Interview with Director Tania Benites on Pilar and Paloma

Director Tania Benites on Pilar and Paloma

(A Featured Play in Debut de Piezas Teatrales: Festival de Lectura)

A Festival of New Play Readings

Pilar and Paloma asks “What do we owe to nature and to the ones who came before us? How do we treat people who are born under different circumstances? And what do we do with our privilege if we have it?”

The play definitely has a fairytale/folktale feel. It deals with our relationship to nature and what we owe to her. It can also be seen as a bit of a cautionary tale that feels very fable-like.

I love the presence of indigenous concepts in this play. We see desert and wind personified as two characters who advocate for nature, and we also see characters who can transform into Coyote. This adds to so much of the beauty of the play.

There is a moment where one of the characters has a monologue that provides some exposition to explain how the desert world operates. It is poem-like. We also see the passage of time in this monologue as we see two pairs of siblings grow up. It feels very magical but also a bit somber. I think it’s a lovely moment.

Debut de Piezas Teatrales is an opportunity to utilize our many talented members both new and familiar. We chose two plays with large casts in order to provide an opportunity for as many of our members as possible to perform and tell stories. It’s been such a great way to meet new artists and make new connections. It’s also a wonderful way to support one of our founding members, Ernesto, whose play Grandeza is being performed. We love finding ways to support the artistic growth of our members!

The play centers on the relationship between a Pilar and Paloma, sisters and twins born under unique circumstances and on opposite sides of the US border. Based on the specific location of each of their births, their lives are forever marked. One’s opportunities are limited which leads her to feel trapped and restless. The other who is given the privilege of US citizenship can’t wait to take flight and leave her past behind. Their relationship illustrates a very real experience for so many people.

I really loved the fairytale/folktale feel of this play. The story is told in a magical way, but the message is so grounded in reality. I love the relationship between Pilar and Paloma, the sisters.

Not many people realize how long it takes to get a play produced and how much work is involved in the development process. These types of workshops are a wonderful opportunity for the audience to be actively involved in the development process which will lead to the final product. It is so immensely helpful to hear your work presented and to hear the audience’s reactions to it.

A staged reading usually involves actors reading with scripts in hand and does not usually involve any blocking. The audience gets to hear the play performed by actors in a way that lets the text be the star. We also get to hear the stage directions read out loud. (not something one would hear in a fully produced performance).  I love hearing the stage directions because there are usually some interesting easter eggs or insights from the playwright. It feels a bit like you’re listening in on a secret from the writer.

I think TPC is all about serving our Latine community. Staged readings such as this not only serve Latine playwrights, they also serve to support new and emerging actors! We have many new members joining us for Piezas and it would be so wonderful to have our community support all our artists, especially the new ones who are just getting their feet wet. It’s truly such an honor to have them on our stage and we just want to be able to share their talent with everyone else!

Comments are closed.