Lisa Tejero plays Fil-Am character in "after all the terrible things I do"

Lisa Tejero plays Fil-Am character in "after all the terrible things I do"
March 3, 2016

Lisa Tejero
Actress Lisa Tejero will play a Filipina bookstore owner in A. Rey Pamatmat's "after all the terrible things I do," in the play's Chicago premiere by About Face Theatre in March.

In the play, Linda (Tejero) hires Daniel (Colin Sphar), a young white aspiring writer. They discover a dark connection that goes much deeper than a love of literature. The play explores the dark side of ordinary people, second chances and the price of forgiveness.

"As an actor, it's par for the course to portray a character that is not only outside your realm of experience but also different from your own personal orientation of age, race, religion or culture," Tejeros says.

In Chicago, she has worked with Goodman Theatre, Lookingglass Theatre Company and Steppenwolf Theatre Company. Regionally she has appeared in the Oregon Shakespeare Festival, Cincinnati Playhouse, Huntington Theatre Company, Mark Taper Forum, among others.

"That being said, it's also equally exciting to be able to go a little deeper into a realm a little closer to my own personal point of reference."

Tejero's father is from the Philippines; she was born and raised in "a small town in Missouri."

"My upbringing was very Midwest. Shortly after graduating college, I went to the Philippines and lived there for a year to get a better sense of things. It so happened that that was the year of the People Power revolution, so that might not have been the most accurate read of things," she says.

Ironically, the year she lived in Manila, she worked with Repertory Philippines for a season, but "I was wigged blonde twice and not one of those shows or characters were Asian," she says.

She auditioned for About Face Theater's artistic director Andrew Volkoff, who is also directing the show. "We are both very moved and taken by the script and had an immediate rapport with each other."

When she first read the script, she'd only intended to do it quickly to get an overview for her audition. "But I was so totally drawn in during the first scene. I was completely fascinated by both of the characters, their interplay and story arcs."

"I kept delving deeper into all the possibilities and the complications of both the characters. I hyper-jumped into being invested with this story immediately."

Tejero is excited for the chance to "explore a multi-faceted and layered character" once rehearsals begin.

She appreciates that the production feels "very safe and supportive, which is important since the story requires us actors to push each other to some very pained places where we are hurting and hurtful. I feel that the more respect, support and love there is in the rehearsal room, the harder and deeper it allows you to go at it on stage."

The play was premiered by Milwaukee Repertory Theater and recently staged in Boston by Huntington Theater Company.

Praise from critics include On Milwaukee, "Searing"; Journal Sentinel, "Smart, sensitive"; Greater Milwaukee Today, "Well-crafted"; Boston Globe, "A trenchant, multilayered drama"; and WBUR, "Riveting"; among others.

"A. Rey Pamatmat is one of the most exciting and dynamic voices in the American theater today," says Volkoff.

Pamatmat's credits include "Edith Can Shoot Things and Hit Them," "Thunder Above, Deeps Below," and "A Spare Me (Waterwell)," among others.

"This piece is deceptively dynamic and complex, highly engaging yet with deep resonance, asking the audience to question what they see on stage and in their own lives. I'm excited to work with Rey, bringing his unique voice to Chicago," Volkoff adds.

Set design by Chelsea Warren, costume design by Bob Kuhn, sound design by Christopher Kriz.

"after all the terrible things I do," previews Mar. 11-13, runs Mar. 17-Apr. 10, 2016 at Theater Wit, 1229 W. Belmont Ave., Chicago. 

Contact +1-773-404-7336, visit or AboutFaceTheatre on Facebook.