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Location: San Francisco
Interests: Poetry, theatre, film, yoga
American Triage :
Play commissioned by Marin Theatre Company 2006; 2007 MTC Nu Werkz series; 2008 MTC workshop production; 2011 East L.A. Rep staged reading.
Braided Sorrow :
2005 Bay Area Playwrights Festival; 2006 Ford Amphitheatre Latina/o Summer Play Reading Series; 2006 Chicano/Latino Literary Prize in Drama; September 2008, world premiere, El Centro Su Teatro, Denver, CO; 2009 Pen Center USA Literary Award for Drama.
Heart Shaped Nebula:
2011 Playwrights Foundation Resident Playwrights Showcase staged reading; 2011 Impact Theatre staged reading; 2012 O'Neill National Playwrights Conference Semi-Finalist.
Woman on Fire
2006 Primer Pasos; 2007 full-length commission by the Latino Playwrights Initiative; 2007 Bay Area Playwrights Festival BASH; 2008 Playwrights Foundation’s Rough reading series; 2012 Teatro Luna’s Lunadas reading series.
Occupation: Playwright, Poet
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Website: visit my website
|House of Cards|
Amazing what a slight breeze can do. How an unexpected addition makes you feel like the third wheel. How you can go from feeling focused and having a handle on things to feeling beleaguered, sick to your stomach and crying your eyes out. How the Universe can tell you NO, do not pass go, do not collect $200 this is not for you--Shut it down! How all that bravery you summoned to take a risk--one you've never taken but finally wanted to take because it was worth it all--suddenly evaporates when you realize you won't get the chance to say what you wanted to say, that the stars are so far out of alignment it isn't even funny.
Thank you, Marilet for reminding me that my story still has more to be written. That giving up is not an option.
|AlterLab: This is Not the End|
“There is no real ending. It’s just the place where you stop the story.”
-- Frank Herbert
Last night was AlterLab's official final meeting. I and the three other playwrights participating met with AlterTheater's Jeanette Harrison who's been running AlterLab to discuss our experience, what we feel we accomplished and what we hoped to do next with our respective plays.
Sitting around Ann Brebner's table eating strawberries, cherries and this delicious upside down blueberry polenta cake (I'm going to get Ann's recipe) we each expressed how the lab had been a gift to our writing lives, providing us with support, encouragement and the challenge to finish a production-ready script in a short amount of time (for me at least it was a much shorter time than I'm used to finishing a play and I'm very glad I managed to do it).
We also spent time talking through challenges that some of the playwrights were still encountering, helping to unearth possible solutions or just rather a different way to approach the problem a writer was facing.
And it was during this last session that I realized the magic of our little group. Four playwrights deeply invested in one another. In each other's work.
I've loved laughing out loud during readings of Ignacio's The Fellowship (yes, it's a riff on the Tolkien classic) and marveled at his knack for structuring comedy (he makes it look easy); I've enjoyed the excitement of coming across an article or a movie that made me think of Ann's play and I'd immediately send her a link via our group's Facebook page; and I've identified with Rebecca as she intuitively writes her first play (something I did) that takes on structure and a larger-than-life story--and I'll say the result is very exciting to me.
AlterLab was exactly what I needed as a playwright. It grounded me as I entered my 6th year as a playwright. And even though the residency is finishing this isn't the end. Each of us will continue to develop our plays.
Thank you, AlterTheater. Thank you for bringing us together and for believing in our work. I can't wait to see what we all do next.
| Tonight: Final AlterLab Workshop|
Tonight I'll leave work just a little before 5pm in order to catch the express Golden Gate Transit bus to San Rafael (I only learned about the express buses and I wish I had learned sooner) for AlterTheater's final AlterLab workshop of the season.
We'll once again convene at Ann Brebner's beautiful home. Side note: Ann has had a long career in both theatre and film. My favorite Ann story is when she told us about reading the first draft of a script at the request of the screenwriter. The script was for a little sci fi movie. You may have heard of it, it's called Star Wars. I'll wait as you pick up your jaw off the floor.
We've all submitted the latest draft of the plays we've been working on and tonight we gather to talk about how the residency worked for us. I myself have enjoyed the challenge of this residency: having to write a first draft in a month (with my 9 to 5 job I find it slows down my writing) and trying to get a production-ready draft by the end of the residency completed.
During my residency I've written The River Bride, a fairy tale inspired by Amazonian folklore. Of all my plays it feels the most poetic. I didn't set out to do that. I just found that that's the way the characters wanted to express themselves and I just let them do it. Granted I was kind of taken aback by how "formal" they sounded to my ear, but I decided to not fight it.
I came across this photo by Toni Frissell early during the development for The River Bride. It's the image I have on the first page of the play's script.
The River Bride is part of a cycle or informal trilogy of fairy tale plays I'm working on. And it's been truly helpful to have the support of the AlterLab residency as I worked on this play--hearing it read aloud by actors, talking over scenes with my fellow playwrights.
And it's been a pleasure to hear what my fellow playwrights Ann, Rebecca and Ignacio have been working on. Truly a pleasure.
p.s. I should really wait for the coffee to kick in before writing. Grammar much?
|Transit of Venus|
While not something easily observed on one's own, the transit of Venus yesterday was still thrilling when you think that it won't occur again for another hundred years or so.
My coworker and I went to a rooftop garden/open space to try and view it on our own. But we weren't sure if we were actually seeing it or if our eyes were playing tricks on us.
When we returned to our office I found a live feed of a webcast hosted by NASA sporting several telescope views of the transit and lots of additional programming: historical information, Q&A time with scientists and plenty of humor (perhaps due to the lower O2 levels, wink wink). I watched the webcast until Venus left the sun's disk.
Here are some of my favorite images of the transit.
I think this photo one came from the International Space Station.
A National Geographic photo taken in Florida.
Artistic rendering by Karl Tate. While not an actual photo per se, I love this.
|Heart Shaped Eureka Moment|
Sometimes I think our thoughts swim in our heads with their own currents and tides. And that when a realization or revelation rises to the surface or arrives on our cerebral shore like mental flotsam and jetsam there is no guarantee it'll be there for long. The surf may take it out again.
This often happens to me at night when I'm drifting off to sleep and the thoughts that usually are at the forefront begin to tuck themselves into the folds of my brain. That is, new ideas float to the surface as I begin to drift to sleep. And these ideas or moments of clarity rarely stick around until the morning.
This is the moment when I pull the covers off me and head to my laptop, even sans glasses, to write a few lines. Sometimes it's a character speaking, sometimes it's an idea on how to proceed with a problem I've been thinking about.
Last night it was a solution. A solution that I realized allows me to submit to Aurora's Global Age Project.
You see, the purpose of the Global Age Project is that the plays address life in the 21st century. That doesn't mean it has to be a play about technology, but for me it has meant I've submitted my first three plays in the past few years which all deal with social justice issues.
Since my latest plays aren't social justice plays I was trying to figure out if I could submit this year. Specifically if I could submit Heart Shaped Nebula and I wondered how a love story addresses life in the 21st century. And last night as I felt sleep creeping in I was thinking about how man continually asks questions about the nature of Love because to know Love is know who we are. That love stories provide a snapshot in time of the very nature of man. So even as technology and science continue to make innovations and discoveries, Love remains a nebulous territory we'll continue to mine as we continue to ask who we are.
Wouldn't that be interesting? A survey course of plays about Love to explore how the idea of it has changed over the centuries, how man has changed over the centuries.