Paola Lázaro

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Paola Lázaro is a dramatic writer from Puerto Rico who works in New York City.

Education and support[edit]

Paola Lázaro was born and raised in San Juan, Puerto Rico. The young artist left Puerto Rico to study at the State University of New York at Purchase where she earned her Bachelor’s of Fine Arts degree in dramatic writing (2010). She went on to earn her Masters of Fine Arts from Columbia University (2013). At the end of her final year at Columbia, she was mentored by playwright Stephen Adly Guirgis over the course of the production of her thesis play .[1] Over the years the two have become very close, and Guirgis finds her to be a “kindred spirit,” often referring to Lázaro as his best friend. His presence has heavily influenced both her writing and her career.

Following her thesis production with Guirgis, Lázaro also participated in the Emerging Young Writer’s Group at the Public Theatre, worked on a summer program with Labyrinth Theatre Company, and received an Arts Entertainment Scholarship Award from the National Hispanic Foundation for the Arts.[2] And after earning her M.F.A., Lázaro was asked to join Atlantic Theatre Company in New York City, as playwright-in-residence for the 2016-2017 season. This selective playwright-in-residency program was created by the Tow Foundation and provides funds to New York City theatre companies to support a playwright’s production of a new work, and focused on Lázaro’s new play, Tell Hector I Miss Him (2017).

Tell Hector I miss him[edit]

Paola Lázaro’s Tell Hector I Miss Him dramatizes of a cast of characters in Old San Juan, Puerto Rico, coping with love, addiction, and fear. The Atlantic Theatre Company’s production, directed by Latino David Mendizabal, opened January 11 and was scheduled to close January 23; the run was extended due to popular demand. Described as “Our Town with salsa and cocaine,” [3] Lázaro’s play, with its eccentric characters and dark humor, takes audiences on a journey through a series of relationships in a post-colonial San Juan.[4] Though Lázaro grew up in a neighborhood very different from her characters, she says the work has “a lot of me in it” and parallels her own past experiences with love.[5] Lázarao hopes the play will offer universal themes and characters for Latinxs, while also representing the humanity in her characters. As she asks, “where is the love in macho culture, in tradition?” [6]

Latina focus[edit]

While Paola Lázaro is dedicated to relating to Latinxs everywhere through her playwriting, she has a background as an actress as well. Under the direction of Lisa Peterson, Lázaro performed in Cherry Lane Theatre’s recent production of Lisa Ramirez’s To the Bone, a play based on interviews Ramirez conducted with Latina immigrant poultry workers.[7] Lázaro played Lupe, daughter of Olga (played by Ramirez), a hip-hopping, skateboarding student of political science and law. Her work on this production is described as played with “vivacious urgency,” and it earned her a Drama Desk Award nomination for Outstanding Featured Actress in a Play.[8] In 2017 she was acting in film, playing a prostitute in an upcoming drama called Pimp and an undercover officer in the film Scenes from the Underground.

Lázaro is a firm believer that Latinxs must “write our own stories and create work for ourselves.” [6]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "MFA Playwriting Concentration,” Columbia University.
  2. ^ “Paola Lázaro-Muñoz Receives Residency Through Tow Foundation Grant,” Columbia University, March 2016.
  3. ^ "TELL HECTOR I MISS HIM / Jan 11 — Feb 19, 2017 - Atlantic Theater Company". Atlantic Theater Company. Retrieved 2018-03-31. 
  4. ^ Erik Piepenburg, “Well, You Can’t Wear Orange All the Time,” The New York Times, January 4, 2017.
  5. ^ Elysa Gardner, “A Playwright Who Puts Her Demons, and Family, to Work,” The New York Times, January 19, 2017.
  6. ^ a b “A Playwright Who Puts Her Demons, and Family, to Work.”
  7. ^ Carey Purcell, “Political Drama To The Bone, Inspired by Real-Life Interviews, Opens at Cherry Lane Theatre,” Playbill, September 17, 2014.
  8. ^ Christopher Kompanek, “To the Bone: Theatre Review by Christopher Kompanek,” Timeout, September 19, 2014.