In Starz’s VIDA, now in its third and final season Sunday nights on Starz, the drama continues. East Los Angeles bar owner Emma (Mishel Prada) has broken up with her girlfriend Nico, played by Roberta Colindrez. Nico, an expert bartender and seemingly well-balanced person all through Season 2, failed to tell Emma that she was married, at least technically. Nico, heartbroken by Emma’s rejection over this revelation, has begun drinking heavily. Will the pair overcome their differences in VIDA’s remaining three episodes? For that matter, will Emma be willing to meet the father who abandoned her and her younger sister Lyn (Melissa Barrera) when they were children? Will Eddy (Ser Anzoategui) recover from her PTSD after having been beaten up in a homophobic attack? Will neighborhood activist Mari (Chelsea Rendon) be successful in her quest to rescue a man from an illegal ICE arrest? Stay tuned.
Before joining the VIDA cast in the show’s second season, Colindrez had previously worked with series creator Tanya Saracho on stage. Colindrez was also in the original cast of the musical FUN HOME, which moved from off-Broadway to Broadway, where it won five Tony Awards. Born in Mexico and raised in Texas, Colindrez has also had major roles in the series I LOVE DICK and THE DEUCE; it has recently been announced that she is in the Amazon pilot for their adaptation of the baseball film A LEAGUE OF THEIR OWN.
In a phone conversation, Colindrez talks VIDA and more.
ASSIGNMENT X: How did you get involved in VIDA? Had you seen the first season before you got involved?
ROBERTA COLINDREZ: Yeah, I’d seen the whole thing. I’d known Tanya for several years, so I was really excited to learn that she had a show, and then watch the show. I just remember being so proud that there were these signs and billboards all over the city, and I kept seeing them, and I was so happy for her. And then we talked about me joining the show, and I was really excited about it, really pumped.
AX: You’d worked with Tanya Saracho on stage before …
COLINDREZ: Yes. I actually met Tanya at Sundance, when we were doing a lab at Sundance. So I’ve known her for many years. And then, about a year later, I did a play with her called MALA HIERBA, that was Off-Broadway, at Second Stage Uptown. That was a really fun show to work on. The cast was really small. It was a really special show.
AX: So was the role of Nico created for you?
COLINDREZ: Yes, I do believe it was. I do believe that’s the tale. I think Tanya needed somebody that could bring Emma some comfort, and feel some levity, and she and I had a working relationship for many years, so she knew what she could write for me that I could handle and that was really important, because we went in with a shared vocabulary about who Nico was, and it was really easy to jump in, and so it was great.
AX: When you and Tanya Saracho were talking about Nico in the formative stages of the character, did you have any particular things that you wanted Nico to either do, or have as part of her background?
COLINDREZ: Well, I think in the second season, that’s a dream role. The woman is constantly a source of positivity, and every scene that Nico’s in, in the second season, you’re like, “Hell, yeah!” They’re a really fun character to play. Tanya took care of the stuff that you want to do on screen. She had Nico running around on a motorcycle at one point. To be a scene partner with Mishel Prada is really dreamy, too. She’s an incredible person to work with. It’s always nice when you can play a character that bring levity and love and empathy into a room. Even getting to see a different part of L.A. that is normal for me, as a person that doesn’t live there, it was really cool to just get to know Nico like that, and get to know that world, was really special. I think that she wrote it true for someone coming to a new place.
AX: Did you have to learn how to do anything in order to play Nico, like how to be a bartender?
COLINDREZ: No. I happened to have been a bartender in New York City for many years of my life, and I also grew up in Austin. So the parallels were great.
AX: VIDA is unique in that it’s so specific. There are a couple of shows about Latinx families at this point on the air, but VIDA is so specific in East L.A., and the lesbian bar scene, which right now doesn’t really exist in L.A., unfortunately –
COLINDREZ: Right –
AX: Is it fun to do something that’s that specific in the writing, or do you have to make it that specific for yourself, no matter what you’re doing?
