Telling a Human Story in My Mañana Comes
Ada Göktepe, senior theatre major with a classical studies minor, is directing My Mañana Comes, opening March 21st. We sat down with Ada to talk about the connection she has to the story and how she hopes to engage audiences.
What is this play about?
The play is about four runner-bussers who work on the Upper East side in a high-end restaurant. Two are undocumented Mexicans, one is a third-generation Mexican immigrant, and one is an African American New Yorker. The play takes place over 10 days and revolves around their friendship with each other, and what one would do for their future, for their manana. My Mañana Comes is a human story where the values these characters are fighting for are the same with what anyone else would be fighting for.
Why did you choose this play?
I first came across this play in Design 2 and when I read it, it had a big impact on me. The classic thing I always say is it made me cry after I finished it. I think it was really familiar, the fears and the emotions in the play were the more extremes of the feelings I felt. I read the play after the winter break where I was not allowed to go back home to Turkey because of the Muslim ban. At a time where I felt excluded, reading the play reminded me that I wasn’t alone. Immediately I wanted to create a space for others who feel the way I do to come together; to tell the stories of people who are overseen.
What do you hope audiences learn from My Mañana?
I want people to get comfortable with the uncomfortable. To understand that some issues are too big to fix in the moment and that some people’s experiences are too foreign for other people to understand right away. It shouldn’t scare you. These people who are seen as Other still fight for the same values and pursuits. If we just listen to each other and try to be there for each other instead of fixing things right away, it may get better.
How did you put together your team?
I didn’t do an audition process. I think this story required a bigger Loyola community to join and I didn’t want anyone to be scared off by having to do a monologue. We reached out to the bigger Loyola community with a personal statement from me about why I wanted to do the play and how I, as a Turkish immigrant, connected with the story. The responses I got were very emotional. I was looking for people of color who felt connected with the story. The honesty and the vulnerability people shared and people had with just one email touched my heart. I ended up meeting up with 25 students individually and we chatted about what it meant to be bi-cultural, what it meant to be the Other in America, even if you were born here, and how they felt about the play. After three weeks of conversations, I ended up casting my four person show.
What has your favorite part of the experience been?
The best best part was the fact that for the first time, for me, there was a room where our struggles were not the Other. And as a group of 5, we inherently were on the same level and we didn’t have to explain ourselves. That room became very valuable, very real, very vulnerable, yet really fun.
I think the second best part is just to see the cast and myself grow within the past five weeks immensely, in measures I did not expect. All of the cast members are non-majors who are technically not trained actors, but through their dedication to the story and hard work, they surprise me with their performance everyday.
What have you learned about directing and story telling?
My major outcome about directing a story that I related to, but in a different way than the cast, was to allow everyone to relate in whatever way they do. When we started the rehearsal process I shared with the cast that I connect to the story as an immigrant who knows what it’s like to be the “other,” but I do not relate to how it feels to be born here but still be seen as the “other.” My cast related through their own life experience. I learned that to tell the story well everyone had to bring in their own experience rather than just follow my own.
My Mañana Comes runs March 21st - 24th, tickets available at artsevents.luc.edu/theatre.