Paloma Morales joined APTP when she was thirteen years old. Audiences will remember her as the young Ahlam selling her treasured dolls to audience members in Home/Land, and as the young heroine who loses her childhood home in I Will Kiss These Walls. Below Paloma reflects on APTP’s new play, God’s Work, and her time with the company.
APTP: This is a big commitment and a lot of work. What makes it worth it?
PALOMA: I have such a deep passion and love for APTP that it would be impossible for me to leave. The fact that we do plays based on real-life stories is definitely one thing that keeps coming back. Each person I have interviewed to collect stories for our plays has such a strong spirit, soul and a breathtaking story to tell. To be able to put their stories on stage is such an honor. The people in APTP also make it worth the work and effort. We are all family and we grow such a strong bond with one another.
APTP: Why do you think God’s Work is an important story to tell?
PALOMA: God’s Work shows that love is one of the strongest things in the world and it can be felt in even the worst situations imaginable.
APTP: What role do you play, and what does your character mean to you?
PALOMA: I play Naomi, the third eldest out of 18 children. Naomi is very different from my past roles. In this role I am a protector. I help the main character Rachel in any way that I can. Naomi is special in my eyes because she acts out of love, even though she doesn’t know it. Naomi, just like the rest of the children in this world, is capable of loving even though she doesn’t really understand the emotion.
APTP: The story of God’s Work gets pretty brutal at times. What is it like performing scenes of abuse and pain?
PALOMA: Trying to put real pain on stage requires a lot of work, and we want to make sure the feelings on stage are as genuine as possible, even though we didn’t experience them. We feel safe doing a play like this because we are surrounded by so many loving people. Before and after rehearsals, even during our breaks, everyone goes up to each other and asks if we’re all feeling okay. We look out for one another, we play, we laugh, we have fun. The directors do a great job reminding us that we are reliving a story that deserves to be told. We know this story is going to affect people in the best way possible.
|Paloma Morales rehearses a scene from Albany Park Theater Project's God's Work. (Photo: Liz Lauren)
APTP: What’s it like performing on the Goodman stage?
PALOMA: I learned a lot about myself from performing at the Goodman. I was able to figure out what I can push myself to do. It gave me a lot of confidence and taught me to set bigger goals for myself.
APTP: Next year is your final year as an ensemble member. Any hopes or dreams for what you do with the company during your final year?
PALOMA: I remember when I was a freshman and Maggie kept saying, “Thank God we have three more years with her.” Time flew by so fast. My hope is that I leave knowing everyone can take care of one another like a family, and knowing every single person in this theater company is confident in themselves just like I am now. I want people to be able to recognize when their abilities are growing to feel confident when they stand and raise their voice. APTP will always be their second home just like it always will be for me.