Exclusive Interview with playwright and screenwriter José Rivera

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The Goodman Theatre has how long does cialis last announced the full lineup for its 10th annual New Stages Festival celebrating Latina/o playwrights and José Rivera, Boricua playwright and screenwriter, is a part of it. Rivera spoke to me regarding his play “Another Word for Beauty” inspired by an annual beauty pageant at the Buen Pastor women’s prison in Bogotá, Colombia and the hardships under which these women live.


José Rivera is the first Puerto Rican to be nominated for an Academy Award for best screenplay and I was thrilled at the opportunity to speak with him. Rivera is a well-seasoned playwright and screenwriter and multi-award recipient. Some of his work includes the screenplay for the film “Motorcycle Diaries” released in 2004, and the plays “The House of Roman Iglesias,” “Cloud Tectonics,”

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“The Street of the Sun,” “Sonnets for an Old century,” “Sueño,” “Giants Have Us in Their Books,” “References to Salvador Dali Make Me Hot” and “Adoration of the Old Woman.” He was born in San Juan, Puerto Rico in the mid-1950s and later moved to Long Island, N.Y.

Rivera and I had a chance to chat about his development as pharmacy in canada a professional writer, his play, “Another Word for Beauty,” and Latina/os in theater and film. Here is what he had to say:

MR: Describe your work with The Goodman Theatre.

JR: Yes, I think this is my third or fourth play at the Goodman, going back many years. ‘Another Word for Beauty’ was commissioned by the Goodman through a New York ensemble, ‘The Civilians.’ Steven Cosson, the artistic director at ‘The Civilians’ and I went down to a women’s prison in Colombia to see their beauty pageants and to interview the woman that are down there. After conducting seventy or so interviews, I put together this play.

MR: What was the basis for writing ‘Another Word for Beauty?’

JR: I was very interested in how these women survived in a very harsh prison. It’s a third-world prison and it’s a very depressing place to live in. I was very curious to see how they survive psychologically and how this pageant helps them do that. Some people think that the pageant is a distraction and others think it helps the women feel more empowered about themselves. I wanted to see which was true, and I figured it’s a mixture of both. Within the interviews we conducted, there were many tragic stories among which were women that came from poor circumstances, not educated, they didn’t have good lawyers, the laws are very harsh in Colombia. Most of these women were arrested because they helped their boyfriends or husbands smuggle drugs, and it made for very tragic situations.

MR: Let’s talk about your past and current work.

JR: At the Goodman we did a play of mine called the ‘Massacre’ several years ago and then eventually done in New York. There’s also ‘Cloud Tectonics’. Over all I’ve had good relationships in theater. levitra or cialis Currently, I just finished a new play called ‘The Last Book of Homer’ which is about my four brothers who are all in the military. It’s a very different play

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[in] that its more about guys and their testosterone – very different work. I’ve been busy. I’ve also written a film about Vincent van Gogh recently that’s going out plavix generic to different directors. levitra I’ve written a pilot for Showtime about the conquest of the Aztecs and I am working with Tom Hanks on a series idea that we sold together to HBO. Tom and I were apprentice actors in our twenties in The Shakespeare Festival in Cleveland, Ohio, and the series is about that festival.

MR: So you are a fellow Boricua, and the first Boricua to be nominated for an Oscar [for best screenplay], which is an enormous accomplishment. Now, do you feel that your nomination will open doors for other Puerto Rican playwrights, actors, and artists alike?

JR: I cialis headache wish I could say yes. I don’t think the business works that way. The success of one person unfortunately doesn’t necessarily mean future success for other people. It is very, very difficult for anyone to work in this business, and even I struggle to find work at times. I don’t know. I would hope so though, it would be great. I think what makes a difference isn’t necessarily people like me getting nominations or winning awards. I think

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the difference would buying viagra online be in Latinos to penetrate the places where decisions are made, where films are financed, where T.V. series are produced. It really needs to be people at that level in the business that are in a position to make the decision on how money vicodin online pharmacy is spent and who is hired. To me, that’s where the difference would be.

MR: Do you think Puerto Ricans are stereotyped on stage and/ or film?

JR: I think there’s still a lot of stereotypical imagery out there. I still cringe at seeing the Latino drug dealer, hookers and things like that. It still happens, although less than it used to. I think what’s most common experience to me, is the complete disappearance of Latinos in film, you rarely see us, you don’t see us, we are not there. That to me is the problem. I have a lot of Latino actor friends, who are good actors, that struggle to get work more over time. It’s simply not enough writing that captures any kind of Latino experience on television or film right now.

MR: Is it better writing that we need capturing the Latino experience, or decision makers pulling in Latino actors, or is it both?

JR: There’s a lot of great writers out there, like Tanya Saracho, people like online canadian pharmacy review that. I don’t think it’s a lack of writers, it’s a lack of people who feel any urgency to tell our story. We Latinos feel an urgency to tell our story. But if we are not in a position to make things happen, then nothing happens. If we sit and wait for other people to make those decisions, we can wait forever. We need to be empowered and levitra vardenafil find those positions and take over those positions where the affecting decisions are made.

MR: In that regard, what kind of Puerto Rican development in theater do you see unfolding, if any?

JR: I see in theater more voices, more writers. Everytime I look I see more and more Latino artists emerging, that gives me hope for the future. When I started thirty years ago, it was so hard to cast my first play because there was a shortage of trained and talented Latino actors and that’s not the case anymore. My play at the Goodman [‘Another Word for Beauty’] has a cast of thirteen. Sometime ago, you couldn’t find thirteen people. Now, they are out there, they are eager and they want to work.

MR: When did you decide to be a writer?

JR: how often can you take viagra I’ve always been writing since I was a little kid. Always writing stories and poetry. I went to a liberal arts college and I remember writing four plays in four years and I think that was the time I decided that this was what I wanted to do. I didn’t know how to do it – I had no clue. But I had ambition from a very young age.

MR: Who would you say was your biggest influence?

JR: As a playwright I was greatly influenced by Timothy Williams, Sam Sheppard [and] Harold Pinter. They were many, among those, some of my peers I came up with, like Migdalia Cruz, Eduardo Mechado [and] Pedro

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Prieti. Those writers inspired me and helped me understand that this was something I could do.”

MR: Tell me about the ‘Motorcycle Diaries.’

JR: That came out of nowhere for me, I wasn’t even expecting it. My agent had submitted by screenplay to Walter Salles – he didn’t read it – his assistant read it and she liked it. So she recommended that we meet for lunch, and so we did. We hit it off completely – we both have the same views of the world, ideas about films and it just became a natural partnership. I wrote on many, many drafts of the screenplay, went to Argentina with Walter, I worked with the actors, doing the voiceovers, etc. It was a good collaboration.

MR: When was the last http://pharmacy24hour-online.com/ time you visited Puerto Rico?

JR: Four or five years ago. A play of mine was being produced in San Juan, ‘A Bolero to the Disenchanted’. I took my family, saw the play and it was a great experience.”

MR: Do you see yourself retiring and living in Puerto Rico one day?

JR: I think about it sometimes. I’ve always wanted to live in Rincón. By the beach, be an old man and chill out!

MR: I can picture that. I want to fulfill that dream right now!

JR: I hear you!

MR: Thanks again for your time, it was both a pleasure and an honor. I’ll see you soon.

Click here for more information on the Goodman Theatre Annual New Stages Festival.

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Madeline Rodríguez

Madeline “Maddy” Rodríguez is a Boricua who has lived in Chicago for a very long time. She was born in the deep woods of Adjuntas, Puerto Rico, where her grandparents made a living off the coffee farm they owned. Her father is a well-known Cuatro Player and Jíbaro Music Singer and her mother, a blue collar worker. Madeline attended high school and business school in the City of Chicago. She has worked as a paralegal for over 15 years and has been self-employed as a freelance-paralegal for the last three years. She has written and published interviews of musicians, producers, actors, comedians, directors, playwrights and individuals who are pillars of success among the Latino community as well as short articles about life events. She is a very deeply rooted modern-day Jíbara del Campo who prefers her café prieto y colao.