Month: August 2013

  • The River Bride is Co-Winner of the 2013 National Latino Playwriting Award

    I’ve been keeping this news under my hat for a while now, but now it’s official. Arizona Theatre Company has announced that my play The River Bride is Co-Winner of the 2013 National Latino Playwriting Award, an honor I share with playwright Caridad Svich whose play Spark is the other Co-Winner. It’s the first time in the history of the award that two playwrights are sharing the award like this. It is an honor to be recognized with Caridad.

    The River Brideis the first in my cycle of fairy tale plays inspired by Latino folklore and it goes up in AlterTheater‘s upcoming 2013/2014 season. Here’s the synopsis for the play:

    Three days before a wedding a handsome and mysterious man is fished from the Amazon River. Set once upon a time in a small Brazilian fishing village, The River Bride is a tale of true love, regret and two sisters who struggle to be true to each other and their hearts.


  • Found Excerpt

    I found this excerpt cut out from what I presume is a New Yorker magazine article (from looking at what was on the back of the text). I found it in my old supervisor’s office. She left our organization last October and I was in her office taking a private call when I glanced over at the clippings left on her wall. Most were related to our work, but then there was this long rectangular clipping taped at eye level.

    I gently pulled it from the wall and read it.

    Gauguin went on to Tahiti, to become–through his effect on Picasso and also on the entire Malraux-Hemingway generation–a central type of the modern artist. There is another kind of moral luck, though, appealed to by van Gogh in his late pictures and letters, different from the flamboyant self-creation of the more familiar Gauguin-Picasso sort. It is the moral luck of making something that no one wants in the belief that someone someday will. The letters of van Gogh’s last year mark his acceptance of his isolation, coupled with the belief that the isolation, coupled with the belief that the isolation need not be absolute–that, one day, there will be a community of readers and viewers who will understand him, and that his mistake had been to try and materialize that community in the moment instead of accepting it as the possible gift of another world and time. “One must seize the reality of one’s fate and that’s that.” The real community is not that of charmed artists living like monks but the distant dependencies of isolated artists and equally isolated viewers, who together make the one kind of community that modernity allows.

    The turn toward moral luck puts modern art, however popular, at permanent odds with the society that delights in it. Whether it its benign, wishful form, or in its belligerent “Watch me!” aspect, the pursuit of moral luck remains alien to a liberal civilization that always, and usually intelligently, prefers compromise to courage, and morning meetings to evening dares. Even the shoppers and speculators who wager on the future value of a work of art are engaged at best in a kind of mimicry of the original risk. A society of sure things needs a mythology of long shots. To trust in luck is to be courageous, and courage, the one essential virtue, on which all others depend, is also the one ambiguous virtue, since it is morally neutral: jerks have it as often as gentlemen.

    Here’s to being courageous.

  • Andromeda and Perseus

    I’m an imagist. I draw a lot of inspiration from images and like to incorporate images into my work. When I begin writing a play I tend to go through a period of image gathering. For Heart Shaped Nebula I found quite a few images of Andromeda and Perseus. I had hoped to find images that matched the visual I in my head.

    You see those stars there. That’s Perseus. The meteor shower is called the Perseid meteor shower because it looks like the meteors are coming from that constellation.

    The stars that make up the constellation of Perseusappear in the sky.

    And there’s Andromeda, Perseus’ beloved.

    The stars that make up the constellation of Andromeda appear in the sky. As DALILA tells the story, artistic representations of Andromeda in chains and Perseus with his sword raised in battle, carrying the head of Medusa appear over the stars, but do not block out their light.

    That’s from my play. That’s the image I had in my head. And currently designers are working to figure out just how they’ll represent that on stage.

    As for me, I managed to find it. The image I had in my head turns up exists online (thank you, Internet). And I sent it along to help inspire the designers.

    And now, I’ll share them with you.

    First, Andromeda. Credit: NASA, ESA, and STScI

    And Perseus. Credit: NASA, ESA, G. Bacon (STScI) and A. Fujii (for STScI)


  • Chicago Friends and Friends With Chicago Connections

    And by “connections” I mean theatre connections and/or friends who like theatre.

    Here it is, my big push to invite people to the developmental production of Heart Shaped Nebula. My play goes up in Chicago this September at Halcyon Theatre at part of their 2013 Alcyone Festival.

    Heart Nebula, yes there actually is one.

    What’s the play about?

    Glad you asked. Here’s the synopsis:

    Set on the anniversary of a tragic accident, a motel room outside Las Vegas becomes the nexus of memory, reincarnation, love, and the nature of the universe. And for 34-year old Miqueo and 13-year old Amara, nothing is quite what it seems.

