Welcome to the May Edition of the DGF Fellows Spotlight!
Each month we feature a DGF Fellow and invite you to take a behind-the-scenes look at our program.
We’ve introduced you to Jessica Kahkoska & Elliah Heifetz; Paulo K Tiról, Andy Roninson and Kate Douglas. Over the year, we’ll be hearing from the rest of the 2019-2020 Fellows: Avi Amon, Kyoung H. Park, Melis Aker, Nikhil Mahapatra, and Nolan Doran.
Each writer is asked a series of questions to help us get to know them better, while exploring where they’ve been, what they’re up to now, and what they see for the future.
Please take your seats, unwrap your candies, and silence your cellphones as we put the spotlight on Andrew Rincón!
What was your first experience with theater?
I didn’t grow up with theatre – I didn’t come from a culture or environment where that was a thing, or an art form my family knew anything about. So for me when I think of my first experience of theater that really affected me – was a class I took when I was twenty, studying theatre at Florida State University. I took a course called Latino/a Theatre History led by an artist and Chicana scholar, Dr. Irma Mayorga. Mayorga introduced me to the idea that I could see my own culture in the art I consumed. It was a Dead Poets Society moment, the plays I read in that class (including plays by DGF mentor Migdalia Cruz) reshuffled my brain and made my soul sing. I think of that class often and I consider it my first real exposure to the power of theatre.
When did you decide to become a writer? Is there a writer, show, or piece of writing that was particularly influential on your path?
The idea of writing started to tickle my brain while I was in that Latinx Theatre class, and reading plays like 26 Miles by Quiara Hudes, Marisol by Jose Rivera, and Electricidad by Luis Alfaro really pushed that idea into my bones. I started writing then and haven’t stopped, and I really owe that to my elders and betters in the Latinx community.
How do you describe your work overall? What sets your work apart?
I know some incredible writers who lean into creating stories with intricate plots, filled with twists and turns that make an audience think and lean in. They are impressive as hell.
But I don’t do that.
My writing lives more in my gut and heart. I’m passionate about writing characters first and foremost, so I focus on writing stories centered on people who laugh hard, scream and fuck. I’m interested in writing complex characters that live in Queer theatrical worlds and show us the beauty and heartbreak of life. As the elder María Irene Fornés said – theatre is life, life is theatre. I write life as I see it – joyous, annoying, fucked up, laughable life.
Can you tell us a little bit about the work you’ve been developing as a Fellow?
The work is a new piece called I’ll meet you outside the airport, ok? It’s about a Colombian American family in Miami, FL who produce a local access Spanish language telenovela. I’m still fussing with my goals for the piece and the things I want to talk about in it (racism, Latinx representation in entertainment, the joy and pain of immigrant families) are shifting and changing as I work. At the end of the day, I want the piece to be a love letter to Latinidad.
What do you find most rewarding about your work as a writer?
So many things. But I don’t think anything, and I mean ANYTHING comes close to the emotion I feel when a Latinx person thanks me for writing Latinx characters that are more than just stereotypes. It warms my already bleeding Latino ass heart!
Andrew Rincón is a Queer Colombian-American playwright. His plays have been developed with Rising Circle Theatre, Amios, Austin Latino New Play Festival, PFP Productions (Seattle), Out Front Productions (Atlanta) and The 24 Hour Plays. He was a member of Wright Club, The Amoralist’s Theatre Company’s yearlong playwright development program (’15-’16). He was a member of INKtank Lab for Playwrights of Color (2017) and the 2017 Fornés Playwriting Workshop (Chicago). He is the winner of the 2018 Chesley/Bumbalo Grant for writers of Gay and Lesbian Theatre. Company member of Unit 52 at INTAR. Plays include You Got That Same Kind of Lonely and That Rhythm in the Blood and I’ll meet you outside the airport, ok?
His play I Wanna Fuck like Romeo and Juliet is the winner of New Light Theatre Project’s “New Light New Voices Award” (2019) and will receive its New York stage premiere in their 19/20 season.