Alvaro Saar Rios

Name: Alvaro Saar RioHeadshot Alvaro Saar Rios

Hometown:  Houston, TX

Current Town: Milwaukee, WI

Affiliations: The Royal Mexican Players, University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, Nuestra Palabra: Latino Writers Having Their Say

Q: How do you self-identify?

A: Most days I identify as brown. On other days, I’m Mexican-American.

Q: Tell me about Luchadora!

A: After discovering her grandmother was a masked wrestler, a Latina Wisconsin teen begs to hear the story.  As the grandmother shares her tale about growing up in 1960’s Texas, her life as a teen tomboy comes alive–bike riding, running her father’s flower stand and lucha libre.  The play is inspired by the Chinese folktale “Hua Mulan.”  You can get a copy of the play through Dramatic Publishing.

Q: What else are you working on now?

A: I’m working on a play called Blue Bullets.  It’s set in a neighborhood bakery in Houston in the late 70’s.  It follows a bakery owner who ignores the needs of her community until a close friend becomes a victim of police brutality.  I’m also working on docu-drama called This is Washington Park.  This is Milwaukee.  The play is being created from oral histories collected from Milwaukee’s Washington Park neighborhood.

Q: What have been the defining moments of your journey as a playwright?

A: When I was an undergrad at Houston Community College, a faculty member asked me to write a play for the school.  If I agreed, I would be paid a grand sum of $250.  I said “yes” even though I had never written a play.  I still remember the rewrites, false starts, and abandoned scenes. Just the experience of creating something that would be seen by my fellow students and teachers had a big effect on me.  From that moment, I knew this is what I wanted to do for a long long time.

Q: Who have been your playwriting mentors and heroes?

A: In graduate school, Rebecca Gilman had a big impact on my writing.  One time she told me, “Don’t be afraid to leave things messy.”  That advice continues to guide my work.  As for my playwriting heroes, I have tons.  August Wilson.  Lanford Wilson.  Rebecca Gilman. José Rivera.  Tanya Saracho.  Laura Eason.  Marco Ramirez.

Q: What advice do you have for Latin@ playwrights at the beginning of their career?

A: #1. Your play matters as much as any play written by those playwrights we consider as great.  Don’t let anyone tell you different.  #2. After you finish writing a play, take all the creativity energy you have and start writing another one.  You won’t regret it.

Q: What else should we know about you?

A: From time to time, I write radio essays about playwriting for Milwaukee Public Radio.  You can find them here.

***For more on Alvaro Saar Rios, see:

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3 Responses to Alvaro Saar Rios

  1. I loved Luchadora! Saw it at the Dallas Children’s Theater not too long ago. Looking forward to seeing more of your work, Alvaro!


  2. Pingback: 31 Pieces of Advice for Emerging Playwrights – #TeatroLatinegro

  3. Just saw your play, Lucadoro, at the Univ. of Houston November 19th. Excellent story with a terrific message for all. Laughed and enjoyed this clever presentation.


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