    That’s the official synopsis. Unofficially I’ll say Heart Shaped Nebula is a love story on many levels. Not just a love story between two characters, but my own. So many things I love are in this play: Astronomy, Greek myths, science, an obscure reference to NikolaTesla, an obscure reference to an 80s Sizzlean commercial, nostalgia for my home state of Texas and a love poem.

    When is it?

    The festival schedule is up and Heart Shaped Nebula performances are:

    Friday, September 6 at 8pm.
    Sunday, September 8 at 6 p.m.
    Friday, September 13 at 8 p.m.
    Saturday, September 21 at 8 p.m.

    How can you attend?

    Tickets can be purchased online.

    Hope you can make it!

  • Wolf At The Door Rewrites Are Underway

    I spent almost the entire weekend working on rewrites and draft number three of Wolf at the Door is coming along nicely.

    Aside from delving deeper into Septimo’s dark psyche and personal background, I had a kind of wonderful realization about the use of silence. There are two moments when, in the dark, someone encounters another person who is hiding. It suddenly made more sense that those moments would begin with a big of hesitancy that would turn into curiosity. I was reminded not to rush through those moments. And now those moments have a more measured pace to them which I quite like.

    I’m curious to uncover if there are more moments where silence/discover or silence/hesitation can be used in the script. We’ll see.

    More soon,

  • Heart Shaped Nebula in Chicago: One Month Away!

    That’s right, in little less than a month the Alcyone Festival at Halcyon Theatre kicks off featuring Heart Shaped Nebula and several other awesome playwrights, all of which happen to be women.

    In related news (as in related to Heart Shaped Nebula‘s plot), the Perseid meteor shower ramps up this weekend. I wish I could get some place far away from the light pollution and fog (I usually love you, but not during August).

    So if you happen to be somewhere where there isn’t a blanket of fog covering your night sky, I recommend heading out away from the lights of cities and towns to stargaze and catch the 2013 Perseid meteor shower.

    And if you’re in Chicago, or will be during the month of September, I recommend going to check out the Alcyone Festival plays.

    See you in a month, Chicago!

  • Playwright Happy Hour, Dinner and a Swimming Pig

    Yesterday I remembered that playwright Christine Evans was in town. I quickly sent her a message to find out if we could meet up. She was in San Francisco for a few days breaking up the extra long trip from Australia (where she’s from) to Washington D.C. where she lives and works.

    Turns out I caught her on her final day here in SF and she offered to meet me for Happy Hour in the Richmond District which just happens to be my neighborhood. So we met at The Bitter End, an Irish pub just two blocks from my place.

    How do I know Christine?

    Christine was an early mentor of mine. She came to USF to teach a semester of playwriting during my second year of grad school. Not that my graduate program included playwriting, it doesn’t. Christine was coming to teach an undergraduate course and I–after collaborating with El Teatro Jornalero! for a little over a year–was beginning to wonder just how to go about writing a play.

    So I audited Christine’s course and and set out to write my first play by the end of the semester. It was Christine who recommended I submit my play Braided Sorrow to the Bay Area Playwrights Festival. And it was that festival that put me on course to switch genres.

    Well, it’s been a good while since I’ve seen Christine. So we caught up over a pint.

    And then the person she was planning to have dinner with arrived. Lo and behold it was Ginny Reed. Ginny is a director I know through my dramaturg Nakissa. Ginny and I have been to many dinner parties and gatherings hosted by our friend Nakissa. And since Nakissa has been out of town a lot this year, I haven’t seen much of Ginny for some.

    So drinks turned into a dinner invite and we headed to a Thai restaurant nearby to catch up some more.

    And when Ginny and Christine were talking about the rising sea levels and a potential play that might come out of that topic another related topic arose–mermaids. Or rather, performers pretending to be mermaids. Christine mentioned the ones in Florida and that’s when I brought up Ralph the Swimming Pig.

    Just 30 minutes from my hometown in Texas is another town called San Marcos which is home to Aquarena Springs. It was a sort of water resort park all centered around a fresh water spring. I remember going there as a kid to ride in the glass bottom boats, I remember the spherical sky ride that took people over the park and of course I remember the mermaid/submarine theatre and its star Ralph the Swimming Pig.

    Check out this article in Popular Mechanics about the Mermaid Theater.

    Turns out Aquarena Springs’ heyday was right around the time I went as a kid. A few years back the resort was closed and all the development has been or is in the process of being removed in order to return the fresh water springs to its natural state.

    I know that’s the right thing to do, to preserve this environmental wonder. But I can’t help but look back fondly on my memories of mermaids and a swimming pig called Ralph.