It is the final night of Zorro, but before we say goodbye to our swashbuckling friends, we had a short chat with Vanessa Bradchulis, who plays the roles of Doña Catalina and the Barmaid.
1. Congratulations on your debut with Constellation! Tell us a bit about our experience with Zorro.
Thank you! I am so pleased to be working on Zorro with such an inspiring and daring company. When I first read the script I loved the flavor, boldness, and honesty of the characters, especially Doña Catalina; the honesty paradoxically being that everyone wears a mask from time to time. Having the opportunity to explore her and the Barmaid living in the extraordinary circumstances of the time has been a delight.
2. You’ve had the honor of playing two roles with big costume changes! Tell us about the women you play.
Doña Catalina and the Barmaid are, on the surface, two very different characters with different objectives but, as we are all “one woman” they have underlying similarities. Catalina needs to restore her family’s fortune but must do it within the gentlewoman’s social confines of the day, which is to encourage others to make decisions. The Barmaid needs and wants a loving relationship but must go about it within her own class and social structure, which is to flirt with highwaymen who may cross her path in the tavern. Both women are of different classes and upbringing and they encounter vastly different problems in life but both are hot blooded and fearless in going for what they want. I enjoy the concept of the masks with both of these characters. Doña Catalina has three of them: at home with family, her public mask, and at the end in the prison rescue, when both masks are off as her life and that of her family is threatened by Ramon. The Barmaid has two: her public persona at work, and her true self at the end, when she is both intimidated by Lolita and horrified that she was barking up the wrong tree with a taken Zorro.
3. Your role as Lolita’s mother is multi-layered. How did you develop your character – what were your tools for finding her perspective?
The clues for this development are always in the script so I start there and explore every detail. As for outside influence, there are bits of my own mother and aunt that found a place supporting the text.
4. You mentioned in one of the talk backs that your marriage to Lolita’s father had different issues at stake. Can you talk about that a bit?
There is a stress in our lives right now with the turmoil of corruption and civil liberties being trampled that did not surround my marriage to Don Carlos. Our family has also been bankrupted recently, so what was likely to have been a romantic, low stress courtship in my day is now riddled with high stakes: our livelihood depends on Lolita’s marriage to Don Diego. Standing in the way of that is an outspoken, strong-willed Lolita and a Diego who hasn’t got a clue how to give her what she requires.
5. Where can we see you next?
I will be acting in the thesis film I wrote, shooting in late April.
Good luck with it Vanessa! And break a leg tonight!