HOLLYWOOD – “Castaways,” which producer Grant Kahler describes as a “social experiment that tells the stories of everyday people,” airs its second episode at 10 p.m. Tuesday, Aug. 14, on ABC, its first where a contestant leaves the series.
Tracee Wnetrzak — a 41-year-old self-described super mother and restaurant employee who lives in Quartz Hill and is the primary caretaker of five generations living under one roof — is one of the “Castaways”.
The 10-episode series follows 12 people who are dropped alone throughout various islets in Indonesia and challenged to survive among washed-up luggage, scattered resources and abandoned structures. The only way to leave the remote islands is to persevere long enough to be rescued or to quit.
“Castaways has no challenges, no games, no hosts, no voting and no individual winner,” Kahler told City News Service. “The only challenge in Castaways is whether or not you can last in this environment until rescue arrives, an unknown date.”
“Castaways” also employs what Kahler calls “documentary-style flashbacks that really help you understand not only where a person comes from, but how that life determines the decisions they make on the islands.”
Other Castaways from the Los Angeles County area are:
— Angel Alvarenga, a 20-year-old who lives in Chatsworth. He grew up in Honduras, raised by his grandmother after his mother immigrated alone to California. Alvarenga moved to the U.S. when he was 15 to be closer to his mother. His brother was recently injured as a result of gang violence in Honduras, prompting him to find ways to afford to return to his native country and help his brother.
— Terry Allen, a 62-year-old who recently moved back to Agoura to help her aging parents and their growing difficulties with dementia.
— Eric Brown, a 31-year-old who lives in Glendale, who served seven years in the U.S. Navy who was able to pull himself out of depression from what he witnessed while stationed in Iraq, thanks to his recent marriage.
The cast also includes a 24-year-old woman from New York City whose family was evicted from their home without notice, forcing them to split up and live in various homeless shelters across the city; a retired U.S. Army Green Beret from Florida who rescues girls from sex-trafficking rings; and an aspiring country music recording artist.
“I was just looking for everyday people who were willing to share their stories and ready for an adventure,” Kahler said. “I’m a true believer that we all have a very unique story to tell but it’s just a matter of whether or not we are willing to share those stories.
“It was important to me that our participants came from all walks of life in order to tell different stories of people from all over the country.”