January 28, 2013

  • Alcira: Rewrites and New Discoveries

    Turns out doing rewrites while flying is something that I can do. Quite productively, in fact. Thankfully JetBlue has plenty of leg room for me to juggle my binder and journal–the binder holding the fragments I’ve already written for Alcira and the journal with clean pages ready for my writing. Side note: I am one of those writers that likes writing journals sans lines.

    I did two rewrites. One on my flight to Texas and one on the flight back (this morning). Both concentrated on the opening prologue for Alcira. And the latest rewrite I did this morning is really exciting (for me). I can’t wait to share it at AlterLab.

    As for the discoveries I made about the play. One wasn’t really a discovery, one was a question that led to a discovery.

    So on Saturday, as I tried to explain to a friend what I was working on, I was reminded yet again that I don’t have a concise way to describe Alcira. No elevator pitch, as it were. And I began to worry. Is it too convoluted? That is, that Alcira is a witch from the times of the Aztecs. That she learned her craft from her mistress Malinalxóchitl, a powerful sorceress and sister to the Aztec god Huitzilopochtli. Huitzilopochtli, Hummingbird on the Left, is the reason why Alcira turns her victims into hummingbirds as a way of paying tribute.

    Hummingbirds have become a central image in the play.

    Are you confused. You may well be. There’s a lot of family tree stuff happening up in that paragraph. So I began to wonder if I should cut Alcira and make the play’s antagonist Malinalxóchitl, the sorceress.

    Searching for more information on Malinalxóchitl online I came across something new. I mean, I had already learned that the Mexicas (Aztecs) abandoned her in the middle of the night to get away from her because she was a tyrant. The new discovery (new for me) is that when abandoned Malinalxóchitl led her loyal followers to found the city of Malinalco

    Malinalco is considered a magical place because supposedly Malinalxóchitl taught the people there magic.

    Learning this made me very happy. I feel like I can keep Alcira (and I very much wanted to) as my antagonist. She is one of those loyal followers who went with Malinalxóchitl to found Malinalco. I feel more grounded in the actual folklore, something that gives me roots for my narrative. What’s that saying? That to make a lie believable you include some truths.

    Not that I think playwriting is lying. But it is a form of fabrication. And sometimes we need that footing in reality to help us tell our stories.


Comments (2)

  • You are singing my song, girl! I love Aztec practices and written about them several times. In fact, my play LLORONAS is based on the “destruction of their world” prophecies.

    Sounds like you are doing something very interesting.

    Good luck, my friend.

    And let Xochipilli (Aztec God of the Arts… and the homosexuals–hmmmmm!)illuminate your way.


  • Thanks, Carlos! I think someone is illuminating my way because I am super excited about the new beginning to the prologue.

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