Daniel Olivas

Daniel Olivas

Daniel A. Olivas is the author of nine books of fiction, nonfiction, and poetry including, "The King of Lighting Fixtures: Stories" (University of Arizona Press), and "Crossing the Border: Collected Poems" (Pact Press). Widely anthologized, he has written on literature and culture for many publications including The New York Times, The Guardian, Los Angeles Review of Books, LatinoLA, La...
Daniel A. Olivas is the author of nine books of fiction, nonfiction, and poetry including, "The King of Lighting Fixtures: Stories" (University of Arizona Press), and "Crossing the Border: Collected Poems" (Pact Press). Widely anthologized, he has written on literature and culture for many publications including The New York Times, The Guardian, Los Angeles Review of Books, LatinoLA, La Bloga, Los Angeles Times, Jewish Journal, and BOMB.

Olivas's first full-length play, "Waiting for Godínez" (posted on NPX), was selected for the Playwrights' Arena 2020 Summer Reading Series, and was a semi-finalist for the American Blues Theater's 2021 Blue Ink Playwriting Award. Olivas was selected for Circle X Theatre Co.'s inaugural Evolving Playwrights Group where he will be adapting his novel "The Book of Want" with a planned reading in 2021.

Olivas received his degree in English literature from Stanford University, and law degree from UCLA. By day, he is an attorney and makes his home in Southern California with his wife.

Olivas is a proud member of The Dramatists Guild.

Plays

  • Waiting for Godínez
    "Why does it happen, over and over and over? Why do they take you, my friend, and put you in a cage in the hopes of deporting you? What harm have you done to them? You are as much of this country as you are of México. But you are not home in either place. Ni de aquí, ni de allá." With these words, Isabel describes the absurd reality suffered by her longtime friend, Jesús, who is kidnapped each night...
    "Why does it happen, over and over and over? Why do they take you, my friend, and put you in a cage in the hopes of deporting you? What harm have you done to them? You are as much of this country as you are of México. But you are not home in either place. Ni de aquí, ni de allá." With these words, Isabel describes the absurd reality suffered by her longtime friend, Jesús, who is kidnapped each night by immigration officials and thrown into a cage to await deportation. But each time, Jesús escapes and makes his way back to the park to be with Isabel and await the mysterious Godínez.

    Inspired by Samuel Beckett’s iconic Godot play and our country's anti-immigrant policies, WAITING FOR GODÍNEZ explores the meaning—and absurdities—of identity and belonging.

    WAITING FOR GODÍNEZ was selected for the Playwrights' Arena 2020 Summer Reading Series, and was a semi-finalist for the American Blues Theater's 2021 Blue Ink Playwriting Award.

    Olivas discusses the writing of his first full-length play in the essay, "From Dystopia to Absurdity: On Being a Chicano Writer in the Age of Trump" published in the Los Angeles Review of Books: https://blog.lareviewofbooks.org/essays/dystopia-absurdity-chicano-writer-age-trump.
  • The Book of Want
    When Moses descended Mount Sinai carrying the Ten Commandments, he never could have foreseen how one Mexican family in Los Angeles in the early twenty-first century would struggle to live by them.

    Conchita, a beautiful, single woman of a certain age, sees nothing wrong with enjoying the company of handsome—and usually much younger—men. She then encounters Moisés, a widower with a penchant for...
    When Moses descended Mount Sinai carrying the Ten Commandments, he never could have foreseen how one Mexican family in Los Angeles in the early twenty-first century would struggle to live by them.

    Conchita, a beautiful, single woman of a certain age, sees nothing wrong with enjoying the company of handsome—and usually much younger—men. She then encounters Moisés, a widower with a penchant for levitation, and begins to think about how this unusual man might fit into her life. Julieta, Conchita’s younger sister, walks a more traditional path, but she and her husband each harbor secrets that could change their marriage and lives forever. Their twin sons, both in college, struggle to find fulfillment: Mateo refuses to let anyone stand in the way of his happiness, while Rolando grapples with his sexuality and the family’s expectations. And the chain-smoking, coffee-drinking Belén, the family’s late matriarch, serves as our host while she advises, scolds, and cajoles her hapless descendants.

    A delightful family tapestry woven with the threads of all those whose lives are touched by Conchita, The Book of Want is an enchanting blend of social and magical realism that explores what it means to be fully human.

    This play is an adaptation of the author's acclaimed novel of the same name, and was written as part of Circle X Theatre Company's inaugural Evolving Playwrights Group (2020) with a planned reading in 2021.
  • Amna (a monologue)
    It is the year 2002, and a young Latina named Amna recounts with fondness her grandparents' migration from Mexico to Los Angeles as she recounts her own personal history that has brought her to the streets as a runaway. This monologue is adapted from the author's short story of the same name featured in the collection, "Assumption and Other Stories."
  • Juana (a monologue)
    An unnamed male narrator recounts a noir tale of his ex-wife, Juana, who asked him to fly from Los Angeles to Mexico because she needed help. This monologue is adapted from the author's short story of the same name.
  • Elizondo Returns Home (a monologue)
    Upon the death of her grandmother, an unnamed Latina professor of English literature must pack up and sell her grandmother's house, but discovers a mysterious stranger living in the small house in the backyard. She recounts the unexpected encounter with this stranger who knows everything about her. Sometimes those we love and think we know are more complex than we could ever imagine. This monologue is...
    Upon the death of her grandmother, an unnamed Latina professor of English literature must pack up and sell her grandmother's house, but discovers a mysterious stranger living in the small house in the backyard. She recounts the unexpected encounter with this stranger who knows everything about her. Sometimes those we love and think we know are more complex than we could ever imagine. This monologue is adapted from the author's short story of the same name.
  • The Three Mornings of José Antonio Rincón (a monologue)
    An unnamed California government employee recounts his co-worker's miraculous metamorphosis. This monologue is inspired by Kafka, and adapted from the author's short story of the same name.