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Washington Blade: LGBTQ News, Politics, LGBTQ Rights, Gay News: Gay actor Victor Salinas on sexuality, sobriety — and believing in ghosts

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‘La Valentía (Valor)’
Through May 14
GALA Hispanic Theatre
3333 14th St., N.W.
Performed in Spanish with English surtitles.

Life and love brought out actor Víctor Salinas to D.C. And while the love part has changed since coming to town three years ago, his passion for a life in theater remains the same. 

“I knew Washington was a city of networking,” he says, so with that in mind he set off meeting people. One new connection introduced him to Rebecca Medrano (GALA Hispanic Theatre co-founder with husband Hugo Medrano) and a lunch date was scheduled. Armed with resume and photos, Salinas, 40, did his best to convince his dynamic new contact that he could act, write plays, do some production, and literally run marathons. In short, he was ready for anything.  

Things kicked off in 2021 when GALA asked him to take over a supporting role in their production of “La Tía Julia y el escribidor (Aunt Julia and the Scriptwriter),” Mario Vargas Llosa’s comedy about the final days of radio drama in 1950s Peru. More work has followed: earlier this year he played the ambitious young lawyer in “Jardín salvaje (Native Gardens),” and now he joins a terrific cast including GALA stalwarts Luz Nicolás and Carlos Castillo in Spanish playwright Alfredo Sanzol’s raucous ghost story “La Valentía (Valor).” 

“Valor” is a farce involving family, property, and ghosts. When discordant sisters Trini and Guada can’t agree on what to do with the old family manse situated uncomfortably close to a loud highway, each hatches a slightly hair-brained plan. Trini brings in a pair of ghost impersonators (the Specter Brothers) to scare her sister out, while Guada tries to keep the place going with Airbnb guests Martín and Martina, a period-dressed brother and sister with a vested interest in the house. Salinas plays Martín.  

WASHINGTON BLADE: Do you have siblings?

VĺCTOR SALINAS: I do. I have a younger brother who is an engineer. 

BLADE: Could you two survive a clash similar to what the sisters undergo in “Valor”? 

SALINAS: If it had happened 15 years ago, we would surely have collided, but if it happened today, we’d likely be on the same page. 

BLADE: You mentioned that you’ve been sober for 14 years. Any correlation?

SALINAS: It’s not a coincidence. That choice changed my life, and my relationships in many ways. It’s like I started to be my true self without distractions or numbness.

BLADE: How does your sexuality impact your work?

SALINAS:  I’m open to whatever the role. Being gay has made me observant and given me the experience to connect with feelings and emotion. That helps to construct characters in a sensitive and different way. I’ve played straight characters without issue. I made a very convincing Romeo in Chicago [his home base for eight years prior to D.C.]. 

Growing up in Mexico City, I started acting classes at age six and did my first play when I was ten. I always was true to myself and very comfortable. I came out to my mother when I had my first boyfriend at seventeen. She cried, blamed herself, and promised to continue to love and support me, and she has.  Definitely the best-case scenario. 

BLADE: You also write. You wrote a play titled “LOVEknots.” 

SALINAS: Yes, it’s about love and relationships (trans, straight, gay, platonic, familial), and features four actors playing seven roles each in 17 short vignettes. It was onstage for more than three years in Mexico City. I really want to bring it to Washington. 

BLADE: Anything else you’d like to do here?

SALINAS: I’m going to do my play “La Pájara de San Juan,” a Trump-era drama about two sisters, one documented, one not, at the Mexican Cultural Institute in September in Spanish with English surtitles. It premiered at the International Latino Theater Festival 2022 in Chicago.

BLADE: Talk about Spanish versus English for you. 

SALINAS: Last year I was cast in my first English speaking play “La Llorona” [a Latin American folktale] at Capitol Hill Arts Workshop. It’s easier for me to act in Spanish but I love working in English too. Let’s just say I’m transitioning. 

After three years in town, I’m still learning the theater scene. I came at the beginning of the pandemic, so it’s been amazing to watch the city come back to life. Really, I’m just very lucky and thankful to be onstage because that’s my favorite place in the world to be. 

BLADE: And finally, do you believe in ghosts?

SALINAS: I do. Not in a scary way, but more as a form of energy and love. 

The post Gay actor Victor Salinas on sexuality, sobriety — and believing in ghosts appeared first on Washington Blade: LGBTQ News, Politics, LGBTQ Rights, Gay News.

Washington Blade: LGBTQ News, Politics, LGBTQ Rights, Gay News