Audience Blog

Audience Blog #10: Andrea Casas (Houston)

Audience Blog #10: Andrea Casas (Houston)

Progress Theatre’s “Audience Blog” features responses to live PT performances written exclusively by show attendees we meet on tour.

How did you hear about PT?    — One of the actresses in the play is a cousin of my fiance.

Was this your first PT performance, workshop or engagement?    — Yes, The Burnin’ was my first Progress Theatre play.

When was the last time you made progress?    — I make progress everyday by showing people that I am a smart, friendly person despite the stereotypes others attempt to put on me.

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Making Progress

My name is Andrea. I am Hispanic. I say “Hispanic” because my family has been in the US for a long time and although I figure we originally came from Mexico, I am not sure exactly from where or how long ago it has been on either side of my family. Despite all of this, many people assume I came here last week and often I get treated unkindly. Sometimes I’m treated kindly; it really depends on what area I’m in and what I’m wearing. I grew up in Houston in the Heights and my family moved to Katy when I was nine years old. I’d like to share a bit of my story and how I was inspired by The Burnin’.

When I was a child I always wanted to become an archaeologist like Indiana Jones, so I pursued that goal all the way up until my junior year of college at UH. My boyfriend at the time asked me to marry him. His family wasn’t excited. He came from a wealthy, White New Orleans family and they thought this was just a fling. Eventually their surprise wore off and it became outright hostility. I thought that if I proved how much I loved him, they would understand and allow us to be together. They didn’t care. At one point I was so broken up about how this was affecting my fiance that I told him we could call it off and just remain friends. I didn’t want to come between him and his family. He refused and said we were going to stay together forever.

Eventually, he stopped talking to his family. By the time we got married, we had not seen them in months. They came to the wedding and laughed at the “Latin music and dancing” but didn’t talk to us. They simply ate our food and watched. When my daughter was born my husband tried calling his father and left a voicemail saying I was in labor, but received a text message back saying “Good luck with that.” A couple of years ago, I was consumed by my anger and humiliation at all of the things they had done and said. Our relationship changed. I didn’t know that they were talking to my then husband behind my back, trying to persuade him to leave me and my 3-year-old daughter and 1-year-old son. They encouraged him to pursue an affair at work. And he did both of these things.

I share my story because when I saw The Burnin’, I was moved by the story of the character Boo. Her heartbreak when Crush left her for another woman had tears coming down my face. I completely understood her feelings at that moment. Then, the stories of racial and cultural intolerance throughout the show reminded me of my own experiences. I could feel the pain, and anger and confusion. The emotional performance by the actor who play Topper Jr./Crush blew me away. And Boo’s voice… Wow.

At first, I was so sad and hurt that hatred and intolerance for my culture had led to the uproot of a family. How can I look at my two beautiful kids and see things that other people don’t? Aren’t all of our babies beautiful? How can anyone stand there and treat us like we’re less?? Didn’t God make me too, same as you?? Same as everyone?

But, then I thought: How do I make progress? In so many ways, but in this way more than others: My kids deserve a happy mama who shows them how to take the high road and keep moving forward. You don’t fight pettiness with pettiness. That’s can be hard when things happen in my daily life that insult me to my core. But I can’t let that control our lives. Thanks, PT, for caring to show the world through your beautiful message that we can all be here: No animosity, no hatred, no “us” against “them.” I have faith that one day the rest of the world will be catch up.

Getting divorced turned out to be a good thing for me. I moved back to the Heights, made friends and started a career. My kids are happy and I’m going back to school in the Spring. Not to mention that I am now engaged to a wonderful man. I know it’s going to be okay because I’m making “progress.” 🙂

Andrea Casas is from The Heights in Houston, TX and studied at University of Houston. She is an avid reader, a fan of the outdoors and a loving mother.

⇐⇐ Read Audience Blog #9: “Confessions of a Redneck” by Bill Murrah

Read Audience Blog #11: “Listening & Learning” by Clara Marsh ⇒⇒

Progress Theatre

September 29th, 2016

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