Month: October 2013

  • Here We Go

    Apologies for the radio silence, but I’ve been working on a grant as part of a grantwriting workshop for artists. It’s a really great opportunity to learn about grantwriting and I’m definitely getting a lot out of it (so thank you, Galería de la Raza for doing the workshop). But let me just say: it’s not easy.

    Oh, and I have to submit the first draft tonight via an online form. And I have to do that while cleaning and packing because I’m headed to the Latino Theatre Commons conference in Boston which starts on Thursday.

    LTC Final Program_Page_01

    I’ve barely had a chance to get mentally prepared for this event. So I gotta shift gears quick and be ready to engage, participate and contribute. And, if you’re so inclined you can follow the conference online via HowlRound TV or on Twitter (follow the #cafeonda hashtag).

    Oh, and have I mentioned that we’re a month out from starting rehearsals for The River Bride? Well we are.

    Busy, busy, busy.


  • Too Many Irons in the Fire or How I Learn To Stop Worrying And Love Deadlines

    How did this happen? How is it the end of October with my birthday right around the corner and I am not ready. I do not have the time to organize even a small gathering of my friends. I am trying to, but I don’t think it’s realistically possible given all that I have going on at the moment, which includes:

    • Finishing my One Minute Play Festival submission for the SF OMPF
    • Working on a grant proposal and finishing a first draft before Friday because…
    • Friday going to a coaching session for my grant writing workshop so that I can then…
    • Finalize my first draft of my grant proposal and submit it by Oct. 29 because…
    • October 30 I head to the National Latino Theatre Commons conference in Boston
    • And I need to go to Chinatown sometime soon or my sobrinos will never forgive me if I don’t come home with parasols for Christmas
    • Plus there’s the NALAC grant application I need to start
    • And other applications
    • And organizing the next Bay Area Latino Theatre Artists Network potluck which we think now will happen in early December
    • Plus, I’m finally going to start working on that gender parity toolkit in December, or at least start plotting its process for development
    • Which reminds me, this Sunday there’s a feminist theatre salon to go to
    • So I have no idea when I’m going to clean my house which has languished under a thin layer of mess ever since my back started bothering me.
    • Oh, and then I’ve been invited to participate on a committee
    • Which reminds me, I need to check in with my Alma mater about the symposium I’m going to develop with them…

    See what I mean about too many irons.

  • Auditions for The River Bride

    Saturday it was foggy. Über foggy. So foggy I couldn’t see the Golden Gate Bridge when I was standing less than 100 feet away from it. Actually, I don’t know how many feet I was away, but I can usually see the bridge from the Golden Gate Transit stop that’s right before you cross the bridge.

    Why was I catching a bus? Well, I was on my way to San Rafael for The River Bride auditions. I headed out early before morning fog got a chance to burn off so I could arrive early and collect my thoughts. Over coffee and an enormous muffin I made a few notes about characters, for qualities I was hoping to find in performance.

    Then I walked to the auditions location where my co-directors Ann Brebner and Jeanette Harrison were setting up. We had 5 hours in the space and an almost no breaks to see the actors that had been invited to audition. Sidenote: if you’re wondering about the auditions, AlterTheater held general auditions about a month or two ago. The group we saw on Saturday was a mix of people who went to generals, people who’ve worked at AlterTheater before, people whose work my co-directors were familiar with, actors I was interested in seeing and AlterTheater ensemble members.

    It was about an hour into auditions that I thought, “Wow, this is going to be hard.” I mean, we’d see someone and say, “That was great! We like them.” Then another person reading for the same part would come in and we’d look at one another and say, “Wow! That was great, too.”

    And not only did we see actors on their own, we saw them paired up with other actors to watch them play off of one another, to see what chemistry they might have (there are three couples in the play).

    Before we knew it, the afternoon had flown by and auditions were concluded. My co-directors and I retired to Ann’s home for tea and conversation where we talked about the performances we had seen. Most of our casting decisions were tough ones. That’s what you get when everyone you see gives you a compelling audition. Though it made our decision process difficult, it was very gratifying to know how much energy the actors we saw on Saturday put into their auditions. And while I thanked each one individually, let me just say here: Thank you. Thank you for bringing the characters to life. For making this process feel suddenly very real and exciting.

    After about an hour we came to a consensus. I can’t tell you more than that because offers have to made and accepted before I can gush over the cast. And I think there will most definitely be gushing.

  • The River Bride: Submitting Every Day…Or At Least Trying To


    Taking a cue from playwright Brian Doyle who submitted work every day for an entire year, I’ve decided to do my own version where I send The River Bride to at least one theatre a day.

    I won’t do this for a year, because of course I need to find theatres that are a good fit for the play. But so far I’ve sent the play to three different theatres and I need to do a bit more research to figure out where else to send the play. And to be honest, because my list is so short I don’t know how long my submit a day stretch will last.

