Name: Caridad Svich
Hometown: Philadelphia, PA
Current Town: New York City and Los Angeles
Affiliations: Repertorio Espanol Theatre, affiliated artist
Q: How do you self-identify?
Q: Tell me about Agua de Luna (psalms for the rouge).
A: Agua de Luna (psalms for the rouge) was commissioned by Matrix Theatre Company in Detroit and just premiered there (runs through 20 March 2016) under the direction of Sherrine Azab. The play is inspired by the spirit and people of southwest Detroit. It focuses on three mixed-race and cultural households struggling to survive through tough economic times. It is a play about those working part-time, service and under-the-table-paying jobs to make ends meet. It is also about love, family, resilience and faith in the myths that can and do sustain us.
Q: What else are you working on now?
A: I am usually working on several projects at once. Right now am working on a piece called de Troya, which is a companion piece to Agua de Luna. The piece has a workshop this May with Amphibian Productions in Dallas-Fort Worth. I am also adapting the prison novel Island of Lost Souls by Jose Leon Sanchez into a play that will premiere in Costa Rica this fall.
Q: What have been the defining moments of your journey as a playwright?
A: Several defining moments for sure: winning a national playwriting award at the age of 18 for my first full length play Waterfall; receiving my MFA in Playwriting at UCSD and writing my thesis play Brazo Gitano; training with Maria Irene Fornes at the INTAR HRPL for 4 consecutive years, and having Irene direct my play Any Place But Here later at Theater for the New City; winning the Rosenthal Prize for my play Alchemy of Desire/Dead-Man’s Blues and receiving my first LORT production at Cincinnati Playhouse; premiere of Iphigenia Crash Land Falls on the Neon Shell That Was Once Her Heart at 7 Stages in Atlanta; publishing my first collections as editor in the same year (2000) Out of the Fringe: Contemporary Latina/o Theatre and Performance (TCG) and Conducting a Life: Reflections on the Theatre of Maria Irene Fornes (Smith & Kraus); receiving the Radcliffe Bunting Fellowship at Harvard (2003); premiere of 12 Ophelias at McCarren Park Pool (2004); premiering The House of the Spirits (based on Isabel Allende’s novel) at Repertorio Espanol (2009) and receiving the OBIE for Lifetime Achievement (2012).
Q: Who have been your playwriting mentors and heroes?
A: Adele Edling Shank and Maria Irene Fornes were mentors. Heroes include Euripides, Shakespare, Federico Garcia Lorca, Tennessee Williams, Harold Pinter, Rinde Eckert, John Jesurun and Caryl Churchill.
Q: What advice do you have for Latin@ playwrights at the beginning of their career?
A: Stay true to your vision. Be open to invitation. Don’t brand yourself. Write and make work no matter what. There will be ups and downs in this writing life. It’s all about persistence, and riding the currents.
Q: What else should we know about you?
A: I do a lot of things in the arts – I sustain a parallel career as a translator, chiefly of the works of Federico Garcia Lorca. I wear editor hat as much as I wear my playwright’s hat. I write songs and lyrics, too. In the end, for me, it’s always about discovering what is possible in the theatre and aiming for the impossible too.
***For more on Caridad Svich, see:
- Caridad Svich’s Personal Website
- How about now? US Latina/o Theaters Sharing Resources – Caridad Svich (Café Onda/HowlRound)
- “This Thing of Hers: Caridad Svich Reflects on Her Body of Work” – Emilio Rodriguez (Café Onda/HowlRound)
- “Bloodlines/Song Lines” – Caridad Svich (HowlRound)
- “Archipelagos, Fragile Shores, and Orphan Seas: A reflection on climate change and performance” – Caridad Svich (HowlRound)
- “Your Guide to Theater Education: Caridad Svich” – David Dudley (HowlRound)
- Essays on HowlRound