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Local actor makes professional debut at Gablestage

South Florida resident Abdiel G. Vivancos makes his professional acting debut in his hometown of Coral Gables.

By Rodolfo Roman

Special to The Miami Herald

Coral Gables resident Abdiel G. Vivancos is not a stranger to the spotlight.

Growing up, he was surrounded by lights and cameras.

Both his parents, Abdiel Vivancos Sr., a former cameraman for ABC, and Marcia Izaguirre, a producer for major national networks, exposed the younger Abdiel to the television business world.

So, it’s no surprise he decided to pursue an acting career.

Raised in Coral Gables, the young Abdiel made his professional acting debut last week in his own backyard, as he played the leading role of Khalid in Masked, a play written by Ilan Hatsor at the Gables Stage, 1200 Anastasia Ave. The 70-minute play runs through Aug. 7.

“I love telling stories,” said Vivancos, now 21. “As people, we are more similar than we are different. I think it’s important to see how we are connected.”

Before hitting the stage, he said he felt butterflies and excited to perform in his hometown.

“I am happy to do it in Miami since it gives me a sense of pride,” said Vivancos, who performs in Masked under the stage name Abdiel Gabriel.

Prior to Masked, he had performed in festivals and school performances.

In Miami-Dade County, he studied at the New World School of Arts high school and is now studying musical theater at Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh. He is also a recipient of an Andrew Carnegie Scholarship.

Masked tells the story of three Palestinian brothers who are trapped in a life and death situation dealing with loyalty and betrayal. The play takes place in the 1990s, during the first intifada conflict between Palestinians and Israelis. There are only three actors. Vivancos joins Nick Duckart and Carlos Orizondo.

Abdiel’s character is the youngest. The story takes place in a meat shop. He says his character helps the audience understand the story.

“The big reason for my character is for the audience to look at because my character is naïve,” he said. “He doesn’t know what is going on, since the other brothers hold the information.”

Abdiel was chosen to play the role after reaching out to director Joseph Adler. He auditioned last December and was given the thumbs up in March.

“I chose him because he’s an excellent actor,” Adler said. “I’ve known him since he was a high school student at New World School of the Arts.”

Abdiel’s first stab at acting came when he auditioned for his elementary school’s drama program.

He impersonated comedic actor Jim Carrey in Ace Ventura Pet Detective.

“He is the reason why I acted,” Vivancos said of Carrey.

The elder Vivancos, remembers videotaping his son when he hit the stage at a young age. He was in attendance opening night.

“To be able to see him grow and perform in person is overwhelming,” the father said.

The Younger Vivancos said he credits his upbringing for his success, since his parents worked in television.

“It was beneficial to be in the business because they had an opened mind,” he said. “I was always around cameras and productions. I think it started a big interest for me in entertainment.”

Vivancos will enter the next semester as a senior. He now is a member of the Actors’ Equity Association, and his goal is to one day perform on Broadway.

“Theater for me is like a marathon,” he said.

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