This monthly Chatterbox column features members of the Bay Area theatre community discussing a favorite Theatre Bay Area magazine cover, which is really a great excuse for dipping into the rich history of Bay Area theatre and talking to wonderful theatre artists about their peers and memorable productions.
Theatre artist: Catherine Castellanos, Actor
Favorite Theatre Bay Area cover: January 2011
When Catherine Castellanos recalls a favorite Theatre Bay Area magazine cover, a number come to mind, but the one she finally settles on features another friend and collaborator, Margo Hall.
Castellanos, who has been associated as a company member with top-drawer companies such as Campo Santo and California Shakespeare Theater, is one of those actors whose presence in a cast makes you want to see the show immediately no matter what or where it is. Most recently she dazzled in the title role of Adam Bock’s update of “Phaedra” for Shotgun Players.
Thinking about Hall, Castellanos says, “She was on the cover for the Chinaka Hodge play ‘Mirrors in Every Corner’ and she’s just so beautiful.” The cover photo, by Joan Osato catches Hall, who was playing a black mother who gives birth to a white baby, with a tear in her eye. “The photo shows the kind of transformation Margo’s face can make and still radiate so much beauty. It’s crazy. Margo is just so stripped in that photo. It’s an artistic shot, but I remember her being very proud of it. And I was proud of her being proud of that.”
Though a theatrical force herself, Castellanos says she feels humbled by her friendships with actors like Hall. “I admire her so much,” she says. “I feel lucky to be friends with her. When we get together for a Campo Santo event – a rehearsal, a reading, whatever – I just have moments where I’m blown away by the talent around the table or in the room. It has happened to me that I’m in the middle of a scene thinking, ‘God you’re so good...oh, right it’s my line.’”
Castellanos has been a busy Bay Area actor for nearly two decades, which means her sons, Gabriel, 15, and Miles, 18, have had a working actor mom for their whole lives. She has thanked them in program bios for, “for their constant and continued inspiration, and generosity in sharing their mother with the theatre,” and she’s justifiably proud of raising a family and being an actor.
Not yet a TBA cover girl herself, Castellanos says if she were on the cover she’d like it to be for a story about her hair. Then she laughs. Though her dark mane of long hair can be spectacular, she’d really like to be part of a cover story about parents who make it work as theatre artists.
“I have so many people, especially young women, coming up to me asking me how I do it,” Castellanos says. “I never stopped long enough to think about it because I was doing it. But that’s part of the reason San Francisco stayed my home. Some theatres here are very kid friendly, some aren’t. But the ones that aren’t usually allow you to afford a nanny when you need one.”
Chad Jones has been writing about Bay Area theatre since 1992. He blogs at theaterdogs.net.
The views represented in this Chatterbox Art & Opinion post are those of the individual author, and do not necessarily represent the views of Theatre Bay Area or its staff.