Post by: Katherine Fan
For the final week of “Pulga Time Machine”, we interviewed Teatro Vivo’s very own Selena – actress Minerva Villa! Villa stars in “Pulga Time Machine” as the famous Tejano singer, in addition to sassy Karla, outspoken Maria, and Star, the hipster. After graduating from Texas Tech University in 2009 with a B.F.A. in acting, Villa moved to Austin where she later was cast in Teatro Vivo’s “Cuento Navideño” in 2012. Elementary school science teacher by day, and Tejano superstar by night, we caught up with the talented actress on her experience with “Pulga Time Machine.”
Of all the colorful characters you played in “Pulga Time Machine,” who was your favorite and why?
It is so incredibly difficult to choose between all of these amazing characters I get to play! Playing Karla I get to be this real “cabrona” that I’m not in real life, Maria is just crazy and loud…which I kind of am in real life, Star is so much fun I cannot even begin to explain it, and, of course, there’s Selena. How can anyone pick when the amazing writers have created such wonderful characters?
Which skit from the performance do you like the most and why?
I think the skit performances that I enjoy the most are the ones that involve the hipsters, Star and Whitley. Working with Nate has been so much fun and we really bounce off each other. The characters themselves say such ridiculous things that it’s fun to say. It’s always been a little bit difficult to keep a straight face – especially when the audience is roaring with laughter. Hipsters are “so hot” right now.
In your opinion, how does “Pulga Time Machine” best capture or portray the Latino culture?
I think it’s a really good opportunity for audiences to get a nice little taste of Latino culture even though we poke fun of ourselves. I really enjoy the way we are able to talk about some pretty serious topics and yet make them laugh-worthy. When I first read the parts with “La Virgen” I thought to myself, “Woah, there is a really important message here.” I think audiences walk away with that but still laugh all the way through. Another thing I love is that I’m able to recognize several different cultural moments from my childhood and life as a Latina and I LOVE that!
How did it feel to play the iconic Selena?
Talk about having big shoes to fill! When I got told I would be playing Selena I jumped up and down and screamed…that was followed immediately by me thinking “Oh, crap!” It has been tons of fun! Each night I go onstage dressed as her, I feel nervous about what people will think. She’s an icon in the Latino community and was my idol when I was growing up, so to be able to portray her is an honor! Also, I stopped eating bread and pasta for a month to fit into that jumpsuit – that’s dedication! I’m not sure how she was able to eat Doritos and pizza and never exercise…
What do YOU think the world would be like if Selena had lived?
I can’t tell you how many times I’ve had this conversation with friends! I think she was definitely ahead of the game as far as fashion is concerned and I think she would still be right up front – move over, Lady Gaga! Also, I think her music still would have been a hit. The cast and I listen to her music backstage and we still rock out to it! Also…Jennifer who?
What is it like working with the Mexcentrics, and what can fans expect to see from them in the future?
Being a part of this group is absolutely amazing! It’s wonderful to get to work with such a talented group of people, and I’m not just talking about the actors! The writers are brilliant and I’m so thrilled to bring their work to life on stage. I still laugh at most of the jokes and I’ve heard them a ton of times. Hopefully in the future, fans will get to see even more hilarious sketch comedy! I’m hoping some of the Gran Pulga Proprietors will continue making appearances, but even if they don’t I know that whatever we do next will be well worth the wait!
What do you love most about Teatro Vivo?
I love the friendly atmosphere and the constant support. I think we’re all really there for each other and that is what anybody looks for in a theatre family and in a theatre company! I’m so lucky to get to work with Teatro Vivo and I’m so happy I auditioned for them back in 2012! Gracias por todo!