A conversation with Mónica Sánchez
We sat down with playwright Mónica Sánchez to discuss her play Los Dreamers and more. We are thrilled to have her for the inaugural INGENIO.
Tell us about Los Dreamers.
I was pitching ideas for characters to be part of a pilot based in Albuquerque. I wanted to give visibility to ‘the invisible’. I conjured “Scoobi-the-Dreamer”.
Well, my pitch didn’t make the cut, but once Scoobi emerged, she would not retreat, she would not, could not, go back into the tube. I started the first scene of Los Dreamers Scoobi and her mother, Petra, on the heels of Scoobie’s marriage of (in)convenience to Dylan, her ticket to citizenship.
As the world developed, I thought I was writing ‘theatre of the absurd’ but as it turns out, the true absurdity of it all (especially to those who know me) is that the play materialized as a romantic comedy. Go figure.
The first act wrote itself out; dialogue and action extinguished. And then next words appeared: “Part II: Chiapas 1993”.
I had no idea why or how, but (after a respectable amount of resistance) I surrendered to the wisdom of the subconscious, and began to find the emotional, historical and stylistic links between the past and the present of this play’s world. I have to give credit to el Subcomandante Marcos, from whom I included many a comunique in this section of the play.
The issues present in this play are far too complex to justly illuminate in 90 pages. I’m not writing about issues. I’m trying to reveal a story. I’m exploring causes and effects in relationships and circumstances all the while striving for the theatrical…it is a play after all!
Are you working on anything else now?
Also in September, I’ll be workshopping my play, RUBI X, at the University of Texas, San Marcos as part of the 2017 Black and Latino Playwrights’ Conference. RUBI X is a this-should-never-happen-but-it-happens-all-the-time coming of age story. It’s set in nineteen seventy-funk; sex, drugs and disco. Fifteen year-old Rubi, precocious beyond her years. She navigates the frijolito pinto Rio Grande waters of love, friendship, sex and neglect, on a journey upstream, towards the possibility of innocence.
I’m currently in my 3rd year of my MFA in Dramatic Writing at the University of New Mexico and about to embark on my thesis script to be produced in the Spring of 2018. I have many anvils, curling irons, and chicharones in the proverbial fires, including Belle Run, an examination/meditation on death, depression and suicide.
Who have been your playwriting mentors and heroes?
While I have considered myself a ‘theatre maker’ for many moons now, (mostly as an actor) this business of script-writing is relatively new to me. I have too many years and am constantly too overwhelmed with the world to narrow down my mentors and heroes.
I guess I would say, that in the true oral and apprenticeship tradition of the theatre: every writer, designer, actor and director I’ve ever worked with.
Why is theatre important today?
I believe our left-brain, technology-fed culture prevails to the detriment of our capacity for feeling, especially for compassion.
The Theatre is a living breathing entity that requires presence, in whatever way we participate—as creators or as audience.
I’m see young people ‘discovering’ the typewriter’; I see a ‘trend’ in the renacimiento of ‘roots music,’ be it Americana, Son Jarocho, or Cuban Son. All to say it signals to me that there is a desire, if not a need to “pull back the curtain” to reconnect in a more direct, tactile way; to renegotiate our relationship with time and with each other.
Theatre, at its best translates our seemingly monolithic oppressions, struggles, issues, into the stories, words and images that allow us to digest and metabolize the world, (that at times is “too much with us”) so that we may find a morsel of solace or meaning or communion—that reminds us that we are not alone, in our pain or our joy.
What do you do outside of theatre?
Bad puns and good wine. Oh wait, I do that inside of the theatre too…
Concert-style reading followed by a feedback session
Sunday, September 10, 2017 at 2:00 PM
Read more about Los Dreamers and the other INGENIO Play Fest selections, performing September 8–10, 2017 at Milagro.