SPOTLIGHT Series: Isaac Gomez, Resident Playwright
Monday Night Drama gives me an opportunity to spend time with some incredibly talented and inspiring playwrights. With so many, I've seen or read their work before I ever get to meet them. So I figured what better way to get to nerd out on these playwrights than to interview them.
I want to get to know the person behind the play.
So I asked.
Tara Branham, Artistic Producer: What are 5 adjectives that describe yourself.
Isaac Gomez, Resident Playwright: Rigorous, Meticulous, Empathetic, Mentor, Mexican (it’s an adjective to me haha).
TB: Who are your theatrical heroes?
IG: Lynn Nottage, Tanya Saracho, Luis Alfaro, Branden Jacobs-Jenkins, Suzan-Lori Parks, Paula Vogel, Karen Hartman, so many... (See Isaac & Tanya Saracho on the right.)
TB: What made you decide to become a playwright?
IG: Can't see myself doing anything else.
TB: If you weren't in theatre, what would you be up to right now?
IG: I'd be a talk show host. Or a lawyer.
TB: What was the last costume you wore?
IG: Uhhhh. I think I was Bianca del Rio from RuPaul's Drag Race? I can't remember haha.
TB: What advice do you have for playwrights just starting out?
IG: Keep writing. Use any strange and obscure opportunity to hear your plays out loud when you’re just starting to make connections. Even if it’s hearing them around a living room table with friends and wine. Those are often my favorite table reads.
TB: If you could change one thing about theater, what would it be?
IG: Accessibility. In every way – but especially financial. Artists should be paid well for their work, but theater should be free. How does the math work in that equation – no idea. I leave that up to the math people haha.
TB: What was the last picture you took with your phone?
IG: I was watching the latest Netflix documentary ROE (watch it) and there’s a whole section from the Wendy Davis fillibuster in Texas (my childhood best friend and I were there, protesting, all week.) There’s a clip where we show up in the senate chamber so I took it to send to Genesis, my childhood bestie.
TB: What's the first hook that gets a new play started for you? An image, a theme, a character?
IG: Usually an image, or an event. Then I watch and see how it spirals out of control, how people recover, how they make it worse, etc.
TB: What inspired you to start Throwaway Kids?
IG: For Throwaway Kids, it's always been about the youth on trains. I can still remember seeing them from my childhood. I grew up by a freight train track and a ditch and from time to time I would see these young people riding these trains and I'd think to myself, "Who are they? Where are they going?"
TB: How has your experience at Chicago Dramatists benefitted you?
IG: In a million ways. But mostly, it was and is about having a home. I don’t have one, artistically, as a playwright. Ive had the unique privilege and honor to be a guest at other people’s homes (theaters), but not one to return to over and over again. Chicago Dramatists is that for me. It’s always nice coming home.
Chicago Dramatists is an artistic home for me. It’s always nice coming home.
Join us tonight at 7pm for Monday Night Drama!
Throwaway Kids by Isaac Gomez