Mar 10, 2010
I Interview Playwrights Part 128: Ed Cardona, Jr.
Ed Cardona, Jr.
Hometown: Meriden, Connecticut
Current Town: New York City
Q: Tell me about American Jornalero now in production at the Working Theater.
A: American Jornalero takes a humorous and poignant look at a group of day laborers waiting to be picked up for work and their collision with two rather inept citizen vigilantes fashioning themselves on the Minuteman Project, on a street corner in Queens, New York. The inspiration for the play came to me in 2006, when immigration issues where again frothing to the top of the American consciousness/conscience and was making the front pages. I dabbled with it over the years but really didn’t focus on it until last year. The play is currently running as a 1st stage production as part of the Working Theater’s 25th anniversary season. It opened last Thursday, 3/4/10 and runs through Sunday, March 14 (weekdays at 7pm, Saturday 2pm & 7pm, Sunday 3pm) at the Abingdon Theater Complex, Strelsin Theater on West 36th Street. We’ve had great houses and engaged audiences. I’m extremely proud of the play and the production. The cast is great.
Q: What else are you working on?
A: I’m currently working on a play about a female Iraqi war veteran and her battle with post-traumatic stress disorder and its affect on her marriage and friendships. I’ve been deliberately holding off on my Iraq play, wasn’t sure what to write about but I think my current inspiration, Lychee Martini (the title of the play) has been worth the wait for me.
Q: You got your MFA from Columbia. How was that?
A: I got my M.F.A. from Columbia in 2006. It was an overall positive experience. It was exactly what I need at the time, two and a half years of surrounding myself with intelligent, talented people who shared the same passion for theater. I really needed that time just to focus on my writing. I met some great collaborators through Columbia and it helped me network greatly with the theater industry. The program I believe helped me develop immensely as a playwright.
Q: Was Eduardo your professor the whole time?
A: Yes, Machado was my professor for my whole program.
Q; Tell me a story from your childhood that explains who you are as a writer or as
A: Wow…uhh, so many. But one that stands out is how I reacted toward my sister when she told me that she was pregnant at eighteen – I was fourteen. Let’s just say that I was not supportive or kind – rather vicious. I regret that moment till this day. But that moment helped me find soon after and later through reflection who I wanted to be and who I didn’t want to be; a grounding that has fueled my personal relationships, my professional endeavors, and my passion for playwriting and what I wanted to write about.
Q: What is the purpose of theater?
A: The purpose of theater is to entertain, inform, provoke, and inspire.
Q: What kind of theater excites you?
A: The theater that really excites me is theater that is willing to take on the broader issues that affects us all, and Theater that tells the stories of those who are not that often represented on the American Stage.
Q: What advice do you have for playwrights just starting out?
A: Well my bits of wisdom are:
Theater is a collaborative art form - protect your work but be open to collaboration. Nothing is too precious. A play solely on page is yet unborn. The best dramaturgy for a play is a director, actors, and an audience. Somebody once said to me something like, “Don’t be scared of the audience – they’re supposed to be scared of us.”
Q: Plugs, please: