Artistic Statement

Artistic Statement

From the program for the production of Comida de Puta (F%&king Lousy Food), at the West End Theater, NY, April, 2015:

Author Notes: Desi Moreno-Penson, playwright

COMIDA DE PUTA (F%&king Lousy Food) is the second in a cycle of plays I have been developing called "Nuyorican Gothic," dark, stylized, fantastical plays that take place in the Bronx, featuring heightened, poetic language, and Nuyorican characters (Puerto Ricans born and raised in New York City). The first play of the cycle is DEVIL LAND (2007 SPF-Summer Play Festival, NY, 2014 Midwest premiere @Urban Theater Company, Chicago, IL), an adult fairy tale of child abduction and Taino mysticism set in the basement of a Bronx apartment building. With COMIDA DE PUTA, I have sought inspiration from ancient Greek tragedy, HIPPOLYTUS, in order to tell a tale of unrequited lust and urban witchery in a run-down Bronx bodega.

I like scary stories. If one's artistic soul is a child, then as a playwright I view all weird, creepy stories with a child's sense of eagerness and a thrilled, inspired zeal. As a student of the Theatre of the Grand Guignol, as well as gothic literature (Poe, Lovecraft), I know that a gothic/horror play is like nothing else in the theater; it is a genre entirely devoted to the visualization, analysis, and dissection of the most elemental human emotions, the psychology of fear, terror, and horror. The reaction of human conscience and the primal human need to influence the real and the imaginary through a suggestive, atmospheric environment, as well as the retinue of the imagination, holds enough theatrical power to capture its audience.

As a second-generation Nuyorican, I choose to write weird stories because sometimes the tenets of magical realism are just not magical enough for me within the context of a more traditional Latino play. I believe that all peoples and cultures have a sense of magic and the preternatural about them. As such, it is my wish as a dramatist to achieve, however momentarily, the illusion of some suspension of the mundane, pedestrian limitations of time, space, and natural law. I believe that only in the theater, within the intimate, shared experience of a group of people in one room, can the Aristotelian purges of fear and pity truly manifest its power. It is what the Greeks and Shakespeare had in mind all along.