31 May, 2008

"Surviving Hegemony: Manifesto for a Theatre of Viscera"

The Latino American Experience:

"My work has on occasion even provoked rage. At a reading of one of my works the actors (all Latinas) were clearly having a wonderful time. When it came time for feedback, one of the actors referred to me as an “actor’s playwright.” When I asked what she meant, she responded: “Your writing trusts our intelligence and you don’t stereotype us.”

A director in the room, who had ostentatiously gotten up from his seat several times throughout the reading to adjust the air conditioner, admonished me through gritted teeth: “You need to learn Aristotelian play structure: blah, blah, blah, your play has no arc.” I corrected him. “I do know the Eurocentric rules of playwriting. I made a mental note: (Act One, Protasis, Act Two Epitasis, Act Three, the Catastrophe: exposition, complication, resolution and blah, blah, blah you left out Kissmyassis).” That was the slow motion mind movie that preceded my verbal response: “I find that one arc, like one orgasm, is not enough for me. It is my intention to take the audience on a ride. My plays are meant to be experiential, to elicit a visceral response not an intellectual one.”

The actors, who unlike this King of His Own Legend understood the historical and cultural context of the play, laughed and clapped, as this Mr. Man with more clout, access, and privilege than any of us in the room, was rendered speechless and Twizzler red. He had decided that if I didn’t play by the rules of the Great White Way (and I don’t mean just Broadway) that I was somehow deficient in craft and inept in discourse. I offered him a Hershey Bar as a peace offering and we moved on."

Article in full

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