Monterey County Weekly
March 23, 2012
Pretty at Bruce Ariss Wharf Theater
This one woman show returns to Bruce Ariss after a victorious couple of performances back in September. Victoria Lucido was born in Del Rey Oaks in 1957. But those fixed facts only begin to tell the story that Vickie, in this one-woman play that she wrote, directed, and stars in, will reveal about her life from childhood, to teen, to adult and where we find her now, a dramatist and teacher, parentless and wiser, ready to share the details and depths of her well-examined years.

This is her life, told in the guise of fictional friends, relatives, and even an off-Broadway wannabe lounge singer. Pretty plays for one night here and proceeds benefit the Monterey County Rape Crisis Center.


Monterey County Herald
Dining and Entertainment Guide GO!

What:  “Pretty – A Woman’s Journey” starring Victoria Lucido
Where:  Bruce Ariss Wharf Theater.  Fisherman’s Wharf No. 1, Monterey
When: 8 p.m. Friday, March 23

By Lily Dayton

Am I Pretty? This timid question has echoed within locker room walls, pleading from the eyes of girls who gaze into mirrors and burning in the minds of young women since the modern age began.

Victoria Lucido first posed the question to her mother at the age of 14. The answer was a matter of fact “no” - something that would haunt the adolescent girl as she transitioned into womanhood, forcing her to find other ways to be seen and accepted by people in a media-drenched society.

When Lucido turned 50, the local drama teacher found herself in emotional turmoil as she began to question the patterns that she saw recurring throughout her life. To process her feelings, she turned to the art form she knew best: theater.

The results can be seen in her original one-woman show, “Pretty – A Woman’s Journey,” playing at the Bruce Ariss Wharf Theater on Fisherman’s Wharf in Monterey on Friday night.

Starring the playwright as herself, the play explores various aspects of Lucido’s personality that have formed her identity as a woman.

All proceeds from “Pretty” will benefit the Monterey County Rape Crisis Center, a nonprofit agency whose mission is to advocate for survivors of sexual assault and to prevent sexual violence in our community.

Though Lucido’s story doesn’t involve rape or sexual assault, the play carries a strong message that portrays the futility of searching for validation outside one’s self – a message that is an important one underlying the program at the Rape Crisis Center.

Kim Birdsong, client services manager at the center, said establishing a strong sense of intrinsic self-worth makes a person less likely to see validation from unsafe or unhealthy sources.

 “If you understand that it’s not how you look on the outside, the things you have or what you do for a living that (determines your value), you are much less likely to be targeted and exploited as a victim of sexual assault,” said Birdsong.

But, she said, the situation is not completely clear-cut in terms of self-esteem because many victims are assaulted at a very young age. (The center has worked with victims as young as 1).

Yet, in general, a person with a positive self-esteem and healthy boundaries is more likely to steer clear of people and places that may put them in danger.

“This story is about that whole idea of looking outside myself to find acceptance,” said Lucido, who is pained by recent media reports of young girls posting their pictures on YouTube and asking strangers the same question she asked her mother.

“It’s such an age-old question,” she said, “and now it’s a form of cyber-cutting.  The underlying message of my journey is that so often we abandon ourselves. The answer is not outside ourselves – the answer is within.  The girls on YouTube are never going to find (self-worth) there. So many of us have abandonment issues and we look outside ourselves for self-worth.”

After Lucido finished writing the narrative draft of her experiences, she asked herself what would happen if a princess were to tell the story. So she began to write the scenes from her life from the perspective of a fairy princess.

Soon, other characters that represented various aspects of her formative self began to emerge from her subconscious mind: Virginia Loudmouth, who tells it how it is, and Betty La Bocca, a Las Vegas show girl diva, as well as renditions of her adolescent self.

“I put on my costumes and sat in front of my computer and channeled these characters while writing,” said Lucido.  “Virginia, Betty, and the princess all tell the story of what happened.  I show myself at 14, then at 16. Then, at the end, I strip off my masks and I’m my adult self.”

Birdsong said that part of the power of this story comes from the implicit message of the strength and healing that can come when a person speaks out about the painful events that have occurred in their life.

“I am a woman and I’m not afraid to tell the truth,” said Lucido.  “I’m willing to say, ‘This is my life.  This is what hurt me.  This is where I feel weak and vulnerable” – and that’s OK.”