You know what they say, you can take the boy out of East L.A. but you can’t take out the East L.A. out of the boy. The same can be said for David Valdez, who stars in the self-written, one-man show “Scarred for Life” at Casa 0101 Theater.
Valdez was born and raised in East Los Angeles after his family immigrated to the U.S in search of the American dream. The youngest of seven children, his upbringing differed from his older siblings.
Valdez was raised American, yet never lost the color, taste and sounds of his Mexican descent. However, after a series of events””some unfortunate, others humorous”” Valdez grew up scarred for life, both literally and figuratively, but nonetheless determined to escape East Los Angeles.
Valdez’s vivacious story begins in his childhood, starting with a standoff with one of the family chickens that left him a still very visible scar on his cheek. Being rescued by his father in that moment was the last positive memory Valdez remembers. Shortly after, the sight of his father packing up and leaving was the last memory engraved in his mind for the next several years. As Valdez grew up and his older brothers were off playing sports and being “tough guys,” Valdez’s luck just kept getting worse, until he finally reached nerd level.
Over the course of the next few years, with Griffith Middle School behind him and Garfield High School in his present, Valdez managed to stir away from trouble””although trouble seemed to follow him wherever he went. Life seemed to always be throwing Valdez for a loop until it finally threw the biggest loop of all: college. And in Valdez’s case it wasn’t just college calling, it was Yale.
And so culture shock began, along with many discoveries ahead. Being only the second child in his family to go to college, on top of which probably the only Mexican American in a room full of Jewish roommates, Valdez realized he needed to step up his game. And he did.
“Scarred for Life” is a triumphant and hilariously exaggerated tale of this East L.A. native as he follows life’s journey and manages to find some peace with his long lost father. Valdez demonstrates a true talent for comedy as he keeps us on our toes and lets us become one of the family. Though lacking a strong story structure, Scarred for Life is an honest account of all of life’s ironies and how where we come from isn’t really what we’re trying to run away from, but us, growing up. It wasn’t until Valdez returned to his hometown that he learned that valuable lesson.
“Scarred for Life” (Fridays & Saturdays 8 p.m., Sundays 6 p.m. January 11-20)
at Casa 0101 Theater
2102 East First Street
Los Angeles, CA 90033
$15 – General
$12 – Students/Seniors
$10 – Boyle Heights residents with ID
Call (323) 263-7684 to reserve tickets or visit casa0101.org