Name: Krysta Gonzales
Hometown: El Paso & North Dallas
Current Town: Austin
Affiliations: The Generic Ensemble Company (GenEnCo), VORTEX Repertory Company, Teatro Vivo, and NYU-Tisch School of the Arts-Experimental Theatre Wing graduate
Q: How do you self-identify?
A: I identify as Black & Latina. Sometimes I like to mix it up with Chicana and Tejana too. Ethnically Indeterminate is also a pretty apt term I use, taken from a poem by Elena Georgiou.
Q: Tell me about Más Cara.
A: It’s a text and movement conjuring of Latina archetypes and the women who embody them— past, present, and future. There are archetypes/stereotypes that are often placed upon Latinas (i.e. La Virgen, La Llorona, hot tempered, sexy, etc.) and I wanted to know what happens if the images we think we understand are, in fact, more complicated and more human than we thought? And then what happens if those “images” not only talk to us, but each other too? It’s part of this year’s Austin Latino New Play Festival produced by Teatro Vivo and Scriptworks. I’m really looking forward to the reading on February 26th, 2016, and getting to hear the work of the other playwrights too.
Q: What else are you working on now?
A: I know I’ll continue to work and rework Más Cara, but I’ve recently been cast in two plays, so I’ll be focusing on rehearsing and performing. [But you know us writers, we can’t completely tear ourselves away from the paper and pencil…and some of us really can’t resist a terrible pun.]
Q: What have been the defining moments of your journey as a playwright?
A: Much of my journey has been characterized by family, teachers, and collaborators saying, “Krysta, you’re a writer!” and my responding with, “Nope! No. I’m not.” I denied it vehemently until I was about 19 years old. Taniya Hossain was my writing instructor during freshman year of college and in addition to challenging me, she made herself available for all my questions and frustrations. I think she was the final piece to helping me see myself as a writer.
Q: Who have been your playwriting mentors and heroes?
A: A few of the writers I look up to are: Nadia Davids, Tanya Saracho, Stephen Adly Guirgis, María Irene Fornés, Young Jean Lee, and I know they’re not playwrights, but I’m here for Michele Serros, Octavia Butler and Junot Díaz. I also want to say that having talented women like Adrienne Dawes and Jelisa Jay Robinson nearby keeps me motivated and inspired.
Q: What advice do you have for Latin@ playwrights at the beginning of their career?
A: 1/ Nobody knows your story like you do. Nobody. 2/ Do the morning pages from Julia Cameron’s The Artist’s Way—I mean, do the entire thing if you can, but morning pages are gold. kt shorb, the Producing Artistic Director of GenEnCo, gifted the book to me when I was going through a rough time and a lot of the concepts really came in handy while I was writing Robin Hood: An Elegy for the company. 3/ It’s easier said than done, but more than half the struggle is putting the pencil to the paper and trusting. If trust is too hard right now, know that page is the one place where you can always go back and use your eraser.
Q: What else should we know about you?
A: I’ll always think of myself as a performer as much as a writer. Dance and movement are also critical parts of my life and the work I make. If you ask me to dance, I’ll say yes [for at least the first time.]
***For more on Krysta Gonzales, see:
- “Afrolatin@ Theatre Series: Interview with Playwright and Actress Krysta Gonzales” – Jelisa Jay Robinson (Café Onda/HowlRound)
- Twitter: @krystaforreal
- Instagram: @krystaforreal
- “Getting Political With The Tree Play and Robin Hood: An Elegy” – Robert Faires (Austin Chronicle)
- Generic Ensemble Company’s Robin Hood: An Elegy by Krysta Gonzales