Sunday, July 10, 2016

I Interview Playwrights Part 859: Paola Lázaro




Paola Lázaro

Hometown: San Juan, Puerto Rico

Current Town: New York Crispy City

Q: Tell me about your show coming to Atlantic.

A: First let me just say: Thank you to the Atlantic Theater and The Tow Foundation for making this crazy shit happen. I'm forever grateful.
The play is called "Tell Hector I Miss Him" and it's a 12 character beast with tentacles and algae and graffiti and a slight cocaine addiction. It follows the life of 12 people in a slum in Old San Juan.
Here's a little blurb:
"You're in Puerto Rico. Old San Juan. You're a tourist, you walk down the stairs of this beautiful old fort built by the Spaniards. When you reach the bottom, you realize you're in the hole, a slum. Welcome to La Perla, the barrio and the underbelly that lies under the tourism and behind the fort walls. You spend some days there, you don't want to leave. Oh no, you're addicted to the beauty, the women and the drugs."

Q: What else are you working on now?

A: I'm working on a new play called "There's Always the Hudson" and it's about uh, two fucked up people who try and get revenge from the fucked up people that fucked them over.

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

A: Back in PR, 3rd grade. My best friend, beautiful, sweet, everyone loved her and looked up to her. Recess ends, bell rings, if you're late you get in trouble. I start running to the classroom, but I see my buddy sitting on the floor, not moving. That's weird. She's mad responsible, some shit ain't right. So I say, shit, let me go check on her. I go over and I say "Tiny, the bell rang." And she says: "Yes". I say "well, let's go" and she says "I can't" and I say " ¿Qué pasó? and she says "Acércate, come closer" and I do. And she whispers in my ear "Me cagué (I shat myself)" and I say "Right here?" And she says "Right here" and she's sitting Indian style on the floor in her uniform too hot for the caribbean weather. And the kids are still running around trying to get to class. And she says "Go to class, don't be late, tu mamá gets mad" And I look around at the kids hustling and I look at her and I sit on the floor next to her, Indian style, and I say: "No te preocupes por mi
​ni mami ​(Don't worry about me or my mom)". She's crying now. I say: "Tengo un plan. We're gonna sit here until everyone gets into class and then we slowly, hidden,
​chillingly, ​without any kids or teachers knowing, we're gonna walk to the bathroom and I'll walk behind you so nobody sees the poop and then we clean you and then no poop"
Basically, I'll stay and sit next to you when you shit yourself and I'll make sure no one makes fun of you or fucks with you. Then. I'll make sure you're clean so you can go on with the rest of your day.

Q: Who are or were your theatrical heroes?

A: René Marqués
Miguel Piñero
Hector Lavoe (Salsa singer)
Raúl Juliá
Cheo Feliciano (Singer)
Danny Rivera (Singer)
Chuck Mee
José José (Singer)
Stephen Adly Guirgis
Kelly Stuart
Tony Kushner
Laurie Anderson
Woody Allen (his 70's shit)
​My father​ and mother and grandma
and more....​

Q: What kind of theater excites you?

A: Honest, transparent shit. I get enough bullshit on a day to day basis. I wanna see and hear people say the shit they can't say in life.

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

A: Write. Don't let the editor come into the room before they have to. The editor doesn't know shit about creating. The editor has no clue about it. Write. Don't judge it yet. There will be time for editing later. Trust. Don't fuck with the editor before you have to.

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