Name: Dolores Díaz
Hometown: Laredo, TX
Current Town: Chicago, IL
Q: How do you self-identify?
A: I’m a Tejana de la frontera
Q: Tell me about Man of the People.
A: My latest, Man of the People, will world premiere October 2018 with Three Cat Productions in Chicago, IL. It’s inspired by the true story of a medical charlatan, John Romulus Brinkley, and the man who opposed him, Dr. Morris Fishbein, lead editor of the Journal of the American Medical Association. Brinkley rose to notoriety selling a sham cure for male impotency in the 1920s and riding a wave of rejuvenation that swept the country. He was further bolstered to fame through his uncanny knack for radio. The play explores what Charlatan author Pope Brock describes as, “that perverse seam in the American mind” that not only tolerates hucksters, but embraces them.”
Q: What else are you working on now?
A: I’m working on final changes to Appreciation Day, a short inspired by a puff piece in a local newspaper about a senior living community that partnered with a preschool to honor police officers for National Law Enforcement Appreciation Day. I began to imagine what it must feel like to be an elder of color living in the senior community and wanted to explore the story from their side. I’m also working on a play called The Wheel. The whole play is three people trying to take down a statue.
Q: What have been the defining moments of your journey as a playwright?
A: Watching Martin McDonough’s The Pillowman in 2004 in the Cottesloe Theater (now renamed Dorfman) at The National in London made me want to be a playwright. I really wasn’t exposed to theatre before that and it was a revelation that theatre could be contemporary and engaging – I instantly wanted to be involved. Also, watching John Leguizamo’s HBO special, Freak, is the first time I remember seeing a Latinx story on stage; it showed me how amazing and powerful Latinx theatre can be.
Q: Who have been your playwriting mentors and heroes?
A: John Leguizamo, Martin McDonough, Maria Irene Fornés, Conor McPherson, Will Eno, Mickle Maher, Stephen Adly Guirgis, Annie Baker, Lorraine Hansberry, Suzan-Lori Parks, Edward Albee, Arthur Miller, Rupert Reyes, Samuel Beckett, Luis Valdez, Yadira De La Riva, Tanya Saracho, Kirk Lynn.
Q: What advice do you have for Latin@ playwrights at the beginning of their career?
A: Don’t worry, don’t self-censor, just produce. You’ll figure it out.
Q: What else should we know about you?
A: I’m also an editor.
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