Tori and Mabelle talk with playwright, director, and educator, Ramón Esquivel, about his path into theater through teaching, including the development of his first play at 30 years old. Other topics include Ramón’s quest to introduce young people to all aspects of theater, his revision strategy, key ways that theaters can uplift local playwrights, and practical tips he shares with his students.
Writing prompt (courtesy of Ramón Esquivel)
Revision Prompt: This is a set of metaphors that Ramón finds very helpful when talking about stories and helping to revise: Ropes, Strings and Threads. The Ropes of your play are the main things–central character, antagonist, pivotal character, conflict. Strings are the secondary things–supporting characters, setting, and plot. Threads would be the personality traits, the lines, and the humor, things like that. When you write your first draft, just get it done. Sometimes you may find that a secondary character is the more interesting character. Take the rope of the really interesting character and tell the story through that character. Then your original protagonist just dissipates into the ether. Once you have the first draft, you can say, “what are my Ropes? Can I tie some of these Ropes together? What if the characters are siblings? What if they are romantically linked? What if they are best friends?” Then look at the String level. What is your setting? Is that really the most interesting place? Then look at Threads. If one of your characters likes to make jokes, maybe it is a defense mechanism for them. How could you turn that Thread of humor into a tactic that the person uses to persuade somebody or attack somebody? The revision process is about what Ropes can you tie together, what Strings can you combine, what thread will add an interesting color to that rope? Revising is really about starting with what you already have.
Connect with Ramón:
Ramón Esquivel is a playwright, director, and educator. His plays include ¡O Cascadia!, The Hero Twins: Blood Race, Luna, The Shahrazad Society, Nasty, Nocturnal, and Dulce. His work is featured in the anthologies, Palabras del Cielo: An Exploration of Latina/o Theatre for Young Audiences, Volumes 1-2. Ramón is Assistant Professor of Theatre at Cal Poly State University, San Luis Obispo.
How to make Suntea: https://www.simplyrecipes.com/recipes/sun_tea/
The hard to kill pothos plant!: https://www.almanac.com/plant/pothos
Join us for Mabelle Reynoso’s “Remember That Time”: Check out http://www.playwrightsproject.org/productions/community/ in the upcoming weeks for more details! Community performances will be October 20-21!
Check out Ramón’s play, “The Hummingbird’s Wedding” and Mabelle and Alvaro Saar Rios’ co-authored play, “Like a Jet-fueled Mariposa” and at La Vida es Cortos festival in Houston!: https://www.teatrx.org/events
Check out Launchpad at UC Santa Barbara!: https://launchpad.theaterdance.ucsb.edu/
Here’s the list of the TYA BIPOC Superhero Project playwrights: https://www.americantheatre.org/2022/11/23/tya-bipoc-superhero-project-to-commission-new-work-from-20-writers/