Tuesday, June 11, 2013

I Interview Playwrights Part 589: Migdalia Cruz


Migdalia Cruz


Hometown: Bronx, NY

Current Town: Irvington, NY

Q:  What are you working on now?

A:  I'm working on three new projects: TWO ROBERTS: a pirate-blues project, loosely based one the lives of Roberto Cofresî—a Puerto Rican pirate from the 1820s, and Robert Johnson—the Delta blues master of the 1930s, and the tale of each man selling his soul to the Devil; A new play based on Chekhov's THREE SISTERS, entitled TO DIE IN MOSCOW, more about how and why it was written than about the actual play; & lastly a re-imagining of Petronius' Satyricon of 69a.d. and Fellini's 1968 film adaptation, about the fall of 21st C. America as it relates to the fall of Rome using the politicized reggaeton/rap/hip-hop of groups like Calle 13 and the movie music of Nino Rota, entitled SATYRICOÑO.

Q:  Tell me, if you will, a story from your childhood that explains who you are as a writer or as a person.

A:  In 1963 when President John F. Kennedy was assassinated, I was in kindergarten. I remember running home after it was announced over the loudspeaker that our President had been shot— to tell my father that I knew who the killer was—"Pop, it was Johnson! He took his job and now he's the President." It was my first journey into the dark waters of conspiracy theory and the human psyche. And murder.

I thought it was the end of the world. How could the most important person in the country be murdered? I thought that only happened in my neighborhood in the Tremont section of the Bronx. I am still in mourning...


Q:  If you could change one thing about theater, what would it be?

A:  Move it from the middle of the safety zone smack into the middle of oncoming traffic—
that is, I would like theater to take more risks—be less safe.

Q:  Who are or were your theatrical heroes?

A:  Maria Irene Fornés, my mentor and the greatest living playwright.
Samuel Beckett, the world's greatest curmudgeon playwright
Robert LePage, an amazing re-imagineer of theater

Q:  What kind of theater excites you?

A: Brave, inventive work that dares to make the ugly beautiful.

Q: What advice do you have for playwrights just starting out?

A: Be true to your voice, don't listen to too many people, and allow your morality to guide your business choices.

And always be present for your first production of a play and keep writing until that play opens.

Don't be lazy or passive when it comes to Art.

Q:  Plugs, please:

A:  I am one of the judges for Pregones LBGT Asunción Festival of New Plays in June 2013.
I'm at the Goodman Theater's Festival Latino in collaboration with the Lark's Translation Project sponsored by the 16th Street Theatre with my translation of Gibran Portela's ALASKA, July 11-15, 2013.

I'll be teaching at the ATHE Conference in Orlando, FL, August 2013.

EL GRITO DEL BRONX will be performed at Brown University, Providence, RI, directed by Ken Prestininzi, Spring 2014.


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