Artistic Statement

Artistic Statement

As a queer Mexican writer born and raised on the U.S./Mexican border now living in Chicago, there is something messy, astonishing, and dangerous about the collision between Mexican identities, American ideologies, and a queer way of living – a collision I wear on my person every moment of every day. I write plays about Mexican people, power, and class: which people have power, and which don’t, how machista cultura (a culture of toxic masculinity) influences class and power, and which communities have power at the expense of others.

The Mexican women in my life are my greatest influences. They are my muses, they are my mentors, I owe everything I am to them. Growing up, I would spend hours in the kitchen with my mother, her sisters, and my grandmother cooking, cleaning, listening to the latest gossip and soaking it all in. Hearing their fights with their husbands and with my brothers, always doing the best they could even when it felt like it wasn’t enough, as they made tamales, menudo, pan dulce and more. Almost all of my plays feature Latina women at the center of my narratives. And they push against the stereotype one often sees in theater, film and television that positions Latinas as over-sexualized, or as maids or domestic workers. The Mexican women in my plays are complicated, nuanced, messy, powerful, beautiful, holistic women with some of the strongest desires, fears, hopes, and ambitions, much like the Mexican women in my life. My plays are my love letters to them, my gift. The one thing I can give back for all they’ve given me.

What motivates my artistic practice is a fervent, deeply felt, gut-driven urgency to fight the erasure of my people – people, like me, who come from the border and who still live on the border. What motivates my artistic practice is the pain and trauma I inherited from my family, colonialization passed down through heritage, assimilation in American culture, and my attempts to unearth and reconcile that pain and trauma through my writing. What motivates my artistic practice is the living, moment-to-moment, character-driven need to be heard and understood that can only be conveyed through theater – through live performance – through empathy. I need to write it down, and it needs to be seen by the masses to know that I’m not alone, that I’m not crazy. That the things that happened to me happened, that the things that happened to my family happened, and that things are happening, in hopes that someone who might not know that struggle, can find empathy in the characters who embody it; and for those who know it well, to see that they are not alone like I was.