Monica Palacios

Name: Monica Palaciosheadshot-monica-palacios

Hometown: San Jose, CA

Current Town: Venice Beach, CA

Affiliations: I’m an independent artist floating in the universe.

Q: How do you self-identify?

A: Queer Chicana Writer/Performer, International Hip Chick.

Q: Tell me about Say Their Names.

A: Say Their Names is my memorial to the 49 people who were shot and killed at the Pulse Nightclub in Orlando, FL June 12, 2016. Say Their Names is currently being presented by “After Orlando,” an evening of over 50 short plays in response to the Pulse Nightclub shooting that is traveling throughout the U.S and the United Kingdom. After Orlando is curated by Mission Bolts Productions and NoPassport Theatre Alliance & Press.

Q: What else are you working on now?

A: I’m putting the finishing touches on: I Kissed Chavela Vargas, featuring a vibrant 71 year old, Rosa, who is a former cabaret performer struggling with adjusting to retirement as her over cautious daughter, Petra, constantly tells her to take it easy and take her meds.

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

A: Being selected as a Playwriting Fellow by the Latino Theatre Initiative, from the Mark Taper Forum, Los Angeles. A dynamic master playwriting workshop with Irene Fornes. An incredible master playwriting workshop with Paula Vogel. The A.S.K. Theater Project had a super successful reading of my play Clock at the Skirball Center–the house was packed with Latinx people who rarely go to this part of town, West LA. About a month later I was on the campus of UCLA and a Chicana came up to me and asked when she could see Clock in full production because she truly enjoyed the reading and found the work inspirational and funny.

Most recently, Summer 2016, being selected to be part of the first Irene Fornes Playwriting Workshop by the Institute of Latino Studies, University of Notre Dame and having Migdalia Cruz as the master playwright. Meeting Migdalia, being her student and getting feedback and support from her and from all the other playwrights—life changing.

Q: Who have been your playwriting mentors and heroes?

A: Jorge Huerta, Luis Alfaro, Paula Vogel, Irene Fornes, Migdalia Cruz, Marga Gomez, Vasanti Saxena, my adorable family and their colorful lives for being the inspiration for many of my plays.

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

A: Write as if your life depended on it. Apply for and submit your plays to everything that doesn’t have an application fee. Hang out with other people like you for support, inspiration and so you can bitch together. And most importantly—have fun.

Q: What else should we know about you?

A: I’m a vegetarian, I share a birthdate with Che Guevara, I’m grateful for living next to the Pacific Ocean and I’m always looking for artists to connect with who share my vision: creating material for queer raza.

***For more on Monica Palacios, see:

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