Review Fix chats with playwright Nelson Diaz-Marcano who discusses the production and its appearance at this year’s Fresh Fruit Festival.
About the Production:
Performance schedule: Wednesday, July 12 at 7:00 pm; Saturday, July 15 4 at 2:30 pm; Sunday, July 16 at 6PM
The Fresh Fruit 15th Anniversary Season begins, at The Wild Project, 195 East 3rd Street, tickets.
November 2016 seems sooo long ago. Annie was thrilled to see her dear friend, Carlos, during his first visit back to NYC since moving to Florida… and he hasn’t changed a bit!
Review Fix: What’s your creative process like?
Nelson Diaz-Marcano: Insane. No joke, this is not me trying to be funny. With my current show “The Diplomats,” it just poured out. I thought about a 10 minute play and it worked because my friend Rebecca Aparicio was looking for shows to include in a project. I had started working on this one already, so I thought to say yes and would submit the script after I finished. Then it wasn’t 10 minutes anymore, it was 20… then it was a one act. Next thing I know I’m 65 pages deep and needed to send the Resister Project a play. I sent an old script that felt relevant to their opportunity, and finished this play. In contrast, the last play was incredibly structured, even using index cards to keep the beats visible as I wrote the scenes. Usually, I think about a play and bother my wife with questions about its details for a few months before sitting down and then obsessing about every little beat. Then in around a week a new draft is born. That’s when the fun starts.
Review Fix: What makes this different or special?
Diaz-Marcano: What I think works and helps is that my process is flexible to how I feel. I tried to lock myself down to processes for years, bought books, talked to other playwrights, etc., till one day, as I tried once again to use the index card structuring, I came to the realization that I just wanted to sit down and free write. I just planned the next scenes as I went. Completely different than the play I wrote before, yet it worked! So instead of sticking to a formula, I decided to just listen to the story and to trust myself. I do not know if it’s that different or special than other playwrights’. Their processes seem to be as unique to them as mine is unique to me.
Review Fix: What did you learn about yourself through this process?
Diaz-Marcano: That everything is out there to learn and teach, not to follow as a religion and keep to yourself. There’s a varied selection of books that talk about the different processes; artists talking about the best way to sell a script, or videos showing how to construct a story. There are dozens of classes taught by great writers in this city as well. A lot of great writers even just reside here and will give you their time of day. None of their words should be the end all be all. Take a little bit of each and find yourself within. This is how you learn your own style and evolve.
Review Fix: How does it feel to be a part of something like this?
Diaz-Marcano: Amazing. I’m from Puerto Rico, so English is not my first language. To have my plays be produced by festivals like the Fresh Fruit and to meet the people I’ve met on my journey is incredible. The shy kid from Puerto Rico that barely spoke or showed his love for words could never imagine he would grow up as such an outspoken individual. More importantly, he never thought he would become a part of such a talented community as the theater community in NYC.
Review Fix: What are your ultimate goals for this production and for the future?
Diaz-Marcano: To get it seen. To get this cast seen. To get my work out there. My play Radical went up last year and the saddest thing to me was that I didn’t invite anyone from the industry or reviewers because I didn’t believe in myself enough. Then it went on to win Best Play in the Downtown Urban Arts Festival. The Diplomats is special to me. The cast and director of this show are creating something truly fascinating with my words. It received great feedback at the Classical Theatre of Harlem Playwright’s Playground in January. I want this to be just the start. I want the show to go on and play for a few weeks. I think the poignancy of the show deserves it.
Review Fix: What do you think your audiences will enjoy the most?
Diaz-Marcano: The dialogue. My dialogue has always been known for being fast and intense. It doesn’t change here, what changes is the relatable setting. It’s not the Cuban revolution like my play Revolucion or the coup in Chile like my play Radical. It’s just three relatable characters talking in an Astoria apartment, trying to stay friends while their country seems to be going up in flames thanks to an election. This is something we all experienced, no matter where you come from, no matter where you are.
Review Fix: What’s next?
Diaz-Marcano: Working on a documentary project with my friend Dan De Jesus from Second Star NYC called the Hidden Apple. Prepping a reading for the latest draft of my play about Puerto Rico’s relationship with the USA, “Revolt!” Filming the pilot for a web series called “Evil” and writing a new play called “World Classic.” So developing a lot and getting a few projects off the ground.
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