My name is Rafael Villa, and I was born in the Dominican Republic. I came here in 2011, when I was about thirteen. In the DR I never had the experience of being an actor. It’s really hard to be an actor in The Dominican Republic. To be an actor there you need to go to college to start your career. But here in The United States, it’s better because you can start at fifteen years old, learning about characters and about acting.
I’ve been with DreamYard for a little over a year. They give you a lot of opportunities. DreamYard has taken me around New York and also to Washington DC. My trip to DC was through BAE, the Bronx Acting Ensemble here at DreamYard. We were there visiting a college, seeing the city, and working with another acting company.
In the Shakespeare Summer Intensive I learned a lot of things about Shakespeare! When I came from the Dominican Republic to The United States, I had an idea of Shakespeare, but I only knew a little bit about who Shakespeare was. The only thing I really knew about him was Romeo and Juliet. And then when I took the Shakespeare Summer Intensive, I learned how to actually understand his English writing and I learned about iambic pentameter. I liked the yoga we did in the Intensive and I want to keep practicing yoga by myself—maybe even join a school for yoga, because I think it helps you to be more flexible and calmer. I also liked that I really got to perform, really act and build a character. I think it was a good challenge for me. After I graduate, I want to go on to do acting and to be a businessman.
I think the Tempest is something really exciting because I never thought I would be a character in a real play in front of so many people. I didn’t think that dream would come true until I was in college. But I’m not in college now, I’m a junior in high school, and the opportunity came!