Name: Alexis Scheer
Hometown: Miami, FL.
Current Town: Boston, MA.
Producing Artistic Director, Off the Grid Theatre.
MFA candidate, Boston University.
Alum, Boston Conservatory.
Q: How do you self-identify?
A: Colombian-American Jew. My mom is Colombian (una paisa). My dad descended from the shtetls of Eastern Europe. This intersectionality is delicious (guava hamentashen—you’re welcome), but mostly confusing. I could write a book about it … but I write plays instead.
Q: Tell me about Our Dear Dead Drug Lord.
A: Our Dear Dead Drug Lord dares you to dive into a world of millennial brujeria with a gang of viciously vulnerable girls who try to resurrect the spirit of Pablo Escobar. Think Mean Girls meets Narcos.
My mom is [understandably] horrified that I wrote this play. I, too, hold my breath and break a sweat every time I hear it in workshops. Sometimes I wonder if plays are like children—loud and constantly flirting with trouble—trying desperately to articulate their experience of the world with only the words you taught them.
Q: What else are you working on now?
A: Wynwood, a comedy about a mother and daughter in Miami during the madness of Art Basel, opening next season at Boston Playwrights’ Theatre!
Chosen, a quick-witted solo piece following a young woman on a Taglit-Birthright Israel trip.
Q: What have been the defining moments of your journey as a playwright?
A: #TeamGradSchool! My time at BU has both focused and freed my voice. It’s been defining in the truest sense of the word, because it’s given me the confidence to call myself a playwright and mean it.
Sitting in the basement of Mix in Ashland with Amrita Ramanan (an incredible champion), over-caffeinated and over-stimulated, trying to process the experience of hearing Our Dear Dead Drug Lord read for the first time (by the incredible company members of OSF no less). I remember being overwhelmed by the feeling that this was the beginning of something, and that there was now a room full of people who know me as a playwright (instead of an actor or producer first).
And the quieter moments—audience members pitched forward in their seats, actors viciously turning the page to find out what happens next, and a message I got from someone who had just read my work that said, “This play makes me feel seen. Thank you.”
Q: Who have been your playwriting mentors and heroes?
A: Melinda Lopez is a rockstar. I’m grateful to be in her orbit. Kate Snodgrass and Elena Maria Garcia are also incredible pillars of support in my life. The only time I’ve ever been truly starstruck was briefly meeting José Rivera. And I’m constantly returning to the words of Paula Vogel and Sarah Kane.
Q: What advice do you have for Latin@ playwrights at the beginning of their career?
A: Follow your curiosity. Find your people. Listen to actors. Drink water. Ponte un suéter.
Q: What else should we know about you?
A: Capricorn. Ravenclaw. Musical Theatre nerd.
***For more on Alexis Scheer, see:
- Alexis Scheer’s Personal Website
- “Getting Weird With Artistic Director of Off the Grid, Alexis Scheer” – Victor Legrá (Huffington Post)
- Follow Alexis Scheer on Instagram
- Follow Alexis Scheer on Twitter