    Okay, this means also identifying one theatre a day to send the work to. Fine. I can work to do that. It won’t be easy, but it’s necessary. I mean, how else am I going to get my play out there?


  • My Macario Adventure


    Yesterday I went to San Jose to see Macario at Teatro Vision. Now originally I had planned to get a ride down there with my friend Hugo who has the lead in the show. However, due to the opening night gala festivities the night previous I got a call from Hugo in the morning explaining he was still in San Jose.

    So I got myself down to the Caltrain station as quickly as possible to catch the last possible train I could take in order to get to San Jose in time for the matinee performance.

    It all worked out and I got to the theatre with ample time.

    Before the show I got to chat with the woman sitting next to me who used to perform with El Teatro Campesino. I think she’s the one who mentioned that Teatro Vision is hoping to do Macario every year for Dia de los Muertos, the way other theatres do A Christmas Carol once a year.

    Now, looking through the program at the list of characters I assumed there were may 8 actors in the play. So I was delighted when the opening began and there were about 20 or more people on stage including dancers, children and actors. And that doesn’t include the musicians just left of the stage who were performing and accompanying the performers who were singing.

    Macario is a parable about a poor working man in pre-independence Mexico who is visited by three spirits. Like A Christmas Carol, the spirits visit Marcario in order to get him to reflect on his life. After these encounters his life takes on a magical turn as his fortunes then rise and fall.

    My friends Hugo and Karina (who play Macario and Macario’s wife) were really wonderful. And I’m not just saying that because they’re my friends. Hugo is a wonderful dramatic actor who also has an amazing capacity for physical humor and both those talents were on display in this play. Even an improvised moment of trying to prevent a prop from falling over was turned into a laugh. And Karina–I had no idea she could sing.

    Well, don’t take my word for it. There’s only one week left of Macario, so don’t miss it.

    As for me, after dinner with the cast I got a ride back to the city. I’m really glad I made the trek down. And you should, too.


  • Back To The Grind

    Now that I’m in less pain I can actually think about all the upcoming deadlines that are fast approaching. There are many. With that in mind I have two goals for this Saturday:

    1. Finish my Ground Floor application. At least a first draft of it. Review it later in the next week before submitting.
    2. Finish an email to an A.D. who once gave me his card back when I was just beginning as a playwright. Well, now I have two plays to send him.

    That’s pretty much it. For Saturday, anyway. Tomorrow I’m going to go see Macario at Teatro Vision.

    That’s Hugo on the left

    I don’t usually get the opportunity to trek down to San Jose–when you don’t have a car this city is like an island. But since my friends Hugo and Karina are both in Macario, I am hitching a ride with the the star of the show himself.

    I’ve promised that in exchange for the ride down I will read Neruda as entertainment and also buy us burritos, possibly for dinner. And, considering that my back is still on the mend, I will have to travel with ice packs. Hear that? It was me groaning and rolling my eyes. I had to reschedule seeing another play earlier this week and cancel a movie date because of my back. But since Macario has a short run, Sunday is really the only day I can go down to see it and I wouldn’t miss it for the world.


  • The Latino Commons To Meet In Boston And I’m A-Going

    First, apologies for the radio silence. I’ve been laid up for almost a week thanks to my back. Good news is, it’s muscular. Muscular spasms. The bad news is my doctor didn’t give me anything stronger than Motrin to take care of it. Oh well. Time heals all wounds. Hopefully I will be healed up before I fly to Boston at the end of this month (that’s a long time to be sitting on a plane) for the Latino Theatre Commons convening.

    Here’s a bit more from an article on

    The Latina/o Theatre Commons, a new national advocacy initiative, will host an historical convening of 75 Latina/o actors, directors, producers, playwrights, designers, and scholars representing all regions of the United States. They will gather to explore the history, current challenges, opportunities, and visions for Latina/o theatre-makers in the 21st century. This National Convening, to be held Oct. 31 to Nov. 2, 2013 at the Jackie Liebergott Black Box Theatre in the Emerson / Paramount Center (559 Washington St., Boston, Mass.), will be the first gathering of its kind since 1986. Over the course of the convening, those gathered will seek to advance the state of Latina/o theatre-making through sharing artistic, organizing, and institutional wisdom. Strategies will be identified to seed collaborations and strengthen the burgeoning network of Latina/o theatre artists…

    The convening will bring together veteranos alongside emerging artists, and independent as well as organizationally affiliated practitioners and scholars, representing the diversity of the Latina/o experience from across the country. Participants represent the multifaceted community, tracing their roots to many nations, some Spanish speaking and non-Spanish speaking, identifying on the queer spectrum, and embracing Native or African heritages as well. They will be champions and advocates for Latina/o work who provide insight, resources, and inspiration to in their respective regions and disciplines.

    I’m really excited to be one of the artists from several artists coming from the San Francisco Bay Area. And super excited to meet artists I’ve known for years but only online. It’s going to be an amazing experience, especially for an artist like myself who is at the beginning of her career.

    See you soon, Boston.