers. It was for a breakthrough performance and dedicated to Lupe Ontiveros, the late actress who was in a ton of movies. She opened a lot of doors for Latino actors in the entertainment industry. She passed away in 2012.

The Lupe Award was created in her honor to recognize breakthrough performances. It was the second year they had given out the award and I got it. HBO bought two tables so I got to see Michael Lannan, producers, writers like my friend Tanya, who I mentioned. It was all very sweet of them. It is like a family unit just like this play where everyone is on the same page. People check their egos at the door and go to work!

Look for Raul at Victory Gardens Theater, 2257 N. Lincoln Ave., as Death and the Maiden has now been extended to July 20. For tickets, call 773-871-3000 or email tickets@victorygardens.org .


This article shared 8312 times since Tue Jul 8, 2014
facebook twitter pin it google +1 reddit email





Windy City Media Group does not approve or necessarily agree with the views posted below.
Please do not post letters to the editor here. Please also be civil in your dialogue.
If you need to be mean, just know that the longer you stay on this page, the more you help us.


  ARTICLES YOU MIGHT LIKE

Gay News

Hell in a Handbag Productions to present Out, Darn Spot! 2021-01-15
--From a press release - CHICAGO (Jan. 15, 2021) — Hell in a Handbag Productions is pleased to present the campy comedyOut, Darn Spot!, written by and starring ensemble member Tyler Anthony Smith* and directed, filmed and edited by Stephanie Shaw. ...


Gay News

Artemisia Theatre announces entirely virtual 2021 season 2021-01-13
--From a press release - CHICAGO - In order to continue its strong feminist story-telling tradition, Artemisia Theatre announces an entirely virtual 2021 season. The new season includes two World Premiere theater productions and eight audio performances airing on its podcast ...


Gay News

SHOWBIZ Laverne Cox, lesbian coach, Jim Parsons, 'Brokeback,' theater items 2021-01-11
- Laverne Cox is teaming with Meryl Streep and Rashida Jones to executive-produce a new documentary exploring one of the most critical issues at the intersection of race, feminism, and power: the sex industry, out.com noted. Sell/Buy/Date ...


Gay News

African American Arts Alliance, Black Ensemble to present MLK event Jan. 18 2021-01-08
- The African American Arts Alliance of Chicago and Black Ensemble Theater will present the 10th Annual Martin Luther King Jr. Day Celebration on Monday, Jan. 18, at 6 p.m. The online event will be free. This ...


Gay News

Rip Nelson Holiday Quarantine Special extended through Jan. 17 2021-01-06
--From a press release - CHICAGO (Jan. 4, 2021) — Hell in a Handbag Productions is pleased to announce one additional week of performances of its streaming holiday hit The Rip Nelson Holiday Quarantine Special, now playing through Jan. 17, 2021. ...


Gay News

Hell in a Handbag announces annual benefit, "The Morning After" 2020-12-23
- CHICAGO (Dec. 17, 2020) — Hell in a Handbag Productions is pleased to announce its annual benefit "The Morning After," featuring the streaming world premiere of the smash hit musical that started it all for them, ...


Gay News

PrideArts to screen one-night-only live virtual readings 2020-12-21
--From a press release - PrideArts series of one-night-only live virtual readings resumes with TWELFTH NIGHT on the Twelfth of January Peter Vamvakas to direct a cast of seven Click here for a Word doc version of this release CHICAGO — ...


Gay News

Bechdel Fest 8 to highlight femme, female-identifying, non-binary, trans, queer actors 2020-12-21
- Broken Nose Theatre (BNT) will present Bechdel Fest 8: Realign—the company’s annual festival of new short plays featuring an ensemble of femme, female-identifying, non-binary, trans and queer actors talking about things other than men. ...


Gay News

OUTSpoken: LGBTQ storytelling event Jan. 5 on Zoom 2020-12-16
- Another OUTspoken Storytelling Night will offer the perspective of four Chicagoans telling life stories from their LGBTQ+ viewpoint or that of their close friends and relatives, Tuesday, Jan. 5, starting at 7 p.m. on Zoom. The ...


