'It's Important To Remember': Carlo Lorenzo Garcia Share 'A Portrait Of My Mother'
Like a lot of artists, writer and actor Carlo Lorenzo Garcia found himself with some time on his hands during the pandemic, and decided to use that time to create a new work. In Garcia’s case, he chose to write and perform the solo show A Portrait of My Mother.
“My mother’s story – her childhood story – has always been interesting to me,” Garcia says. “I’ve always wanted to retell her story, and I think the quarantine got me [to] get that writer’s brain working again. I had a lot of time to kind of spend with it and do some interviews with my mother and really kind of fill in the story of her life.”
The show is simple – Garcia tells stories from his mother’s life while painting, in real time, a literal portrait of her. “In high school, I took a lot of art classes,” he says. “I was more of an abstract painter – you know, Jackson Pollock, Picasso. [I was] never really a portrait painter, so that was also another challenge, for me to do a portrait of my mother that is somewhat respectable and, you know, something that she would hang on the fridge happily.”
Garcia says that during rehearsals, he found that his paintings changed with his performances. “I did maybe like seven paintings during the rehearsal that were all various shapes and sizes,” he says with a laugh. “But it was interesting because I felt like the way that I would tell the story changed the way that I painted the picture, so the end result was always different.”
David Jarrott, the producer and director of A Portrait of My Mother, says that while the piece was conceived and created as a filmed, streaming show, they still wanted to capture as much live theater energy as possible.
“It was very important to us to have – as much as possible – the live theater experience. And that’s why we opted to go with doing it all in one take,” Jarrott says. “We wanted to recreate a live theater experience and not make a movie.”
“This is a very sincere attempt to tell [my mother’s] story,” Garcia says. “And she’s had a lot of experiences over the years – some of them are traumatic, some of them are funny, some of them are just inspiring to me. And I wanted to capture as many of those things as possible. I think it’s important to remember the people who have affected us. And while this is about my mother, it could be about your mother. It could be about anybody’s mother or parents of any kind. And it’s a story about resilience. It’s a story about survival. It’s a story about doing the very best you can with what you have.”
A Portrait of My Mother was designed as a streaming show, but Garcia hasn’t ruled out taking it to the stage. “I would love to try it on a live stage with an audience,” he says. “Because I feel like it might change the storytelling in a way, because [of] that energy of a live audience. And also, if we did it for multiple nights, there might be very different versions of the painting at the end of the night.”
As for the streaming version of the show, Garcia says his mom approves. “My mom watched it on Mother’s Day,” he says. “And she cried. And she loved it. She was very moved by the performance, and it brought back a lot of memories for her. And she was very proud. So I was happy to share that with her, to be able to tell her story and ultimately just kind of honor her.”