Latino Author Series
Name: Dolores Prida
Birthplace: Northern Coast of Cuba
Education: No degree, but took literature courses at Hunter College.
Where do you live? East Harlem, New York
Do you teach, and if so where? No
What type of work do you write? Plays, books, and musicals.
Topics you write about? Romance, demons, being bicultural, musicals, growing up Cuban and being female.
Works by the Author: Cosery Canta to Sew, Tossing Carmen, La Coja, Las Beautiful Senoritas, Pantallas and Botanica.
If you could go back to your childhood and change something, what would it be and why?
I would definitely brush my teeth more often.
Who inspires you?
People around me. Theatre is people, so it is important to create authentic characters. I write mostly about Latinos and their experience here in the United States, about their struggles and triumphs to learn a new language and fit into a different culture without losing their own. I live in New Yorkís El Barrio, so I have my inspiration at my doorstep.
Who is the most important person to you?
Me. Without me, Iím nothing. I donít mean it in a selfish way. But if I donít love myself, why should other people? Iím proud of what I have accomplished. I didnít speak a word of English when I came here. My first job was in a bakery. At the end of the day I was covered in flour from head to toe and scared people in the E train all the way home to Queens.
If you can be anyone else in the world (dead or alive) who would you be and why?
A flamenco dancer because I love the passion in their feet, or a trapeze artist because they dare to fly, or Raquel Welch becauseÖwho wouldnít? (we share same birth day, September 5)
What are the ups and downs of being a writer?
Really dizzying, especially if you write in an elevator. The hardest part is being disciplined about your writingósometimes I just donít feel like doing it, or nothing comes out, and always thereís a nerve-wracking deadline you think you are going to miss, so I donít get much sleep when Iím working on a new play.
How does it feel to be a writer?
Really cool. Being a playwright, I love it when people laugh or cry at the lines I wrote and then applaud at the end of the show and I can be there to suck it all in. Thatís the best part.
How did you become a writer and what lead you to this choice in career?
According to my mom, before I had my first diente. But donít believe it. She was really proud of me and tended to exaggerate my talents in front of other people, which really embarrased me. I always liked writing and won awards in the fourth and fifth grades for writing essays about mosquitoes (we had lots of those back in Cuba, where I come from) or the Spanish American war or something like that. I also wrote poems but didnít show them to anybody. As far as I knew, none of my friends went around writing poems and, you know, sometimes you donít want to appear different, which is kind of silly, but you donít learn that until after high school at least. Iím from a beach town, so I wrote my first poem to a crabóthe townís official mascot.
I never saw a live stage play until I moved to New York City as a teenager. I fell in love with the theatre and decided to write a play although I never studied to be a playwright. Iím the kind of person who believes that if you want to do something, your learn how to do it and go ahead and do it. Donít let anybody tell you otherwise. My first play was ďBeautiful SeŮoritasĒ, itís about Latinas, it is a musical and a lot of fun. From day one the audience loved it and laughed and applauded a lot at the end. I can still hear it.
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