Gay News

Pegasus holding Young Playwrights Festival Jan. 7-31 2020-12-10
- On Jan. 7-31, Pegasus Theatre Chicago is presenting the 34th Young Playwrights Festival (YPF), which selects winning high school-age scribes to apprentice with theater professionals to workshop and produce their ...


Gay News

THEATER About Face airing festival with Black LGBTQ+ artists 2020-12-04
- About Face Theatre is launching its 25th season with Kickback—an online festival of 10 newly commissioned short plays and performances by Black LGBTQ+ artists, inspired by the Rebuild Foundation's collections at the Stony Island Arts Bank. ...


Gay News

Black Ensemble Theater's 'Holiday' event Dec. 18-25 2020-12-03
- The Black Ensemble Theater is celebrating the 2020 holiday season with The Black Ensemble Virtual Holiday Extravaganza, written and directed by Producing Managing Director Daryl D. Brooks. Filmed from the performers' homes and the theater, the ...


Gay News

Billy Masters 2020-11-30
- "Will you issue pardons before leaving office? Will you be issuing a pardon for yourself?"—A reporter asked El Presidente this question after the traditional pardoning of the Thanksgiving turkeys. And by turkey, we don't mean anyone ...


Gay News

'The Prom' out Dec. 11 on Netflix 2020-11-27
- The Prom—a musical-comedy film directed by Ryan Murphy and adapted by Chad Beguelin and Bob Martin (from their and Matthew Sklar's 2018 Broadway musical of the same name)—will be out on Netflix on Dec. 11. The ...


Gay News

THEATER Harry Lennix to direct Dec. 13 reading of 'Mercy' 2020-11-20
- Northlight Theatre will present an Interplay New Play Development Program reading of Mercy, written by Felicia Oduh and directed by Harry Lennix (known for his acting roles on TV shows such as The Blacklist and Billions ...


 



Copyright © 2021 Windy City Media Group. All rights reserved.
Reprint by permission only. PDFs for back issues are downloadable from
our online archives. Single copies of back issues in print form are
available for $4 per issue, older than one month for $6 if available,
by check to the mailing address listed below.

Return postage must accompany all manuscripts, drawings, and
photographs submitted if they are to be returned, and no
responsibility may be assumed for unsolicited materials.
All rights to letters, art and photos sent to Nightspots
(Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago
Gay and Lesbian News and Feature Publication) will be treated
as unconditionally assigned for publication purposes and as such,
subject to editing and comment. The opinions expressed by the
columnists, cartoonists, letter writers, and commentators are
their own and do not necessarily reflect the position of Nightspots
(Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago Gay,
Lesbian, Bisexual and Transegender News and Feature Publication).

The appearance of a name, image or photo of a person or group in
Nightspots (Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times
(a Chicago Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender News and Feature
Publication) does not indicate the sexual orientation of such
individuals or groups. While we encourage readers to support the
advertisers who make this newspaper possible, Nightspots (Chicago
GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago Gay, Lesbian
News and Feature Publication) cannot accept responsibility for
any advertising claims or promotions.

 

 

 

TRENDINGBREAKINGPHOTOS







Sponsor
Sponsor


 



Donate


About WCMG      Contact Us      Online Front  Page      Windy City  Times      Nightspots      OUT! Guide     
Identity      BLACKlines      En La Vida      Archives      Advanced Search     
Windy City Queercast      Queercast Archives     
Press  Releases      Join WCMG  Email List      Email Blast      Blogs     
Upcoming Events      Todays Events      Ongoing Events      Bar Guide      Community Groups      In Memoriam      Outguide Categories      Outguide Advertisers      Search Outguide      Travel      Dining Out      Privacy Policy     

Windy City Media Group publishes Windy City Times,
The Bi-Weekly Voice of the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Trans Community.
5315 N. Clark St. #192, Chicago, IL 60640-2113 • PH (773) 871-7610 • FAX (773) 871-7609.