COLINDREZ: Specificity is really a beautiful thing for character work, and for the dramaturgy of the world that you’re entering as an actor. But I like to play outside of what I know, and outside of who I am and stuff like that, as much as I love the specificity. But when there are as many parallels as there are with Nico and myself, then it gives me a chance to reflect on who I am, and what I believe. Nico’s really good at supporting her friends, and being there, and being a reliable person, and I look to that as, “This is a good moment to check in. Could I run a bar?” [laughs] So it’s definitely a valuable tool to have, to have specifics within a character.
AX: When we first met Nico, Nico she was the voice of reason, and the sounding board for everybody, and the calming influence. In Season 3, Nico seems to be having a meltdown of her own …
COLINDREZ: Anybody who’s studied the work of Tanya Saracho knows that no one is perfect. And certainly not Nico. And actually [laughs], knowing this whole time, going in to playing Nico, and knowing that she was going to be a person that we learned to love and to trust, I knew that it was going to be really fun in the third season when we finally got to see some of the darker stuff come out about her, and her past. It was refreshing to get to play what happens when Nico can’t cope.
AX: You’ve done a couple of period pieces. You were in an episode, I think, of INTERROGATION, which spans from 1983 to 2009, and you were in a lot of THE DEUCE, which is set in the ‘70s. Is there a big difference for you in getting into a character like Nico, where you’re shooting is a real place, and it’s the present, versus getting into costume and getting into period for something like THE DEUCE or INTERROGATION?
COLINDREZ: There’s a difference. The context is different of course, and there are of course times that I’ve played characters that are living in times that I wasn’t alive during. But in the character work that I do, I tend to come from a place of circumstances, and boiling down what the circumstances are for the character, to be the most acute, what’s at the very core of this [person], and you find that circumstances of course varied in terms of what the societal norm was, but in essence, most of the characters that I’ve played were focusing on their relationship to others, and not so much the relationship to the world around them. And I think that it’s just as fun, the work that goes into it is just as deep, and if I wasn’t alive in 1975, like THE DEUCE, it’s really fun to be able to imagine that and play with that. So yeah, to even wear the clothing, you feel how it changes the way you walk, and the way you talk and stuff. It’s all really fun.
AX: Do you have a preference between stage and camera work?
COLINDREZ: That’s a tricky question to answer. But I have an unshakeable love for the theater, and I always will. There’s nothing quite like it. Performing live in front of people is something that is going to be the most dear thing to me for my entire life. And I always want to do theater. The technicality of doing camera work is really something that I’m still learning. I feel like every time I’m on set, I’m like, “Wow! This is all great!” So it’s all fun. You can do it in theater, you can do it on film.
AX: And what would you most like people to know about Season 3 of VIDA?
COLINDREZ: I think we’re just at a place now where we know these characters so well, they feel like your friends, and now we just get to watch them. Instead of trying to get to know them, we’re now watching our friends, and so I think that we’ve all become really invested in these people, and the audience I think will by now be invested in them as actual people in their lives. There’s a lot of fun. For six episodes, it is jam-packed with fun stuff, and with drama, and with love, and with all of it. So I think we can be excited about it. There are some tremendous moments in this season.
It was unplanned [that this is VIDA’s final season], but it’s okay. That’s how this thing goes. That’s how TV goes. But I feel tremendously fortunate, I think we all do, that we were able to tell this story, that we had the three seasons to tell the story, and that we were given the chance. Tanya definitely deserves a chance, and she met the challenge. She killed it, so I’m really proud of her, for what she’s accomplished, and I’m proud of the show, and I’m proud of the work that we did, both in the show for telling the story, but in a way that is just having it on TV as these people, representing these people, has been a small political action, or maybe a great political action. And I’m really proud of it. I think it really goes out with a bang.
Article Source: Assignment X
Article: VIDA: Exclusive interview with VIDA star Roberta Colindrez on Season 3