Guest Post: Mariana Carreño King Describes the Process Behind Writing “Señorita 744890”
On the brink of starting the last week of rehearsals, I think I speak for the rest of the crew when I say we are very excited!
It has been a very intense process, but also one filled with surprises. Even though, I have a few years working on this play, you really don’t know what works and what doesn’t until you work with actors and designers.
This play started as a monologue. I was reading an article about the effects of solitary confinement on imprisoned women and I remembered a legend which I love titled La mulata de Córdoba. In the story, there’s a beautiful dark-skinned women that doesn’t pay attention to any of the man from her town, her lack of interest in the men around her, causes people to accuse her of witchcraft which in turn leads to her being incarcerated; in some versions she was in a jail in other versions she was held in a cave. Nonetheless, the point is that she is alone and only has a piece of chalk to draw on the walls…I won’t tell you what happens next to not ruin the play for you.
While I wrote the monologue, it didn’t seem appropriate so I chose to add the other characters.
The idea that the play was written by a lonely writer sitting in a dark and depressing apartment is not necessarily true (my apartment is not depressing, just disorganized). Well, maybe the first draft. But plays are a product of many people working together. This play was not the exception. The ideas developed with the help of many artistic residencies where I was able to work with actors and directors, among them, “Playground” with Lark Play Development Center, a “Summer Intensive” with LAByrinth Theatre Company and “INKtank” with Rising Circle.
Daniel Jáquez, the director, has directed three lectures with different actors in the last three years. In every lecture along with the comments from different mentors and actors, the ideas and perspective kept growing. I may take the credit as playwright, but the real credit belongs to all those who have put their grain of sand.
To win the Metlife “Nuestra Voces” National Playwright Competition has been an incredible experience. Repertorio has been a generous and open to the bizarre ideas I come up with. I wrote the script in English, but I love to showcase it in Spanish. To do the translation has thought me a lot about the characters, the story and what I wanted to say; it also helped me to improve the English script. I am extremely grateful for this opportunity.
Miss 748890 was written and developed during a Playground Residency with The Lark Play Development Center, two Summer Intensives with LAByrinth Theatre Company, and an INKtank Residency with Rising Circle, under the mentorship of Migdalia Cruz y Deepa Purohit.
Mariana wishes to thank Migdalia Cruz, Deepa Purohit, Portia Jones, Marlene Forte, Teddy Cañez, Kohl Sudduth, Socorro Santiago, Lanna Joffrey, Harvey Gardner Moore, e Irene Sofia Lucio, for their support, feedback and for giving life to these characters in different incarnations.