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1000 Playwright Interviews The first interview I posted was on June 3, 2009.  It was Jimmy Comtois.  I decided I would start interview...

Dec 18, 2015

I Interview Playwrights Part 807: Tatiana Suarez-Pico

Tatiana Suarez-Pico

Current Town:  Los Angeles, CA and Brooklyn, NY

Q:  What are you working on now?

A:  A play about a woman who finds a dead child in a trash bag-- that's not what the play's about but it's the starting point. I'm also writing for Netflix’s TV adaption of "A Series of Unfortunate Events."

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

A:  When I was 7-years-old (3rd grade), one of our teachers took us to see a children's play-- an adaption of the myth of Icarus. There was a Greek chorus, which I thought was one of the most beautiful things I'd ever seen. Then there was Icarus with his melting wings and the Greek chorus saying everything in perfect unison. I walked out of the theater, and this is the moment I remember the most, with my head in the clouds. I wanted to be both Icarus and, I wanted to be a part of that beautiful chorus. I wanted to be the stage, the words, the costumes. I couldn't speak about how much I loved it all. I couldn’t speak at all. My head had exploded. And, I have never looked back.

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

A:  If we could just get more writers who do not identify as “white” and more writers who are women produced that would be… FAIR. I read some quote about a theater in New York, "Oh, they're producing the classics of the future," or something akin to that. My heart broke again and again and again. The theater company that they were talking about only produces writers who identify as "white." I thought, "So there will be another 140 years of theater history with writers who by and large identify the same way?" This has to be a joke. It has to be. You can’t be that exclusionary and not be doing it on purpose. You can’t be that “selective” and not know that the theater community is aware that they (the theaters) are aware of the exclusion. I would change that.

Theater-makers don’t get better at their craft if they don’t get their art on stage. That’s where the real honing of the craft happens and if so many of us are barred from more commercial theaters, from reaching wider audiences, then once again, we’re being purposely written out of history.

Q:  Who are or were your theatrical heroes?

A:  There are many. My mom is a teacher and let me tell you, she puts on a show for her students. Some of my other heroes include (not listed in any particular order): Cherrie Moraga, Lynn Nottage, Albert Camus, Lisa Kron, Rogelio Martinez, Paddy Chayefsky, Diana Son, Suzan-Lori Parks, Fernanda Coppel, Marga Gomez, Katori Hall, etc. etc. The list goes on.

Q:  What kind of theater excites you?

A:  The kind that makes you pay attention and has something to say. I enjoy works that show me different ways of looking at the world, at life. I want to lean in… I want to be smacked by the truth? I like theater experiences like that.

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

A:  You know, I can’t tell if I’m just starting out myself or if I’ve been doing this for too long. I’ve had a life as an actor as well so it all melds into one big life of creating characters.

The only advice I can think of is, you better love this theater thing. And I mean, you better love it with all your might, like if someone took it away from you, you’ll want to die. Or you’re going to be sorely disappointed.

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