Toro Actress Lights up the Edison Theatre in “Asuncion”csudhbulletin October 16, 2019 0 COMMENTS
By Dayzsha Lino
Actress and Theater Arts major Danielle DeGuzman is no stranger to the spotlight. Growing up in Temecula, she discovered her passion for dance at the tender age of 4. Though she was a very shy kid, DeGuzman’s personality shined whenever she was given a chance to perform in front of people. Now she is bringing her top-notch performance skills to the Edison Theatre in the department’s production of Asuncion.
DeGuzman didn’t catch the “acting-bug” until the middle of her college career. “I got into theater right around 2015,” she said. “I learned to love musical theater, and then along with musical theatre [was] the acting.”
Originally, DeGuzman only wanted to focus on technical theatre and stage management, but since she loved musical theater so much, she decided to go ahead and pursue acting. Her first experience acting in a straight play was five years ago in Thorton Wilder’s seminal 1933 play, “Our Town.”
Now DeGuzman is getting another chance to shine, this time as the leading lady in Jesse Eisenburg’s critically acclaimed 2011 hit play, Asuncion., which runs through Sunday, Oct. 20. DeGuzman plays Asuncion, a Filipina woman who ends up living temporarily in the U.S.
“She’s actually a really funny character,” DeGuzman said. “She just wants to be accepted for who she is, especially when it comes to meeting these two gentlemen that she ends up temporarily living with at the time.”
DeGuzman loves working alongside her small cast of four people and says that they’re like best friends on and offset. She says that they immediately cliqued after their first table read.
“A lot of us knew each other from previous plays that we had done here,” said DeGuzman, “so getting to see them again, getting to experience a new play, getting to see them develop their characters; we always are very supportive of each other.”
The issue of diversity, both in terms of more roles written for people of color, and more people of color writing and directing, is a hot-button issue in both Hollywood and American theater. That is why playing the character of Asuncion is so gratifying for DeGuzman as she finally doesn’t have to fight to prove that she can portray a role not traditionally associated with her ethnicity.
“In other shows that I have done, I’ve had to fight for the spot and prove myself even though I [was] racially not supposed to be type-casted for that show,” DeGuzman said. “It gives it that much more of a challenge because yes, I am a Filipina-American, but one person can incorporate the character differently than I can incorporate it.”
Throughout the play, Vinny and Edgar constantly fall over themselves to prove that they are both culturally accepting of their new Filipina roommate. It becomes clear later that their efforts to try and please her are exploitative, and the right way to approach her would’ve been to just be themselves. DeGuzman believes that the message that audiences should take away from the play is that we should all accept people for who they are.
“We as people love to joke around about racial stereotype,” said DeGuzman, “And I think sometimes we don’t realize that it could possibly affect someone later on.”
runs through this weekend, Sunday, Oct. 20. Click here for all the information.